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Composites Industry News

News for December 2007


Review: 10th International AVK Conference in Stuttgart

6th December 2007 0 comments

This year, the new fairgrounds in Stuttgart served as a venue for the 10th International AVK Conference on 5/6 November. In 2007, this conference – which attracted about 500 participants – was once more organised as a prelude to the Composites Europe, which opened its doors from 6 to 8 November to welcome more than 4000 visitors. The extensive presentation program focusing on reinforced plastics as well as thermosets was introduced by AVK President Frank Bruns, together with Dr. Klaus Vogt, Managing director of economic development of the City of Stuttgart. The plenary sessions addressing, for instance, the question of “Ethics and Economy” held by Professor Dr. Reinhard Marx, Bishop of Trier, as well as Reach, the new EU Chemicals Act for plastics manufacturers and the plastics processing industry, were attended with great interest and met the participants’ high expectations right at the start of the conference. In the evening, the AVK Innovation Awards 2007 were presented in a festive setting in the atrium of the fairgrounds (Messegelände). The following prizewinners received an award: In the industrial category of “best product of the year”, BMW was honoured for their “Self-supporting fibre composite motorcycle rear end for the BMW HP2 Sport“. In addition, MöllerTech GmbH received this year’s industrial award for their “AquaCell: Physical foaming with water“ in conjunction with the “best process of the year” Innovation Award. In the environmental category, honours were granted to caverion GmbH for their “exhaust air treatment in the GRP industry: Environmentally compatible and energy-efficient“. The University Award, which carries a cash prize, went to the Erlangen/Nürnberg University for their “In-mould forming as an economically feasible technique of manufacturing a hybrid steering column connection“. In addition, the “Composites Pioneer Award” – granted jointly by Composites Europe and their partners, AVK, EuCIA and Reinforced Plastics – was presented for the very first time. With this award, honours were bestowed upon Professor Richard Eppler and Rudolf Lindner, a prize-winning glider pilot. In 1957, these two men developed the first manned aircraft made of fibre-reinforced plastics, named “FS 24 Phoenix”. The 11th International AVK Conference is to take place on 22/23 September 2008 at the Congress Center Süd on the trade fairgrounds (Messegelände) in Essen in conjunction with Composites Europe.

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Ticona Now Offers Celstran Continuous Fibre Reinforced Thermoplastics

6th December 2007 0 comments

Ticona has added continuous fibre reinforced thermoplastic composites to its Celstran product portfolio. The polymer manufacturer’s new offering comes in response to the increasing demand for materials that are both light weight and able to withstand high levels of stress. Celstran thermoplastic composites comprise a range of continuous fibre-reinforced thermoplastics whose processing and properties can be adapted to special customer requirements. By using different thermoplastic matrix materials (PP, POM, TPU, PPS, PBT, etc.) and embedding various fibres (glass, carbon, aramid, stainless steel) along with the addition of additives, the material’s properties can be tailored to suit specific requirements. The broad range of continuous fibre reinforced thermoplastics (CFRTP) can be post-processed and formed using processing techniques such as winding or pressing. Celstran thermoplastic composites are manufactured in a continuous process with unidirectional orientation of the reinforcement fibres with full impregnation. As a result, Celstran say that the prepreg tapes offer outstanding mechanical properties and good surface quality. At the present time, Ticona’s standard portfolio includes 4″”, 6″”, 8″”, 10″”-wide prepreg tapes. Individual solutions for special customer requirements are also possible. “”The implementation of lightweight structures is a growth field with very high potential. That’s why, as a polymer producer, this step in the direction of thermoplastic composites not only makes sense but is also consistent,”” says Frank Reuter, Business Manager Celstran at Ticona.

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Quickstep Resin Development Project Awarded Aud$1 Million Research Grant

6th December 2007 0 comments

Quickstep is set to benefit from a major new research project at the University of Manchester, which has been awarded a £421,000 (A$993,000) project to develop new composite resins that are optimised for manufacture using the Quickstep Process.

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Quadrant EPP Appoints Angst+Pfister As First European Distributor

