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Composites Industry News

News for June 2007


EireComposites Awarded Nadcap Aerospace Accreditation

5th June 2007 0 comments

EireComposites Teo has been awarded Nadcap accreditation for composites processing, becoming only the second supplier of advanced composite structures in Europe to achieve this accreditation. The accreditation follows in-depth auditing by the Performance Review Institute (PRI) and is in the category Composites Processing – which includes autoclave processing, highly-specialised liquid processing and thermoplastic press-forming techniques. “”Nadcap accreditation represents a major achievement for EireComposites and will allow us to grow our business even further, particularly in the most high-tech composites sector – aerospace,”” said Dr. Conchúr Ó Brádaigh, Joint Managing Director of the company. EireComposites say that accreditation at this elevated level provides a new platform for the company, allowing it to develop new relationships with OEMs and their fellow Nadcap accredited suppliers. The company already lists in its customer-base companies such as Airbus, BAE Systems, Bombardier Aerospace, Spirit AeroSystems, Cytec Engineered Materials, Ratier Figeac and the Safran Group. “”Statistical process control, quality and total traceability are key to our success and fundamental to the accreditation. We have had to prove to the auditors at all levels that our clients’ specifications can be satisfied, from receipt to delivery and with full quality assurance, to meet the strict requirements of the standard. We are both pleased and proud to gain this recognition”, said Dr. Ó Brádaigh. EireComposites is believed to be the only Irish company and the second composites supplier in Europe to achieve the Nadcap accreditation. EireComposites will be exhibiting at the Paris Airshow, from June 18th to June 22nd , in Hall 3, stand E2.

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GERG Group Selects FiberSIM to Engineer Composites for Motorsports

5th June 2007 0 comments

The GERG Group, a German manufacturer of advanced composite products, has selected Vistagy’s FiberSIM suite of software to improve the engineering process for developing complex composite racing car parts for its customers in the motor sports and Formula One industries.

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New Saertex Sales Partner for the Greek Market

5th June 2007 0 comments

The Saertex group, the manufacturer of stitch bonded non-crimp fabrics (NCFs) for composite applications, has expanded its sales and service network by adding a new dealer for the Greek market, the local Motomarine company. The commercial relationship with Motomarine is intended to improve sales of Saertex standard NCFs made of glass, carbon and aramid as well as those of SAERcore and SAERfix products. The main emphasis of sales activity will initially be the Greek market.

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AOC to Increase Prices

5th June 2007 0 comments

AOC will increase prices by US $0.07 per pound on all Resin and Gel Coat products sold in North America shipped on or after July 1, 2007. AOC say that Natural Gas prices continue to run higher due to lower inventories and that, in the global market, crude oil prices are higher as a result of lost Nigerian production and OPEC’s refusal to increase quotas to replace this production. Many of the key feed stocks used to make the raw materials for UPR are also used to make gasoline.

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CCS Composites Ships Compression Moulded Clamps for Dreamliner

5th June 2007 0 comments

CCS Composites, a division of YLA, has made its first shipment in a multi-year, multi-million dollar contract with Boeing for hydraulic clamps for the Dreamliner 787 currently in production. As part of the move to decrease the Dreamliner’s weight the 787 will be primarily made of composite materials. These composite clamps help Boeing achieve their goal. “Our innovative products go hand-in-hand with the demand for more and more lightweight materials in the aerospace industry,” said Steve Droulard, Manager of Aerospace Business Development of CCS Composites. “We are very excited to be a part of the Dreamliner project, a model of airplane efficiency in every way imaginable.” After receiving the multi-million dollar order in October 2006, an intense collaborative effort between Boeing’s and CCS’ technical teams ensured the first delivery to Boeing’s international partners in record time in December. CCS has continued to honour commitments to Boeing’s delivery schedule for the last several months. “The production-level delivery timeline for the first ship set was only 10 weeks for a multitude of tools to be engineered from scratch, an extraordinary goal and achievement,” said Samuel Sher, YLA’s Director of Marketing and Business Development. “We are excited to be providing high quality, quick turn products that contribute to the technical achievements of the Dreamliner program.”

