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Composites Industry News

News for 26 March 2007


Zyvax Creates New Presence in the Middle East

26th March 2007 0 comments

Zyvax has made a new permanent appointment for the Middle East, where previously it had serviced customers in this region through its European operations. The company has appointed Ahmed Salah Elshami as Middle East Sales Coordinator. Mr. Elshami, who is based in Cairo, Egypt, will be responsible for conducting product demonstrations and providing technical support and training to Zyvax customers and distributors in the region. Mr. Elshami’s appointment is an indication of Zyvax’s growing emphasis on the Middle East. “Ahmed is extremely talented, with a deep understanding of the polymers industry,” said Fernando Castro, European Coordinator. “He possesses a strong technical background in all types of composite procedures, combined with experience in assisting customers in solving production problems. These skills will allow Ahmed to deliver a high level of professional support to Zyvax customers while reinforcing our company’s profile in this vital region of the world.”

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Univar to Distribute Reichhold Products in Benelux

26th March 2007 0 comments

Reichhold has named chemicals distributor Univar as the company’s new distribution partner for polyester resins, gel coats, bonding paste and auxiliary products in the Benelux region.

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Bond-Laminates Commissions New Production Plant for Tepex

26th March 2007 0 comments

To meet the increasing demands for its Tepex thermoplastic composite materials, Bond-Laminates has commissioned a new production facility next to its previous site in Brilon, Germany. The expansion includes a production facility of 1800 m2 as well as 400 m2 of office space. With investments in further production equipment, the annual production capacity has been increased from 400 tons to 1200 tons/year. Tepex thermoplastic composites are increasingly being used in the field of sporting goods, automotive, personal protection and aerospace applications, thanks to the excellent performance/weight ratio and quick processing capabilities. In order to fulfil the increased Tepex material demands, Bond-Laminates has built a new plant next to its previous location in Brilon, Germany. The existing production line with a capacity of 400 tons/a is running in a 3 shift operation. Currently, a second line with a capacity of 800 tons/a is being commissioned. In addition to this important capacity increase, Bond-Laminates has installed a water jet cutting line in order to trim the fully consolidated laminates to customized contours on demand.

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BigHead's TwinDisk Fastenings for Composite Panels

26th March 2007 0 comments

A technical partnership between Bighead and Caparo Vehicle Products has resulted in a new, high-performance fastener for composite materials. The Twindisk has two heads, or disks, joined by an internally-threaded collar or a threaded stud. A hole is drilled into the panel; adhesive applied; and the Twindisk pushed into the cavity. The bottom disk is glued to the bottom skin, and the top disk to the top skin (rebated or surface-mounted). Tensile, shear and lateral loads are efficiently transferred to both skins. Male versions are supplied with adjustable top heads, fitting depths from 5mm to 100+mm. Threads are M4 to M16 (male or female). Head diameters are 20mm, 30mm and 40mm; other sizes can be supplied.

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South East Composites Companies Get £200,000 Skills Boost

26th March 2007 0 comments

The South East of England Development Agency (SEEDA) is providing £200,000 to fund an essential training programme that meets the needs of the composites industry, critical to the economic success of the region. Employers in the sector have a pressing demand for the specialised training, which is only currently supplied by a few local providers. Cogent is the national skills council for the composites sector, and through its research it identified an urgent need to upskill the composites sector workforce. It will lead on the development of the programme which will boost skills in the companies who sign up. SEEDA invited bids from consortia of learning providers, trade bodies and employers to develop a series of training programmes that meet workforce development needs which are not currently being supplied by existing Further and Higher Education or private sector providers. The programme will address skill shortages at Level 3 focusing on technical training in relation to the manufacture and application of composite materials. Cogent will work with partners (Isle of Wight College, Southampton City College, CompositesUK and composites employers) to develop a specific qualification for composite technologies. This will be rolled out across the South East which is the home to over 170 organisations associated with composites. Peter Gent, Cogent Skills Director for the South East said: “Employers have told us that they have been wanting a programme of this type for years. Education, training and awareness of composite materials is key to the future growth of the composites industry which can look forward to an exciting future.” The course, content and material will be developed between now and July this year, with the object of starting delivery in September 2007 and programme completion in July 2009.

