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Composites Industry News

News for October 2007


AERT Begins Production Using Latest Generation Extrusion Technology

1st October 2007 0 comments

Advanced Environmental Recycling Technologies has successfully begun production of its latest generation “two-up”, multiple-profile composite extrusion machinery at the Company’s Springdale South manufacturing facility. AERT’s Springdale South extrusion facility houses the company’s newest and largest wood/plastic composite extrusion line, which incorporates several innovations and technologies designed to increase throughputs, improve operation efficiencies, and reduce manufacturing costs. The Springdale South facility started in May 2007 with production rates steadily increasing as the new line was calibrated for wood/plastic composite product extrusion. The new extrusion line, now fully operational, is significantly larger than AERT’s other lines and is designed to run two products simultaneously in lengths of up to 20 feet at a combined rate of up to 10,000 pounds per hour. The interchangeable extrusion die head design allows manufacturing of multiple products on the same line, without sacrificing throughput or line speed. This new line features innovative downstream process automation as well. “We are excited about these latest technological developments, as our AERT manufacturing associates transform this new technology into commercial reality,” stated AERT C.E.O. Joe G. Brooks. “With this new facility and extrusion line running efficiently, AERT is positioned to upgrade and broaden our product offerings, generate higher sales, and reduce manufacturing costs. This is another positive step for AERT as we continue to address the needs of our growing customer base.”

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Holland Business Services Starts Trading

1st October 2007 0 comments

Dr. Michael Holland, former VP & GM of SPARTA Composites, has left the company to start a new business, Holland Business Services, Inc. (HBSI). HBSI specializes in business development, brokerage and Merger and Acquisition (M&A) services for small to medium size composites and aerospace companies, and is affiliated with a nationwide network of over 400 business brokerage and M&A companies. Dr. Holland, who has over 35 years experience in aerospace and commercial product experience, stated that “We are extremely proud to offer our services to support the owners of small to medium sized businesses with strategies for growth, diversification and/or exit”. HBSI is a privately owned California company located in Carlsbad, CA.

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Huntsman to Develop New Resin for Fuel Cell Production

1st October 2007 0 comments

Huntsman Advanced Materials is working in partnership with GrafTech International, a subsidiary Advanced Energy Technology (AET), to develop a new binder formulation for use in bi-polar plates that comprise fuel cells for automotive and military vehicles. Based on patented Azyral halogen-free resin chemistries, the new binder formulation will play an integral role in supporting the objective of developing fuel cells that are both cost-effective to manufacture and durable in service. Funding for the fuel cell program was awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy to a consortium of companies. In addition to AET and Huntsman Advanced Materials, project partners include Ballard Power Systems and Case Western Reserve University. The Azyral resin-based binder now being formulated will be used with AET’s Grafcell expanded natural graphite to create corrosion-resistant, lightweight flow-field plates aimed at Proton Exchange Membranes (PEM) fuel cell technology. Like other products in the Azyral product family, the new resin will be a halogen-free material with a low viscosity to accommodate automated application. The resin will also combine a low dielectric constant and low dissipation factor with good surface and volume resistivity as well as good high-temperature stability for reliable, long-lasting fuel cell operation. Once completed, the new Grafcell bi-polar plates will be evaluated by Ballard Power System for use in fuel cell stacks. Case Western Reserve University has been granted funding to conduct comprehensive testing on the new products. Huntsman anticipates that the new binder will work in synergy with the physical performance capabilities of Grafcell natural graphite and AET’s efficient, economical manufacturing processes to produce fuel cells that will power pollution-free cars of the future.

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Hitco to Build Additional C-17 Tail Cones and Vapour Barriers for Boeing

1st October 2007 0 comments

Boeing has contracted with Hitco Carbon Composites, a subsidiary of the German based SGL Group, to build an additional 22 ship sets of tail cones and large vapour barriers for the C-17 Globemaster III military transport aircraft.

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Syrgis Performance Products to Purchase Organic Peroxides Business from Norac

