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Composites Industry News

News for June 2006


Dieffenbacher Achieves Record Sales

4th June 2006 0 comments

The Dieffenbacher Group’s overall sales rose by more than 31 percent in 2005 compared to the previous year, to 232 million Euros. “That’s the highest turnover in our 133-year company history,” comments CEO Wolf-Gerd Dieffenbacher. The equity capital rose to just under 42 million € at the end of last year, also a record level. The figure for the previous year was 32 million €. The internationally active group of companies develops and manufactures press systems and complete production systems for the wood panel industry, the automotive and components industries. It employs approx. 900 people worldwide, about 520 of whom are at the headquarters in Eppingen and 100 in countries outside Germany. The distribution of orders received in the completed business year was more geographically even than during previous years in which China dominated. In 2005, the most important markets for Dieffenbacher were North America, Europe and Asia. “We’ve got a successful year behind us, and we’re also setting ourselves ambitious targets for the coming years. In 2006, we’re expecting another increase in the Group’s sales and profits,” observes CEO Wolf-Gerd Dieffenbacher, with an optimistic look into the future. The intention is to lay the foundation for further growth by making numerous new investments. Total investments for 2007 are running at 10 million €. These are focused on investments in China and the Czech Republic as well as modernizing the machinery used in Eppingen.

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Pultron Develops Microwave Pultrusion

4th June 2006 0 comments

Pultron has developed a pultrusion curing process that uses microwave technology to make composite products such as structural rods and bars for the construction industry. The novel curing process involved almost two years of research and development at Pultron’s laboratories, almost $500,000 from the Foundation through its Technology for Business Growth (TBG) scheme and much more in company cash, time and resources. Pultron General Manager, Jasper Holdsworth, who is 32, says the company is looking to secure new opportunities for Pultron, using the technology in Dubai, where the company has based one of its staff. “”Dubai is quickly emerging as a key market for Pultron because the company’s non-corrosive construction products withstand the effects of Dubai’s coastal environment,”” he says. Conventional pultrusion processing involves heating from the outside of the material to the inside, whereas the new microwave technology heats in a more uniform manner, reportedly eliminating cracking and speeding up production. “”The project was technically difficult and there were technical risks involved but the Government funding pushed us to the edge to achieve it. It would have been hard to justify spending $1 million on blue sky development with no guaranteed returns, but receiving half the project funding from the Foundation made the difference,”” says Mr Holdsworth. “”We were pushing into the unknown and it was useful to have the second opinion of another party. They bought into what we were doing, asked searching questions and helped us to look at the project from a different perspective – and that adds value to the business,”” he said. Pultron is now considering using the new technology to manufacture new products that were previously difficult to make using conventional pultrusion processes and the speed on some manufacturing lines is now significantly faster. This adds to efficiency, reduces costs and allows higher product margins. Mr Holdsworth says an indirect benefit is the high international credibility of Pultron which is now seen as a company that can tackle technically difficult projects. Bronwen and Peter Holdsworth started the business in 1982, making electric fence posts for the farming industry. Pultron now makes more than 100 different products and its market is 70 percent export.

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Price Increases for Dow Epoxy Peroxymeric Chemical Products

4th June 2006 0 comments

Dow Epoxy is increasing prices globally for Peroxymeric Chemical (PXC) products. From July 1, 2006 they will increase list and off-list prices for their Cyracure and ERL Cycloaliphatic Epoxides by $0.20/lb in Asia Pacific, Latin America and North America and by 350 Euro per metric ton in Europe. Prices will not increase for ERL-4299 and UVR-6128. From June 15 they will also increase list and off-list prices for all Tone Caprolactone products by $0.15/lb in Asia Pacific, Latin America and North America and by 250 Euro per metric ton in Europe. This increase is in addition to the 10 percent increase Dow recently announced for Tone ECEQ Monomer in Asia Pacific. Dow said the increases are driven primarily by surging feedstock, energy and transportation costs.

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Laird Introduces Thermally Conductive Prepreg

4th June 2006 0 comments

Laird Technologies has introduced its T-preg HTD, a thermally conductive, electrically insulating pre-preg with high temperature and voltage properties for use in printed circuit boards (PCBs) for automotive and motor control applications. Part of the Laird Technologies’ T-lam(TM) line of products, the T-preg HTD is used to isolate copper circuit layers from an aluminum or copper base plate when making a metal-based PCB. It has a UL relative temperature index (RTI) rating of 150 C, claimed to be the highest operating temperature rating available for a thermally conductive pre-preg substrate. “”The high operating temperature of the HTD extends Laird Technologies’ position as aAdvertisement market leader in the thermally conductive pre-preg segment,”” said Michael Dreyer, vice president and general manager, Laird Technologies’ Thermal Products Division. “”Our customers have consistently asked us to supply a pre-preg with a higher operating temperature rating for the marketplace, and we have responded with the T-preg HTD product.”” The T-preg HTD’s pre-preg format allows the designer to improve the thermal performance of standard printed circuit boards or to create power substrates on metal base plates. “”The high-temperature operation is particularly important to applications under the hood of an automobile, especially when attached to the engine,”” said Bob Kranz, product manager, Laird Technologies’ Thermal Products Division. “”The combination of high-temperature operation and high-voltage isolation delivers the performance required for the 240 and 480 volt commercial and industrial applications, like motor control and ballast lighting.”