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Soy-based Resin for Composites Shows Potential

26th March 2007 0 comments

Working under funds provided by the Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program (SREDP), a joint effort of EPA and the Departments of Defense and Energy, John LaScala, of the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) and his team have developed a soy-based composite. The resin is said to perform equal to, or better, than its petroleum-based counterpart and reduce styrene emissions by 20-78 percent. “This means that soldiers working to repair vehicles can work more safely, it also means that military repair shops can meet EPA standards without emission control systems which can easily cost a $1 million per installation,” LaScala explains. The biobased composite has very wide application, not only in vehicles but also in aircraft and ships, both military and civilian. The various branches of the military are currently laboratory-testing the product, are planning to field test it next year, and if all goes as expected, mass production of original equipment and parts could begin in 2009. Meanwhile, commercialization of the product has begun with a licensing agreement with Vertachem Corp who is in the early stages of introducing the product to major resin manufacturers. Like many entrepreneurial enterprises, Vertachem came into being as a result of a joint-MBA project between Tom Watchko and David Epstein, cofounders of the company. “We’ve also had some very good help from the United Soybean Board (USB) in the person of Tom Doyle, who is with OmniTech International, USB’s technical consulting firm. According to Watchko, “Tom Doyle, who knows the resins industry inside and out, has helped us in many ways from finding suppliers of soy-based raw material to opening the doors of the big resin manufacturers as well as good, sound business advice that only comes from industry experience. We appreciate his efforts and we appreciate USB for providing Tom as a resource to us.” “This product with its twin attributes of being environmentally friendly and being made from a renewable resource has everything going for it. Its potential is tremendous,” concludes Doyle. In addition, LaScala is working on a similar product, a biobased resin that is used in vehicle body repair.

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Canadian Universities Get $6 Million to Build Green BioCars

26th March 2007 0 comments

Canadian provincial government is investing nearly $6 million in the BioCar Initiative, a multi-university project led by the University of Guelph. It involves 16 scientists at Guelph and the universities of Toronto, Waterloo and Windsor. They are combining their research strengths and efforts to improve the development and delivery capacity of biomaterials for the automotive industry. “The BioCar initiative aligns some of the most distinctive innovation capacity in Ontario,” said Alan Wildeman, vice-president (research). “It involves a consortium of universities working with two of the largest industries in Ontario, the automotive industry and the agricultural industry. This combination provides an unprecedented opportunity for the province to be seen as a major contributor to the global biobased industrial revolution that is occurring.” Support for the project will come from the Ontario Research Fund’s Research Excellence Program and was announced today in Toronto by Premier Dalton McGuinty, minister of research and innovation. Guelph’s role will include creating new industrial crops that can be turned into composite materials used to make interior automobile components. “It’s a whole new way of looking at agriculture and a whole new relationship between the sector and Ontario’s economy,” said plant agriculture professor Larry Erickson, one of the lead researchers. “It opens the door for a lot more approaches and utilization of crops. Now, agriculture is more than meat and potatoes; it’s car parts, building materials, fuel and more.” It’s been known for years that plant material can be used to make components in the manufacturing process, but it’s only recently that society recognized the need to do this commercially. For the past 100 years, research efforts and resources have not been focused on using crops in this way because there’s been an abundant supply of low-cost petroleum, said Erickson. “All of that has changed now. We have to catch up and make up for lost time and develop alternative technology.” The BioCar project literally starts in the field, with Guelph looking at the raw agricultural materials and studying crop genetics. It then moves to processing and separating the biological feedstock in collaboration with the University of Toronto, to engineering composite resins and polymers for application to automotive parts at Waterloo, to finally incorporating the new products into automobiles at Windsor. “Talk about a value-added chain of research,” said Erickson. “The BioCar Initiative is a continual stream of research and development with incremental improvements made at each point in the value chain. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” He added that research into bioproducts has often been challenging because these new materials are currently not economically competitive with synthetic products. But the four universities joining together and creating an integrated scientific team changes things, he said. Mohini Sain, a University of Toronto researcher, is the co-principal investigator for the project. Other key Guelph researchers involved are Ian Tetlow, Michael Emes, Istvan Rajcan, Peter Pauls and Gary Ablett.