6th December 2007 0 comments

Quadrant EPP, the manufacturer of engineering plastics in stock shapes (rod, plate, tube) for machining, has announced the appointment of Swiss-based Angst+Pfister as its first European distributor. Angst+Pfister will distribute the complete Quadrant EPP product portfolio Europe-wide and particularly in Germany, Austria, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Czech Republic and Switzerland. The appointment of Angst+Pfister as first European distributor complements and reinforces Quadrant EPP’s existing distribution network in these countries, and was decided on because of Angst+Pfister’s extensive investments in these regions and the synergistic benefits to be gained by working with a single distributor across multiple countries. François du Passage, Commercial Director for Quadrant EPP, commented that the appointment reflects Quadrant EPP’s strategy to serve customers wherever in the world they do business and to partner with key distributors to ensure the best possible service. “We are convinced that Angst+Pfister is a very valuable asset as our supply partner to develop further in these key European countries,” said du Passage. “Quadrant supports customers beyond product delivery with a full range of technical and application development services, and Angst+Pfister’s commitment to excellence in this respect is complementary to our own very high standards.” Levent Kosumdok, Chief Marketing Officer, Angst+Pfister commented, “We are delighted to team up with a global leader such as Quadrant EPP. Angst+Pfister Group’s principle of success is based on cooperative partnership. Our goal is to give customers an additional competitive cutting edge, and we believe the combination of Quadrant EPP’s superior product range and our local strength in technical support and service will prove a winning formula for customers.”

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Scott Bader Doubles Manufacturing Capacity for Crystic Bonding Pastes and Crestomer Marine Structural Adhesives

6th December 2007 0 comments

A new adhesive manufacturing plant, with a brand new paste mixer is now in full time production at Scott Bader’s Wollaston plant in Northamptonshire, England. The new mixer is part of an ongoing programme of investments in plant capacity expansion and upgrading at Scott Bader, with the objective of creating a modern, efficient, dedicated adhesive manufacturing plant, combining productivity with the highest QA standards. This plant investment project has involved the construction of a new purpose built area of the Wollaston site for adhesives mixing, moving an existing mixer, as well as the installation of a new second mixer. Extensive design and re-engineering was also carried out on the press out and packaging facilities which operate along side the mixers. The new plant also benefits from the full use of lean manufacturing principles to improve efficiency, with specific manufacturing cells that are fully accountable for quality and reliable production service. This significant capital investment has doubled the previous manufacturing capacity of the unique range of Crystic Crestomer structural adhesive and bonding paste products offered by Scott Bader, which was needed due to the dramatic, ongoing growth in the demand from luxury yacht and leisure craft boat builders around the world, particularly in the UK, Italy, France, Turkey, the Middle East and the USA.

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New Research Facility Nears Completion

16th December 2007 0 comments

The National Institute for Aviation Research at Wichita State University will soon gain a much-needed 14,000 square feet of additional research space. The new facility will be completed in the next month and NIAR will begin moving some of its existing equipment as well as installing new equipment in the laboratory space. The building, located north of NIAR’s main facility, will house additional environmental testing equipment including an anechoic chamber, a reverberation chamber, two fluid susceptibility chambers, a temperature/humidity/altitude chamber, a rate of heat release chamber, an aircraft insulation tester and two shaker tables. It will also house the machine shop for the Composites Laboratory. Major equipment in this space will include two CNC machines, two drilling/milling machines, four surface grinders and a table saw.

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Quatro Composites Provides Panels for Use in Drill Qualification

16th December 2007 0 comments

Quatro Composites has been awarded three contracts to supply carbon fibre panels to airframers and tier 1 suppliers for drill qualification and assembly training. “”As the airplane manufacturers make the radical shift from aluminium to carbon composite materials for the primary structure, much support is required to address the new techniques of drilling, fastening and bonding.”” said Steve Roesner, Chief Operating Officer at Quatro Composites. Quatro supports the manufacturers of composite fuselage and wing skins by supplying carbon/epoxy panels that are built to the aircraft manufacturer’s process specifications . In an effort to meet increased demand, Quatro has recently added an additional 30% of manufacturing space to its Orange City, Iowa facility for the manufacture of carbon fiber panels, as well as structural aerospace composite brackets. “Quatro’s expertise, enthusiasm and flexibility allow them to rapidly respond to customer’s requirements and to provide cost-effective solutions,” says Tom Yip of Boeing Phantom Works. Most of the panels Quatro produces are made with Toray T800 carbon epoxy prepreg.

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TAP to Acquire up to 15 A350XWBs

