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Composites Industry News

News for 28 January 2007


CCP Launches Innovative Coating and Resin Technology

28th January 2007 0 comments

Cook Composites and Polymers (CCP) has introduced its ImEdge Series of innovative polymer coating and resin technologies. “The chemistry of these new products has been developed to advance our industry beyond the limits of conventional in-mould products,” said Paul Colonna, CCP’s Vice President for Composites. “While the existing gel coat technology has been excellent and has served our industry well for the past forty odd years, it has obviously had its limitations,” Mr. Colonna continued. “The ImEdge line establishes a new foundation – a new base line – for in-mould coatings technology. Concepts we once perceived as unattainable – like zero HAPS, weatherproof, crackproof, blushproof – are becoming very realistic possibilities. CCP is now perfectly positioned to address these industry needs while, at the same time, bringing something truly remarkable and completely new to the marketplace.”

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Call for Candidates for the AVK Innovation Award 2007

28th January 2007 0 comments

AVK has opened nominations for this year’s annual AVK innovation awards in the categories ‘industrial applications’, ‘environment’ and ‘university research’. The objective of the innovation awards is to provide solutions to state-of-the-art technological issues by means of composites and thermosets, to highlight the achievements of our industry in the field of environmental protection and to encourage university research into composites and thermosets. Not least, it is hoped that these innovation awards will serve as a source of motivation for specialists active in these fields. The prizes will be awarded at the 10th International AVK Conference on November 5-6, 2007 to be held in Stuttgart.

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Univar to Distribute Reichhold Vinyl Ester Resins in the UK

28th January 2007 0 comments

Reichhold has named chemicals distributor Univar as the company’s new distribution partner for vinyl ester resins in the United Kingdom (UK), under the brand names Dion & Hydrex.

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Talbor Material Patented for Use in Transport of Nuclear Fuel

28th January 2007 0 comments

Talon Composites has received a US patent for the fabrication of their metal matrix material called Talbor. This proprietary material and technology is used to make shielding plates that achieve high neutron absorption utilizing a very fine grain structure and greater homogeneous disbursement of Boron, which enables nuclear fuel companies to implement safer and more effective fuel transport strategies. Thresher’s President, Tom Flessner, remarked, “”Our subsidiary, Talon Composites, provides a much needed component for nuclear fuel casks. In building and assembling this new type of material, we have now patented the best available technology and materials throughout the world. Our internal technology team is confident in its ability to deliver the best quality, most innovative materials on the market today.”” Thresher’s Vice President of business development, Robin A. Carden, added, “”Today we see a new renaissance in the world toward nuclear energy and the Thresher-Talon team is proud to partner with many of the industry leaders to keep nuclear energy safe and clean.”” The Talon Composites group produces and markets a range of advanced metal matrix composites under the name of Talbor and Boralyn. The MMCs consist of aluminum and boron carbide and are supplied primarily to the nuclear waste and nuclear transportation industries for neutron absorption applications. Talon’s process results in the boron carbide being dispersed evenly throughout the composite, making it particularly suitable to the nuclear industry.

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M.C. Gill Establishes Scholarships in Area of Composite Materials

28th January 2007 0 comments

Merwyn C. Gill has established the M.C. Gill Scholarship Program at The University of Arizona to support full-time graduate students who are studying in the area of composite materials. M.C. Gill, who is 96, is the chairman of the board of M.C. Gill Corp. a living pioneer of the composites industry. His company, then called Peerless Plastics Products, Inc., began operation in a garage in Montebello, Calif. in 1945. The $460,000 gift will provide scholarships in perpetuity. According to information provided with the scholarships, “”Mr. Gill’s commitment to the composites industry is steadfast and, with this gift to the university, he hopes to provide educational opportunities for the best and brightest yet to come.”” Tom Peterson, dean of the UA College of Engineering, praised Gill and his wife, Hester, for their selfless commitment to graduate engineering education. “”M.C. has focused his entire life on activities, both inside and outside his company, that facilitate fulfilment of the American Dream,”” Peterson said. “”He is an ardent supporter of the Boy Scouts of America; his alma mater, USC; and, now, to our great benefit, the College of Engineering at UA. It is truly an honour to know both of them and to be the recipients of their incredible generosity.””

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Wichita Planning a Dedicated Composites Park

28th January 2007 0 comments

In line with the growing use of composites in aerospace, the city of Wichita, at the centre of the Kansas aerospace cluster, is planning to develop a dedicated Composites Park to service local demand.

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Beakbane Diversifies into Composites

28th January 2007 0 comments

Beakbane Limited, which employs more than 125 staff at its Kidderminster base, has moved into the use of composites, primarily as protection in the rail industry. Regional development agency Advantage West Midlands has worked with the company to assist with the expansion into overseas markets, subsidising visits to trade shows across the world including the prestigious InnoTrans exhibition in Berlin. The Agency also provided funding for machinery used by the company in the manufacture of the composites. Beakbane Managing Director Barry Reeves said: “While we started out making product in leather, we are always looking to new materials in order to keep our position in the market. Everything is produced domestically – steel, plastic and rubber covers are all cut, formed, welded, stitched, moulded and assembled on-site at Kidderminster. Moving into composites has given us an entirely new market to move into as we are able to take the very latest material technologies and apply them to other emerging technologies..” Mike Clarke, Advantage West Midlands Rail Cluster Manager, said: “Beakbane Limited is one of our major suppliers within the rail sector. Their approach to embracing new technologies, looking to overseas markets and diversifying into new products and processes is something we are keen to encourage.” Beakbane acquired the business of Flowonics Composites in July last year.