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Key Role for FRPs in Preservation of Historic Structures

26th March 2007 0 comments

The Network Group for Composites in Construction (NGCC) has undertaken a state-of-the-art review of the use fibre-reinforced polymers (FRP) in restoration and conservation. Experts from UK industry and academia met in London in January 2007 to discuss the latest challenges in the field and present case studies. The workshop was one of a series of public events organised by NGCC, with free places for NGCC members, which advance understanding in the use of FRP in construction and share the latest developments with construction professionals and clients. The workshop identified the significant potential of FRP in the preservation of historical structures. In the last two decades, fibre-reinforced polymers (FRP) have gained considerable worldwide interest and growing acceptance in the construction industry. Much work has already been done to enable their advantages to be exploited in the preservation of historic structures, particularly their high strength, durability, cost effectiveness and the potential for minimal aesthetic impacts. Work is now underway to expand the range of potential applications, exploring important issues such as long-term durability, material compatibility, minimising invasiveness, upgrade reversibility and optimising material selection. The workshop findings have led to the production of a new NGCC technical sheet ‘TS06: FRPs in restoration’. The publication and workshop presentations can be downloaded from the NGCC members’ e-library on the NGCC website. The image shows FRP strengthening of metallic beam, courtesy of Taylor Woodrow Technology Centre.

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Vought Makes Progress on Boeing 787 Fuselage Production Units

26th March 2007 0 comments

Vought Aircraft Industries, a partner on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, is on track to deliver its first production ship set next month. The delivery will include aft fuselage section 47, which measures 19 feet in diameter and 23 feet long, and fuselage section 48, measuring 14 feet in diameter and 15 feet long. The combined section represents 23 percent of the 787’s entire fuselage structure. “”Progress is well underway on the 787 program,”” said Vice President of Vought’s 787 Division Ted Perdue. “”It’s really exciting to see the efforts of our highly skilled workforce come together for this game-changing aircraft. The quality of the work performed by our 787 Division team in Charleston and at other locations around the world is exceptional. I am very proud of our team’s dedication and technical expertise, and I’m confident in Vought’s ability to help ‘Deliver the Dream.’”” Vought has completed five aft fuselage production units and one developmental unit since production began in South Carolina last year. All of Vought’s one-piece fuselage sections, called barrels, have successfully completed nondestructive inspections (NDI), using high-frequency ultrasonic sound waves to scan for imperfections or voids in the skin material. Assembly activities are now being completed on the Vought sections before they leave South Carolina. When completed, the two sections will be joined together and transported next door to Global Aeronautica, the company’s joint venture with Alenia North America. The aft fuselage will then be loaded into a Boeing Dreamlifter and flown to Everett, Wash., for final assembly. Boeing is using a fleet of converted 747-400 cargo jets to ferry components to and from partner locations in Japan, Italy and the United States. Fabrication of the barrels is accomplished using computerized lay-down of composite tape on a large barrel-shaped mould made from interlocking mandrels. The laminate is then placed in Vought’s autoclave, at 76 feet in length and 30 feet in diameter, the world’s largest by volume. A number of suppliers around the globe support Vought’s 787 production work. Vought received the aft pressure bulkhead from European Aeronautic Defence & Space (EADS) business unit Military Aircraft from Augsburg, Germany. The one-piece dome, inserted between sections 47 and 48, is made using a vacuum-assisted resin transfer mold (VaRTM) process and is approximately 14 by 15 feet in size. It is the first composite aft pressure bulkhead ever to be used on a Boeing aircraft.

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BigHead’s TwinDisk Fastenings for Composite Panels

26th March 2007 0 comments

A technical partnership between Bighead and Caparo Vehicle Products has resulted in a new, high-performance fastener for composite materials. The Twindisk has two heads, or disks, joined by an internally-threaded collar or a threaded stud. A hole is drilled into the panel; adhesive applied; and the Twindisk pushed into the cavity. The bottom disk is glued to the bottom skin, and the top disk to the top skin (rebated or surface-mounted). Tensile, shear and lateral loads are efficiently transferred to both skins. Male versions are supplied with adjustable top heads, fitting depths from 5mm to 100+mm. Threads are M4 to M16 (male or female). Head diameters are 20mm, 30mm and 40mm; other sizes can be supplied.

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