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CSIR Investigates Use of Natural Fibre Composites in Construction

5th June 2007 0 comments

In line with strategies proposed in Agenda 21 – a United Nations programme in support of sustainable development – South Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is investigating the application of natural fibre composites (NFCs) in construction. The aim is to produce construction materials that are less harmful, recyclable and made mainly from renewable materials. Explaining the impact of building and construction activities on global resources, senior CSIR researcher Llewellyn van Wyk cites some thought-provoking statistics. “Construction and post-construction activities consume 50% of all material resources globally and 70% of global timber products. In addition, 45% of all energy generated is used to heat, ventilate and light buildings and 40% of water is used for sanitation and other uses in buildings. The current population increase of 73 million per year will also place higher demands on the consumption of raw and natural materials.” A pilot study conducted earlier by the CSIR investigated the use of industrial waste, agricultural crops and recycled materials in construction. The study found that alternative applications of industrial waste were increasingly being used in response to pressures such as increasingly stringent environmental laws, the need to minimise waste, and investor demands for improved economic and environmental performance. The pilot study found that the use of agricultural crops, most notably the use of plant fibres such as flax, hemp and sisal, offered significant promise in construction applications. Subsequent research was aimed at establishing whether a natural fibre composite could match the mechanical properties of known conventional construction materials. “The argument made in support of this goal relates to the ability to develop technologies which would directly improve the sustainability of building and construction activities of the construction industry in South Africa,” says Van Wyk. “In addition, the use of a natural fibre could support new agricultural markets and further develop the emerging farming sector.” The CSIR’s experimental work focused on identifying and researching combinations of fibres and compatibilisers and determining the resultant impacts. The research results of this experimental work confirmed that NFCs fall within the targeted mechanical properties range for tensile strength, flexural strength, and impact for load-bearing elements. Further work is proposed with regard to the compressive strength and fire retardation. Research was also undertaken to determine the other properties of conventional construction products in order to generate a matrix of matches between the technical specifications of conventional products and the properties of NFCs. In support of the sustainable development argument, preparatory work was done in the emerging field of life cycle analysis to enable NFCs to be assessed in subsequent work. “Our research has provided sufficient evidence to warrant further prototyping development of the material,” says Van Wyk. “It has also generated a useful generic approach to the exploration of other emerging materials such as lightweight steel, structural glass, fibre reinforced concrete, and ultra-thin concrete panels.” One of the unexpected outcomes of the project was research into the emerging field of off-site construction. The use of ‘plastic’ materials allows the production processes used in the automotive and aeronautical industries to be applied in the construction sector as well. This has led to the launch of an Advanced Construction Technology Platform (ACTP) within the CSIR. This project seeks to establish a science and technology base to explore advanced materials and construction methods, the development of theories, principles and indicators, and the preparation of design manuals for five technology pillars (conventional, fringe, hybrid, bio and nanotechnologies). Van Wyk points out that the project is characterised by research partnerships and a strong commitment to human capital development and transformation. The multi-disciplinary research team includes the Bay Zoltan Institute of Polymer Science in Hungary, the Institute of Natural Fibres in Poland and the Mahatma Gandhi University in Kerala, India. An international specialist in fibre-reinforced composites was recruited to work on the project, while two postgraduate students are finalising their respective Masters and PhD theses as part of the project. In addition, two students employed by the CSIR are completing their undergraduate diploma studies in polymer technology at the Tshwane University of Technology.

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Qatar Airways Orders 80 Airbus A350XWBs

5th June 2007 0 comments

Qatar Airways has signed a Memorandum of Agreement to buy 80 of the all-new Airbus A350XWB aircraft. The agreement was signed at the Elysée Palace in Paris in the presence of His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar, and Mr Nicolas Sarkozy, President of the French Republic, by Qatar Airways Chief Executive Officer Akbar Al-Baker and Airbus President and CEO Louis Gallois. This will make the airline the largest customer for the A350XWB to date and the first one in the Middle East region. This agreement supersedes an earlier one signed in 2005 for 60 of the original A350 aircraft. With up to 60 per cent of weight-saving using advanced materials, in the form of carbon fibre wings and composites, the Airbus A350XWB will be lighter per seat – and hence more economical.