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Quickstep Signs Major New Research & Development Contract with VCAMM

28th January 2007 0 comments

Quickstep and the Victorian Centre for Advanced Materials Manufacturing (VCAMM) have initiated a major new R&D programme focusing on the development and analysis of composite components for aerospace and automotive applications. The new programme builds on an existing research collaboration agreement between Quickstep and the Victorian State Government-backed VCAMM signed in July 2004, and provides for further exploration of two existing R&D projects, as well as funding new material analysis in support of major aerospace manufacturers. Quickstep’s Managing Director, Mr Nick Noble, said the agreement would enable important research to be carried out to facilitate the ongoing commercialisation of Quickstep’s patented composites manufacturing technology for the global aerospace and automotive sectors. The most significant component of the research programme will focus on the performance characteristics of composite components manufactured using the Quickstep Process, specifically examining how Quickstep’s unique fluid-based composites curing technique results in apparent improvements in the thermal and adhesion performance of the resulting composite material. Previous research has established that the rapid heating of composite materials made possible by the Quickstep Process can, in certain cases, result in improvements in resin toughness, impact strength or mechanical properties. The reasons for this are not fully understood, however it is supposed that a positive effect is occurring at micro and molecular levels, resulting in a “better cure”. Nick Noble said Quickstep continues to receive questions from Boeing, Airbus, and other companies regarding these molecular differences, and what specific effects the Quickstep Process has on composite properties. “The key focus of this new R&D agreement will be analysing the molecular properties of composite materials manufactured using the Quickstep Process to establish how these improvements are produced,” Mr Noble said. “If the R&D program demonstrates that the Quickstep Process does deliver a fundamental improvement in the material structure at a microscopic level, this could unlock a high-potential market value in the aerospace industry, particularly in the construction of high-value aircraft primary structures,” he continued. In addition to this new R&D project, continued analysis will also be conducted on thermoset and thermoplastic composite tubes produced using the Quickstep Process to investigate their effectiveness in automotive crash energy management – an area currently attracting strong interest from international researchers. Previous testing by VCAMM has identified that tubes produced by Quickstep have a high specific crush energy, suggesting they may offer important safety benefits in automobile accidents. Further research will be conducted by VCAMM’s researchers based at Deakin University and the US-based Oak Ridge National Laboratory to evaluate the performance of different fibreglass/thermoplastic structures under high speed crush testing. VCAMM’s CEO Mr Brad Dunstan said, “Preliminary testing of composite tubes manufactured using the Quickstep Process has shown some exciting results for crash energy management. Gaining a detailed understanding of how and why the Quickstep Process delivers such unique performance in specific energy absorbance will be a key aspect of this project. This process has the potential to revolutionise the way engineers design automotive crash structures.” The third project to be carried out under the new R&D agreement will involve enhancing Quickstep’s patented melding process, which enables one composite part to be effectively welded to another, without the use of bolts or adhesives and with no physical difference or separating surface remaining between them. VCAMM’s researchers will be evaluating the melding process with specific focus on aerospace applications, with the aim of developing design guidelines for obtaining the full potential in advanced carbon fibre composites The $940,000 R&D programme will be jointly funded by Quickstep and VCAMM. Quickstep will provide total funding of $250,000 cash and $130,000 in-kind contributions. VCAMM funding towards delivering the project will be $380,000 in cash and over $180,000 in-kind.

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Huntsman Epoxy RTM System Used on Ferrari Engine Air Box

28th January 2007 0 comments

An advanced Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM) system developed by the ATR Group and Huntsman Advanced Materials has been used on an award winning prototype engine air box for the Ferrari F430. The ATR Group is an Italian consortium comprising nine leading companies involved in the research and production of advanced structural composite parts and components. Using ATR’s RTM technology and a new epoxy resin system – XB 3583/Aradur 3486/ LMB 6432 from Huntsman Advanced Materials – it was possible to build the highly complex prototype of the engine air box. The process won the highly prestigious 2006 China Composites Expo-JEC Innovation Award for the best application for FRP/Composites Production in September 2006. With the Ferrari F430 engine air box, the weight of the finished prototype part was virtually halved from the aluminium original – down from 4.1kg to just 2.4kg. According to Huntsman, this was achieved by using a special, flexible silicone membrane rather than the usual metal RTM mould, which enabled the resin content to be reduced and the reinforced fibre content to be increased. Additional external pressure was also applied to the membrane to optimise this process. Although complex, the prototype part produced using this advanced RTM system was extremely accurate – even the engine flange drill holes matched up with no further finishing required. No additional bonding was needed either to add connecting parts such as inserts and internal auxillairy structures as they were formed in the mould during the RTM process Abramo Levato, R&D Manager at ATR Group said: “With our significant advancement in RTM technology combined with the Huntsman Advanced Materials resin system, it is possible to produce highly complex, yet lightweight composite parts in a single shot. This versatile laminating system makes Advanced RTM an even more time and cost effective manufacturing option for our customers.”

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ZCL Composites Acquires Xerxes Corporation

28th January 2007 0 comments

ZCL Composites has agreed to acquire Xerxes, a US company involved in the design, manufacture and marketing of fibreglass products for the petroleum, chemical, water and wastewater industries. The aggregate purchase price for Xerxes is USD$40.8 million. The company has over 260 employees operating from 5 principal locations in Minnesota, California, Texas, Maryland and Iowa. ZCL’s President & Chief Executive Officer, Ven Côté, described the acquisition of Xerxes as both “”synergistic operationally to ZCL and accretive””. “”We are excited about the opportunity to join forces with a well managed industry leader to provide a broader range of products to our Canadian customer base and to increase our market presence in the United States.”” The Acquisition is expected to close on or about February 28, 2007.

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