16th December 2007 0 comments

TAP Portugal has signed a firm contract for 12 A350XWBs, plus three options, and a letter of intent for an additional eight A320 Family aircraft. The Lisbon based airline herewith converts its initial order for the A350, placed in December 2005, into the new A350XWB, and has, simultaneously, increased the number of aircraft ordered, from 10 to 12. At the same time TAP is taking delivery of its first directly owned A330-200. In announcing the transaction, TAP’s Chief Executive Officer, Fernando Pinto, said: “”We have thoroughly re-evaluated our initial A350 order and the result clearly demonstrated that the XWB is the winner in all areas. This aircraft will meet TAP’s requirements to cater for passenger traffic growth across the Atlantic and our plans to serve further destinations. The A350XWB offers outstanding passenger comfort thanks to its wider cabin, and unmatched operating costs, fuel consumption and environmental friendliness. The further additional A320s is a natural choice for our expansion plans, as the A320s perfectly fit our need for efficient single aisle aircraft offering the best possible comfort for our passengers”. “We are particularly honoured by this renewed mark of confidence from TAP, one of Europe’s major airlines. This order is also a further endorsement of the new A350XWB programme. “” Airbus Chief Operating Officer Customers, John Leahy said.” I am confident the A350XWB will deliver on its promises and that it will be the right aircraft to accompany TAP’s future growth strategy, together with our market leading A320 Family aircraft. “” TAP currently operates a fleet of 51 Airbus aircraft, including 17 A319s, 15 A320s, three A321s, four A340-300s, five A310-300s and seven A330-200s, and is Airbus’ largest customer in Portugal. The A350XWBs will in time replace the A340-300 and A330-200 fleet, and support TAP’s network expansion. The A350XWB (extra wide-body) is Airbus’ response to market demand for a medium capacity long range wide-body family available in three basic passenger versions, the A350-800 which can fly 270 passengers, the A350-900 seating 314, and the A350-1000 which is designed for 350. With TAP’s order, total firm orders for the A350 XWB programme stand at 288 aircraft.

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Flow International Receives Contract With Mitsubishi Heavy Industries

16th December 2007 0 comments

Flow International will supply Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) with a second waterjet machine tool to cut the carbon fibre wing components for a major commercial jet aircraft program. Flow’s Composite Waterjet machining system for the precision machining of carbon fibre composite stringers will measure 80 ft. long. It will be utilized for cutting the composite stringers, which are part of the composite wing structure. As a result of breakthrough development work, it will be equipped with multiple patent-pending “side-fire” nozzles. The system will be built and tested in Jeffersonville, Ind., one of Flow’s six worldwide manufacturing plants. The UHP pumps that provide the ultrahigh-pressure water will be made at the Kent, Wash. headquarters. “The second round award of Flow’s commercial wing structure machining system proves the effectiveness of Flow’s waterjet technology and its ability to create ‘state of the art’ aircraft parts in a cost-effective manner,” said Charley Brown, Flow’s President and Chief Executive Officer.

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MSU Nanotechnology Research Nets Nano 50 Award

16th December 2007 0 comments

A new nanotechnology material developed at Michigan State University has enabled XG Sciences, Inc., a start-up company headquartered in East Lansing, Michigan, to be named a winner in the third annual Nanotech Briefs Nano 50 awards program. Nanotech Briefs is a national digital magazine that presents the best of government, industry, and university nanotech innovations that have real-world applications in the areas of electronics, materials, sensors, manufacturing, biomedical, optics/photonics, and aerospace/defense. Nano 50 awards recognize the top 50 technologies, products, and innovators that have significantly impacted (or are expected to impact) the state of the art in nanotechnology. The winners are the “”best of the best””—the innovative people and designs that will move nanotechnology to key mainstream markets. XG Sciences, Inc., was recognized for its new nanomaterial — xGnP Exfoliated Graphite NanoPlatelets — a practical, inexpensive nanoscale material that has a unique set of physical, chemical, and morphological attributes. This new material is the result of several years of research led by Lawrence T. Drzal, University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, director of MSU’s Composite Materials and Structures Center (CMSC), and chief scientist at XG Sciences. The key to the new material’s capabilities is a fast and inexpensive process for separating layers of graphite (graphene) into stacks less than 10 nanometers in thickness but with lateral dimensions anywhere from 100 nm to several microns, coupled with the ability to tailor the particle surface chemistry to make it compatible with water, resin or plastic systems. “This is an exciting development from a variety of perspectives,” said Drzal. “This research has achieved recognition as a major new advance in the field of nanotechnology and it is an example of how student and faculty research conducted in the MSU College of Engineering has the potential to transition to the commercial sector, make a positive economic impact, and be a technological benefit to Michigan and the nation.” Research has shown that adding xGnP to polymers at low concentrations results in nanocomposites that are multifunctional in that they possess an array of enhanced properties–including improved strength and significantly increased electrical and thermal conductivity–leading to new and expanded applications. This will lead to their incorporation in: the aerospace industry for lightening strike protection, electrical conductivity and greater stiffness; the automotive industry to produce conductive paintable plastics and fuel lines and tanks with superior barrier properties; the packaging industry to produce low permeability materials and electrostatically dissipative materials; and the area of structural applications to produce stiffer, stronger and tougher plastics and composites. Michael R. Knox, president and CEO of XG Sciences, said, “We are extremely pleased to get the Nano 50 Award. It validates the excitement that we feel about our commercial potential and it will help us get on the radar screens of additional prospective customers. We have seen great interest so far from companies around the world and, as we scale up our production capabilities, we expect to have our first applications in real products soon.” Funding and support for xGnP research was provided by MSU and a grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s 21st Century Jobs Fund.

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