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Composites Industry News

News for 28 May 2006


ACM Likely To Produce Composite Parts for 787

28th May 2006 0 comments

Certain composite material components of Boeing’s all-new 787 Dreamliner will most likely be sourced from the US airplane makers’ joint venture company in Malaysia, Asian Composites Manufacturing Sdn Bhd (ACM). The Kedah-based ACM is in the running to provide composite parts for the 787 Dreamliner, Boeing’s vice president and general manager of the 787 programme, Mike Bair, said Tuesday. “”We hope to reap the advantages of its capability and look forward to a long alliance with it (ACM),”” he said. ACM currently produces advanced composite structures for wings of all Boeing jetliners in production. Earlier this month, ACM general manager Dr Nazily Noor said the company had made a bid to supply composite components for the 787 aircraft. Dr Nazily said that ACM would have to invest another RM10 million to RM15 million to install new machines and extend the plant should it win the bid. The result of the five-year contract valued at US$30 million to US$50 million was expected to be known in three to four months, said Dr Nazily. Bair said more than 50 percent of the 787 composed of composite materials, which was two to three times more than other commercial airplanes. ACM is a joint venture company between Boeing Company and Hexcel of the United States and Naluri Bhd and Sime Darby Bhd of Malaysia, with each holding a 25 percent stake.

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Boeing 787 Team Reaches 25 Percent Release Milestone

28th May 2006 0 comments

Boeing has reached a major milestone in the design of the all-new 787 Dreamliner, having completed 25 percent of the releases required for the program. This means that one quarter of the pieces of information to build parts and tools for assembly have been completed and released to manufacturing organizations for fabrication or procurement. Releases are the formal documents — digital models in the case of the 787 program — that allow purchases to be made, tools to be developed and parts to be built. “”We have seen tremendous progress by our international partners and the Boeing team working on the detailed design of this airplane,”” said Mike Bair, vice president and general manager of the 787 program. “”Twenty-five percent release signifies that the largest elements – like fuselage and wing skins – are defined from the tooling requirements to the specific raw material elements.”” The composite-bodied 787, scheduled for delivery beginning in 2008, provides passengers with a better flying experience and operators with a more efficient commercial jetliner. Using 20 percent less fuel per passenger than similarly sized airplanes, the 787 is designed for the environment with lower emissions and quieter takeoffs and landings. Inside the airplane, passengers will find cleaner air, bigger windows, more stowage space and improved lighting. To date, 29 airlines have logged 393 orders and commitments worth more than $55 billion at current list prices since the 787 launch in April 2004, making the Dreamliner the most successful commercial airplane launch in history. “”There is still a lot of work to do as we continue to finalize the design,”” said Bair. “”I couldn’t be more proud of our team. They are bringing tremendous energy and expertise to this effort.””

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Super Wide Vacuum Bag and Resin Infusion Connections and Feeders

28th May 2006 0 comments

Airtech has made new additions to their wide range of vacuum bagging products for resin infusion and low temperature composite processing applications. Big Blue L100 Vacuum Bag is a multi-layer film available up to 12m wide and capable of processing temperatures up to 125ºC. Airtech say that its multi-layer construction provides enhanced vacuum security and toughness for large vacuum bags, and that its wide format, temperature performance, toughness and suitability for direct resin contact makes it a perfect choice for resin infusion in marine and wind energy applications. More new introductions from Airtech for resin infusion processing include the RIC Resin infusion connector, VacTrak and ResinTrak products. The RIC Resin Infusion Connector is an inexpensive and reusable through bag connector for resin feed and vacuum manifold connections. The one piece connector provides simple, fast and reliable push fit connection for resin feeder and vacuum tubing in ½”, 5/8” and ¾” diameters. VacTrak and ResinTrak are knitted tapes for resin feeds and vacuum manifold construction. ResinTrak has a high permeability knitted polyester construction and enables laminate surface resin feed with negligible mark-off and easily removal when placed on top of peel ply or perforated release films. VacTrak is a self adhesive version ideal for speedy construction of vacuum manifolds.

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2Phase Technologies Awards University Subcontracts

28th May 2006 0 comments

2Phase Technologies has awarded subcontracts to researchers at the University of Nevada, Reno, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and Center for Composite Materials at the University of Delaware on its $2.0M contract from the US Army Aviation Applied Technology Directorate. This continues 2Phase’s Nevada research team approach to the work begun under AATD sponsorship in 2004. In this final year the project will complete development of Reconfigurable Tooling Systems (RTS) for depot-level repair of US Army rotorcraft and will transfer that technology to the Army repair depots. The repair approach makes use of 2Phase Technologies’ patented state-change materials to provide integrated tooling and process systems. 2Phase formed a development team in the first year of the contract that included researchers from UNR, UNLV and from the Center for Composite Materials at the University of Delaware. Dr. Linda Clements, 2Phase’s Director of Materials R&D, explained the value of the university collaboration. “During the first two years of the contract Prof. Shen-Yi Luo of UNR and Prof. Brendan J. O’Toole of UNLV, and their graduate and undergraduate students, provided us with understanding of our unique tooling materials and systems—understanding that was critical to our development of effective repair systems.” She continued, “We also engaged the help of University of Delaware’s Center for Composite Materials. As an Army Center of Excellence, CCM has been invaluable in offering guidance on Army composite requirements and in transferring this technology to the Nevada universities.” Dr. John Crowley, President and CEO of 2Phase, explained. “The materials work at the universities combined with development by 2Phase will allow the Army to effect high quality repairs that will permit damaged or aging rotorcraft to return to their vital missions much more quickly, even while greatly reducing the cost of repairs.”