1st October 2007 0 comments

Syrgis Performance Products will acquire the organic peroxides business from Norac, Inc., a worldwide specialty chemical company that brings more than US$50 million in annual revenue to the Syrgis group. The new organic peroxides company name is Syrgis Performance Initiators. In addition to manufacturing and distribution facilities in Sweden and Helena, Ark., Syrgis acquires the technical, sales, and manufacturing staff, support and services with the purchase. “”Norac is a great cultural fit with us. As with all our companies, Norac will remain pure in what it does, while preserving its entrepreneurial spirit, high-quality products, exceptional customer service and technical support,”” said Syrgis Performance Products CEO Andy Harris. “”Syrgis’ strategy is to ‘invest and grow’ with our businesses, allowing them to be autonomous and build on their strengths, while supported with significant financial backing, consolidated R&D and top-tier marketing.”” A leader in its respective markets, the Norac business unit is the number one producer of methyl ethyl ketone peroxides in North America, and ranked third in the world in organic peroxides for plastics and reinforced thermoset composites. A family-run business founded in 1953, the manufacturer produces chemicals that, when used in the making of reinforced and cast polymers, helps them set at room temperature while enhancing their durability. Ultimately, the organic peroxide formulations, like many Syrgis products, find their way into a wide range of consumer and industrial goods including showers, boats, plastic pipes, wind energy turbine blades, truck bed liners and mine bolts. The market for composites with this kind of versatility, ambient temperature curing, and considerable durability exhibits sustained growth. Benny Fahrman, Managing Director, Europe, sees the acquisition as a classic win-win for both companies. “”Syrgis will help further the organic peroxide business on a global basis. Our relationship will give us the ability to strengthen opportunities worldwide. We see our business moving to servicing and supporting larger, more global customers. We look forward to working closely with Syrgis to create a cohesive global presence,”” he said. Intent on preserving the expertise, custom application know-how and valuable relationships within Norac and its business network, Syrgis has no layoffs or reorganization scheduled. “”We’re building a family of entrepreneurs focused on great customer service with niche technical expertise for the best overall customer value. Syrgis offers a flexible business environment that nurtures companies such as Norac, so they can grow beyond their potential. Through this transition, it’s “”business as usual,”” with minimal distractions to the current organization, processes and business systems. We are committed to maintaining our unique technical differentiation and focus on the customer – a move that separates us from most competitors,”” Harris said.

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Tough RTM and Pultrusion Resin with Low Cycle Time

1st October 2007 0 comments

The range of high performance resin systems available from Scott Bader has been extended with their latest Crystic Crestapol range. Crestapol 1210 is designed for use in RTM (resin transfer moulding) and pultrusion applications, with a partially pre-accelerated grade (Crestapol 1210A) also being available. Crestapol 1210 and 1210A are suitable for the production of diverse products such as; railway furniture, domestic household doors and garage doors as well as general buildings and construction products, including modular buildings. Fire resistance or other specific properties can be incorporated with the use of selective fillers, making the resins ideal for mouldings designed to handle demanding use in road, rail, plane or marine transportation applications. These resins are of particular interest where a combination of high application performance with manufacturing productivity is critical to ensure competitiveness. Scott Bader says that are low viscosity resins, with excellent toughness, which cure rapidly, and that production can be optimised to achieve a cycle time of as little as six to seven minutes for RTM. The resins require the addition of a catalyst plus two accelerators (only one for Crestapol 1210A) to start the curing reaction. The recommended catalyst is Akzo Trigonox® 44B used with Scott Bader Accelerator G, with dimethyl aniline (DMA) required in addition only for use with Crestapol 1210 resin. Crestapol 1210 and Crestapol 1210A can be supplied in 25kg, 200kg and one tonne containers and should be stored at low temperatures (less than 20° C) where possible. The image shows a demould operation with 6min 30sec cycle time for the production of a moulding using the latest Crestapol 1210 resin.

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AOC obtains majority interest in Mexican Resin Company

1st October 2007 0 comments

AOC has strengthened its North American resin position by obtaining the majority interest in Mexicana de Resinas, part of AOC’s former 50-50 joint venture in Mexico. The new company is named AOC Mexico and includes the resin manufacturing facility in the municipality of Nezahualcóyotl in the Mexico City Metropolitan Area. For AOC Mexico products that are marketed through distribution in Mexico, Poliformas Plásticas, S.A. de C.V. will be the recognized distributor. Brian Parker has been appointed Managing Director-Latin America for AOC. “We will continue to improve the technology, quality and service that established the joint venture as the leading supplier of composite resins in Mexico,” Parker says. “Major markets benefiting from AOC’s commitment to Latin America include marine, transportation, alternative energy, pultrusion and compounding.” Ing. José Antonio Gómez Rosillo, the other partner in AOC Mexico, is the principal owner of Poliformas Plásticas. “AOC is grateful to be associated with Mister Gómez Rosillo, a true leader in the creation and development of the Mexican composites industry,” Parker says. “Because of his hard work, dedication and vision, AOC Mexico has been formed on an excellent foundation.”

