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Composites Industry News

News for 16 September 2007


Composites Exhibition Continues its Tour

16th September 2007 0 comments

The international travelling exhibition showing a variety of creative objects in composite materials, Composites on Tour, is continuing its European education and awareness programme. The exhibition is currently in Ljubljana and will continue to Paris, Eindhoven and Wenen. The exhibition comprises of the work of the two winners of the International Composites Design Competition, along with another twenty selected entries and a small number of items suggested by the jury. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue to explain and illustrate the entries. The remaining itinerary of the travelling exhibition is: Fuzine Castle Lubljana, SI 3/09 – 30/09/07 Cité de la Science Paris, FR 1/11 – 13/11/07 Dutch Design Week, Klokgebouw Eindhoven, NL 20/10 – 27/10/07 Design Austria Wenen, AT 15/12 – 15/01/08 The International Composites Design Competition saluted designs in which composite materials have been used to the best effect and in an intelligent and innovative manner. The competition was open to professional designers from all over the world: individual designers, design agencies and corporate designers. The entries were divided into two categories. The first category comprises products that were brought to market between 1 January 2003 and 1 September 2006. The second category comprises experimental yet production-feasible prototypes. The winner of each category received EUR 7,500. The winner in the products category was the Big Bench by the Danish duo Poul Christiansen and Boris Berlin (Komplot Design), a sofa that can be extended to a length of 6 metres. The composite materials used in the design give the sofa excellent support characteristics, despite its slim and elegant appearance. The sofa is available in semi-transparent composite or with a lacquered finish in a range of colours. The winner in the prototypes category was Sébastien Dubois from Canada, who designed a prosthetic foot. The main consideration in the design of the artificial foot was to keep production costs as low as possible, so that it can above all be used in developing countries. The design also recently won an Index: Award for design. The 69 entries submitted by 55 participants from 17 countries were judged by an international jury. With Composites-on-Tour-2, the KU Leuven and Design Flanders opted resolutely for an international approach. The competition was open to designers from all over the world and the exhibition will be travelling from Brussels to Paris, Barcelona, Budapest, Ljubljana and Eindhoven. This cross-border strategy promotes international networking between designers and the business community. This type of cross-fertilisation often also leads to innovative product development. Composites-on-Tour-2 also aims to bring the science closer to the general public. The design exhibition is accompanied with a small scientific exhibition that explains how research and development in the field of composites influences everyday life. It shows visitors in an informal and interactive manner how composite materials are made and why they have such unique properties. The design competition and the travelling exhibitions are part of the Composites-on-Tour-2 science communication project, a joint project of Design Flanders and the KU Leuven. This initiative follows on from the first composites project, Composites-on-Tour (2002), which was awarded the European Commission Descartes Prize for Science Communication.

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Two JEC Programmes Pay Tribute to Tomorrow's Innovations

16th September 2007 0 comments

JEC have announced a call for presentations for the 2008 User Forums and a call for candidates for the 2008 Innovation Awards Programme.

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LM Glasfiber's 61.5 Blade Named a Finalist for Danish Industry’s Product Prize 2007

16th September 2007 0 comments

The innovative design of the 61.5-meter blade – the longest on the market today – has earned LM Glasfiber a spot among the five finalists for The Confederation of Danish Industry’s Product Prize 2007. The blade, which pushes the envelope of modern composite engineering, was named as a finalist after a panel of judges reviewed 31 of the best new products in Denmark for this year. The winner will be announced on September 27 at the organization’s Business Summit in Copenhagen with 1,000 Danish business executives in attendance. “It is an honour to be named among the finalists and a privilege to know that DI recognizes all the efforts LM Glasfiber puts into innovated design,” said Steen Broust Nielsen, Corporate Communication Director. “Beyond conception, the first series of blades have been produced and five sets of blades have been installed on turbines in Germany and Scotland. It is with great satisfaction that we know we are advancing renewable energy by taking large scale innovation into manufacturing.” The 61.5 blade design features an impressive rotor diameter of 126 meters, and the three blades cover an area almost the size of two football fields. This is the largest, longest blade in operation, and its cost is optimized through light and stiff large blades. From this area the blades are capable of capturing energy from the wind corresponding to a nominal effect of 5 MW, or the annual power consumption of about 5,000 households. The 61.5 blade will play an especially prominent role in the off-shore market and the growing trend of customers turning to larger, more energy efficient wind turbines. “The 61.5 blade is the key to unlock cost effective use of vast and vital offshore wind resources,” said Steen Broust Nielsen. The image shows the LM 61.5 rotor being fitted to the 5M wind turbine in Brunsbüttel, Germany.