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Five Resin Suppliers to Make Price Increases

28th May 2006 0 comments

Reichhold, Interplastic, Cook Composites and Polymers, AOC and Hexion will all be making price increases of $0.03 per pound on resins sold in North America for the composites industry. Reichhold will be making a price increase of $ 0.03 per pound on all unsaturated polyester resins sold in North America for the composites industry, effective for all orders shipped on or after June 15. “This increase has been necessitated by escalation of the costs of key raw materials which comprise unsaturated polyester resins due to increased and sustained crude oil prices as well as tightness of supply for ethylene and propylene and their derivatives as a result of a fire in April at the Huntsman Port Arthur, Texas olefins manufacturing plant,” said Al Naser, Reichhold Vice President of Sales, Composites North America. Cook Composites and Polymers will implement a $0.03 per pound price increase for its gel coat and unsaturated polyester resin products effective on all orders shipped on or after June 19, 2006. According to CCP’s Vice President for Composites, Paul Colonna, “There have been gradual increases in raw materials costs over the past few months that now necessitate a price increase. Materials primarily involved are phthalic acid, diethylene glycol, neopentyl glycol, and styrene. Ongoing increases in transportation, energy, and packaging costs have also reached a level that can no longer be absorbed.” AOC will increase prices by US $0.03 per pound on all products sold in the United States and Canada shipped after June 16, 2006. The Composite Polymers business of Hexion Specialty Chemicals will make a price increase of $0.03 per pound for all Unsaturated Polyester and Vinyl Ester resins, effective for all products shipped on or after, June 19, 2006. Interplastic Corporation’s Thermoset Resins Division is raising the prices of CoREZYN and Silmar brand products $0.03 per found for shipments on or after June 17, 2006. This includes all vinyl ester, polyester, specialty resins, gel coats, colorants, and putties.

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Lockheed Martin Demonstrates Tactical Vehicle Armour

28th May 2006 0 comments

Lockheed Martin has developed and demonstrated a new macro-composite, low-cost tactical vehicle armour that they say promises exceptional performance. According to Lockheed Martin, the Macro-Composite Protection System (MAPS) armour will provide armor-piercing, bullet, fragment/shrapnel and blast protection at a very low cost. The ‘armour-as-a-system’ was developed by Lockheed Martin as a solution to the coupled threat effects often encountered in today’s environments, such as a bomb blast followed by a swarm of projectiles or armour-piercing sniper fire. “”We believe MAPS is a breakthrough in protective technology,”” said David Hunn, director – Mechanical Engineering at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “”MAPS armour promises to provide an entirely new level of vehicle and personal protection to our forces that could save lives. And it should prove much less expensive than current ceramic armours once in production.”” MAPS armour is undergoing ballistic testing and has successfully shown protection against realistic armour piercing and fragmentation threats with no penetration, at a weight approximately 50 percent less than its equivalent in steel armour protection. Lockheed Martin has briefed the U.S. Army, Navy and Marine Corps on preliminary testing results, and provided MAPS armour samples to the services for independent testing. Results of those tests should be available later this year. MAPS armour is made out of a Lockheed Martin-developed macro-composite material encased in shock-absorbing polymers with a metallic strike face and spall plate.

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ATK Supports Launch of Geostationary Weather Satellite

28th May 2006 0 comments

Alliant Techsystems composite technologies supported Wednesday’s successful launch of the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite-N (GOES-N) to an orbit 22,300 miles above the Earth. GOES-N, a joint effort between NASA and the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), will monitor atmospheric conditions that act as triggers for severe weather conditions such as tornados, flash floods, hail storms and hurricanes. ATK designed and produced the nozzle for the Delta IV’s RS-68 engine as well as the nozzle’s thermal protection material, capable of shielding it from the extreme heat of launch when external temperatures can exceed 4,000 degrees F. ATK supplied seven key composite structures for the launch vehicle: the thermal shield that houses the RS-68 main engine, the centerbody structure that connects the liquid oxygen and hydrogen tanks of the CBC, the skirt structure that connects the CBC to the vehicle interstage, the interstage that interfaces the 5 meter diameter CBC with the 4 meter diameter upper stage and payload, the payload attach fitting (PAF) and diaphragm (PAFD) that interface the upper stage with the payload, and the payload fairing that houses the spacecraft. The structures, which range from 4 to 5 meters (13.1 to 16.6 ft) in diameter and up to 8 meters (26 feet) in length, are produced using advanced hand layup manufacturing techniques at the company’s manufacturing facility in Iuka, Miss.

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Composites Centers Team to Advance Commercialization

28th May 2006 0 comments

The National Composite Center (NCC) and Composites Innovation Centre (CIC) Manitoba Inc have agreed to collaborate in the development and commercialization of composite materials and process technologies.

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