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First Boeing Doors Ready for Barrel Test

4th June 2006 0 comments

An important milestone was recently passed when the first test composite doors for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner were delivered from Saab to Boeing, to be used in the so-called barrel test. “The barrel test consists of the aft part of the fuselage from behind the wing. The test will be subject to cabin pressure and simulated flight loads and it will see static and fatigue loads. The barrel test doors are prototype designs that were developed early in the project to meet the requirements of this test. For the production aircraft the large cargo doors have been further optimized for weight saving reasons”, said Mats Rudlund, industrial manager in the 787 program at Saab Aerostructures. The milestone was celebrated at a small ceremony attended by co-workers involved in the Boeing-project and representatives from Boeing. “Everyone has done a really good job. It shows great teamwork between Saab and Boeing to accomplish this in such a short time. This is the first of many doors to come”, said Nick Marble, procurement agent at Boeing. Saab will manufacture seven different doors for each aircraft: two large cargo doors; one bulk cargo door and four access doors. Serial production of all the doors will start during the third quarter 2006. It was in October 2005 that Saab Aerostructures signed a contract with Boeing, covering design, development and manufacturing of the large cargo doors, bulk cargo door and access doors for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

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DIAB Structural Cores on Composite Oracle

4th June 2006 0 comments

Foam cores from DIAB are now included in the foam database on the web-based design tool Composite Oracle. Composite Oracle has been available for a year now and includes an extensive public database together with a series of tools that allow users to process laminate calculations. Engineering calculations can be made in a plate module, a sandwich plate module and a filament winding module. With the addition of DIAB foams, users of Composite Oracle can compare different cores and find the most suitable one for a specific application. In addition the cores can be used in the sandwich plate module, where the users can scrutinize the calculated properties.

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Raytheon Completes Hawker 4000 Function and Reliability Testing

4th June 2006 0 comments

Raytheon’s Hawker 4000 super-midsize jet completed its Function and Reliability testing at the end of May and are working with the FAA to finalize the documentation that will allow the FAA to issue the Type Certificate. “”The Hawker 4000 is the flagship of the Hawker line, truly setting the standard for quality, performance and value in the super-midsize class of aircraft,”” said Jim Schuster, chairman and CEO of Raytheon Aircraft Company. “”It will be a great addition to the Beechcraft and Hawker family.”” Raytheon Aircraft Company designs, manufactures, markets and supports Beechcraft and Hawker aircraft for the world’s commercial and military markets.

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Supreme Switches to Adhesives

4th June 2006 0 comments

Supreme has started using Lord adhesives to bond composite and metal components on their range of customized vehicle bodies.

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2012 Offers New Opportunities for Composites in Construction

4th June 2006 0 comments

Composites continue to find effective use in a wide variety of construction applications ranging from new build structures to refurbishment and restoration projects. Their use is set to increase further over the coming decade as major opportunities arise including the 2012 Olympics, the current housing crisis and an ever aging infrastructure. Key properties such as light weight, excellent long-term durability, flexibility in design, prefabrication and fast construction process on-site will enable innovative cost-efficient structures to be developed using composite materials in both a pure form and also working synergistically with other materials to give improved performance. In order to meet these new challenges, the UK’s NGCC (Network Group for Composites in Construction) is realigning the way in which it operates and in doing so is looking to expand and increase its membership. NGCC aims to bridge the interface between the composites industry and the construction community, providing guidance, technical support and advice where needed. In order to achieve this, core activities such as networking, CPD seminars, conferences and site visits will continue; but to improve technology and information transfer, a new interactive website has been launched as well as a redesigned newsletter targeted at the wider construction community. NGCC will also be working closely with the National Composites Network (NCN) to produce a ‘road map’ for the composites in construction industry in order to facilitate the step changes required to meet the new opportunities. NGCC has recently changed its coordinating organisation; the head-office is now at NetComposites Ltd, Chesterfield under the direction of Dr Sue Halliwell. Membership benefits, information on how to get involved and application forms can be obtained from NGCC at the contact email below.

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Aerodyne Advanced Composites Acquired by ACG

9th June 2006 0 comments

UMECO has acquired Aerodyne Advanced Composites from Aerodyne Industries, through Advanced Composites Group (ACG), a subsidiary of UMECO. AAC, based in Cape Town, South Africa, employs around 130 staff and manufactures advanced composites component parts principally for McLaren Automotive for the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren super sports car. The contract is for the lifetime of the SLR programme and will form part of a strategic relationship between McLaren Automotive and ACG from which further business is expected to materialise. The AAC business is complementary to ACG’s materials business which currently supplies McLaren Automotive and other high performance automotive and motorsport customers including Koenigsegg, Porsche and Formula 1 racing teams including Team McLaren Mercedes. Clive Snowdon, Chief Executive of UMECO plc, commented: “”The acquisition of AAC cements our relationship with McLaren Automotive and further underlines our position as a leading supplier of advanced composites solutions to the new genre of super-cars. AAC will sit alongside ACG’s existing composites engineering business to provide a low cost base to help demonstrate the use of composites and their applicability within the mainstream automotive industry. Vehicle technology is demanding lighter weight more cost-efficient designs and we are now well positioned to support this growth area”” UMECO’s total initial investment in this project is estimated at £1.5 million and conclusion of the acquisition is subject to the satisfactory completion of all related legal proceedings. AAC will trade as Advanced Composites Group SA (Pty) Limited with immediate effect.

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