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Waterworks Introduces Departure Wipes Aerospace Release System

5th June 2007 0 comments

Zyvax has added release agent Departure, in a pre-saturated application wipe, to its range of products.

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Degussa Expands Foam Production to North America

5th June 2007 0 comments

Degussa is planning to build a production plant for the rigid polymethacrylimide foam Rohacell at its largest US site in Mobile, Alabama. The new plant comprises an investment volume of about US$10 million and is scheduled to commence operation in mid-2008. Dr. Joachim Leluschko, president of the High Performance Polymers Business Unit: “Composites are an attractive global growth market. By expanding our production to North America, we’re meeting the growing demand worldwide for Rohacell core materials for technical sandwich construction.” Inspec Foams, Inc., of Allen, Texas, a wholly owned subsidiary of Degussa, will manufacture Rohacell in Mobile to the same quality as in Degussa’s first and, until now, only plant in Darmstadt. The construction of local Rohacell production facilities is intended to considerably reduce lead times on the North American continent, and further enhance technical customer service. Rohacell is a product of Degussa’s High Performance Polymers Business Unit. With 1040 employees the business unit generated sales of €422 million in 2006.

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GE to Open Composites Component Factory in Mississippi

5th June 2007 0 comments

General Electric (GE) will break ground this summer on a new jet engine component factory near Batesville in northwest Mississippi. GE Aviation, a GE division and world-leading producer of jet engines, is creating a 200,000 square-foot facility to specialize in advanced composite engine components. Groundbreaking is planned in August; the plant is expected to become operational by early 2009. Based on current demand for its jet engines, GE anticipates hiring to begin in 2008, with the workforce expected to exceed 100 people within the first 18 months of operation. GE worked closely with the Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) to secure the Batesville area location. The MDA, the city of Batesville, and the Tennessee Valley Authority have provided technical support and incentives to ensure a smooth and successful startup. “”Support throughout the state of Mississippi for this new operation has been critical and very gratifying,”” said Scott Donnelly, president and CEO of GE Aviation, headquartered near Cincinnati, Ohio. “”When we announced last year Mississippi would be the site of this project, GE officials said it would involve the most sophisticated manufacturing techniques the company does at any of its worldwide facilities,”” said Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour. “”To have the leader in advanced composites for jet engines bring such specialized high-technology capability to Panola County puts Mississippi on the ground floor of an exciting growth business, and is a testament to the skills of our people and the outstanding nature of our educational institutions.”” To prepare for the new factory, GE in 2006 teamed with Mississippi State University’s (MSU) College of Engineering at its Raspet laboratory on an incubator program to demonstrate the production of composite components for jet engines. The MSU and GE team at Raspet is successfully fabricating carbon fibre and epoxy resin composite components called “”fan platforms,”” which are installed between the front fan blades of GE’s most powerful commercial jet engines. The Raspet success has been an important precursor to GE establishing a permanent site in Mississippi. Raspet will continue to fabricate composite components for GE until the new facility is operational. GE develops and produces the world’s most advanced composite components for jet engines. Composite components provide greater durability and engine weight savings, which translate into better aircraft fuel efficiency. GE introduced composite fan blades to jet travel in 1995 with its GE90 engine on the Boeing 777. The GEnx, a new GE engine to enter service in 2008 on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, is the only jet engine with both composite fan blades and a composite fan case. Composites are also used in GE’s advanced military engines. Buoyed by continuing sales success of GE90 and GEnx engines, GE composite production is growing. The new Batesville plant will produce composite fan blade platforms for the highly-popular GEnx engine which enters airline service in 2008. (GE’s composite fan blades and fan cases are produced at other facilities.) The Batesville plant is also expected to produce composite components for GE military engines, including components for the F136 engine being developed jointly by GE and Rolls-Royce. The F136 will power the F35 U.S. Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program.

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