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Material sponsors the Belgian Umicore Solar Race Team

1st October 2007 0 comments

Material, the Belgian filament winding specialist, has become official technology partner for the Belgian Umicore Solar Race Team, which will participate in the 2007 Panasonic World Solar Challenge across Australia at the end of the month. Material designed and manufactured an ultra lightweight carbon fibre composite steering rod for the team’s solar racecar. The filament wound steering rod will reduce the weight of the car by more than 200 grams. Weight reduction is one of the key factors to minimize the loss of energy. Every gram counts. The no-noise, zero-emission car will participate in the 2007 Panasonic World Solar Challenge across Australia on October 21-28, 2007. The race, in fact the world championship for solar cars, is a 3000 km journey from tropical Darwin in the Northern Territory, to Adelaide in South Australia. It’s an energy efficiency challenge, all about creating a balance between sustainable speed and endurance, energy management and strategic planning.

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Bid for Composites Research Funding Successful

1st October 2007 0 comments

New Zealand is once again pushing the boundaries of knowledge development and innovation as a group of organisations has won funding for a four year research programme into advanced composite structures. The research programme aims to expand the knowledge base and expertise related to innovative composite structures, and in particular their manufacture and performance. This will be achieved by developing analysis, design, manufacturing and characterisation methods for advanced composite materials and structures. The research objectives are focused on three key technical areas: i) Advanced failure prediction for stress concentrations ii) Novel materials and processes iii) Performance of complex sandwich structures. The research will be managed and implemented by a steering committee with strong industry leadership. Members of the steering committee are: The Centre for Advanced Composite Materials at The University of Auckland, Industrial Research Limited, and industry partners High Modulus, ANZES Design Engineering and the Defence Technology Agency. Each industry partner is contributing to the programme, but the primary funder is the NZ Government’s Foundation for Research, Science and Technology’s Research for Industry scheme, which is providing nearly NZD $3 million over the next four years. The research will focus on three market sectors, which relate to the specialities of the industry partners: marine, aircraft interiors and defence. High Modulus, ANZES Design Engineering and the Defence Technology Agency are the leading New Zealand organisations in their respective sectors, and have well-established international reputations and market presence. They each have a strong track record in the commercialisation of research outcomes, and it is envisaged the outcomes of this programme will enable them to enhance their export potential and international competitiveness. The two participating research organisations have proven experience in fundamental research and the transfer of technology to industry, and they will be looking to share their knowledge with New Zealand companies across a range of industries. An important additional outcome of the research will be the creation of a composites research cluster, which will bring together the complementary capabilities of New Zealand’s leading composites research groups, namely the Centre for Advanced Composite Materials at the University of Auckland, and Industrial Research Limited. Combining their capabilities with those of the industry partners, the composites cluster will be in an excellent position to assist with the export growth of New Zealand’s manufacturing industry, and further strengthen its reputation and position in the international arena.

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Dashboards for Audi and VW made from Celstran

1st October 2007 0 comments

In the newly designed dashboards for the VW Golf, VWEOS and the Audi A 5 Coupe, automotive manufacturers are relying on stylish design with Celstran. Ticona says that the property profile of Celstran long-fibre-reinforced thermoplastics (LFT) allows easy processing with accurate reproduction of design detail. At the same time, important components such as the passenger airbag can be fully integrated into the dashboard structure. For a long time now, the interior aesthetics of a new car have been just as important as car body design and engine performance. When it comes to dashboards, in particular, car drivers value an attractive appearance with clear instrument layout. Car manufacturers and their suppliers additionally require easy processing and efficient production. To meet all these needs, they are now able to exploit the balanced material properties of Celstran long-glass-fibre-reinforced grades, in which polypropylene, PP copolymer or PP blends are used as the matrix material. The level of long-glass-fibre reinforcement can be suitably adjusted to component requirements within a certain range. For system suppliers such as Faurecia and Cadence Innovation, the strength and impact resistance of this large component are key criteria. In producing the component, it is therefore important to ensure that the material has the best possible flow properties, despite the reinforcing fibres, so that complicated molds can be filled to the last corner within reasonable cycle times. During this process, the fibres must also be uniformly distributed. Only in this way can the stability of the dashboard support be retained, even with complex geometries. Ticona says that their material also offers the advantage that ventilation ducts or nozzles – for example with a lower fibre content than the foamed dashboard support – can be readily integrated, so reducing production costs. A crucial factor for the finished dashboard is the smooth surface achieved with Celstran, due to the homogeneous glass fibre distribution in the polymer matrix. This allows a fine polyurethane (PU) foam to be applied, creating a soft-touch effect. Finally, a slush skin, usually of PVC, is applied onto the foam surface to give the dashboard its special visual appeal.

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