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University of California, Davis Chooses Sustainable Lifetime Lumber For Riding Arena Wall

16th September 2007 0 comments

A state-of-the-art addition to the Equestrian Center at the University of California, Davis (UC Davis) showcases the latest in environmentally friendly building technology in the form of LifeTime Lumber fencing. The UC Davis Equestrian Center has constructed the riding wall of the facility’s new open air arena of more than 9,000 linear feet of Century Products’ LifeTime Lumber. LifeTime Lumber is an eco-friendly wood alternative that has the look and feel of wood without its maintenance requirements. Manufactured by Southern California-based Century Products LLC, LifeTime Lumber is composed of, among other materials, recycled fly ash – an inert waste product from electric utility plants. LifeTime Lumber has working properties similar to those of wood, and can be sawed, as well as screwed and nailed together, with regular woodworking tools. LifeTime Lumber products conform to recycled content criteria under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System. LEED is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings. LifeTime Lumber has also received recycled content certification; it meets the necessary criteria for recycled content claims based on internationally recognized standards and guidance established by the International Organization for Standardization and the US Green Building Council. “During the planning stages for the new arena we put a lot of thought into choosing the right materials for the job, and LifeTime Lumber was the natural choice because of its looks, its sustainable manufacturing process, resistance to rot and low-maintenance requirements,” said Matt Fucile, associate director of operations for the department of campus recreation at UC Davis. “We’re always looking to see what we can do to address the LEED requirements in our facilities, and the sustainability of the LifeTime Lumber product is a definite bonus. At UC Davis we are moving away from using wood products that deteriorate and eventually are sent to a landfill.” LifeTime Lumber is offered in a natural brown, as well as white, black, sage and gray. Each piece has a distinctive wood grain pattern that creates an aesthetically pleasing finished product, which was another big draw for the UC Davis project, according to Fucile. “The use of LifeTime Lumber in the new riding arena at the UC Davis Equestrian Center is particularly exciting because it demonstrates that it is possible to construct a building with a quality, durable material that is environmentally conscious as well as aesthetically pleasing,” said Nisha Vyas Mahler, vice president, Century Products. “The UC Davis community has established very high standards for sustainable building and operating, and the selection of LifeTime lumber as the material of choice for the new riding arena secures UC Davis’ reputation as a leader in the green building movement.”

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Saertex Celebrates 25th Anniversary

16th September 2007 0 comments

Saertex, the manufacturer of stitch bonded non crimp fabrics (NCFs) for composite applications, is 25 years old. Everything started back in 1982 with only six employees when at the beginning the idea was to use textile processes for the creation of fibre reinforced composites. After 25 years a global company with more than 700 employees has evolved. “This astonishingly paced development is attributable to our employees, customers and business associates”, said Bruno Lammers CEO of the Saertex group. Saertex manufactures at six locations in Germany, France, South Africa, the USA and India with further sites opening soon in Portugal and China. A detailed overview of the many areas of use of non crimp composite materials made of glass, carbon and aramid fibres can be seen on the company’s new presentation movie on their web site.

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Epm:technology Group Sells its Production Centre in Coalville, Leicestershire

16th September 2007 0 comments

Epm:technology group has sold its production facility to S. Macneillie & Sons of Walsall, to help them realise their needs for large composite component manufacture. This is for their ‘blue light’ markets, which include ambulance, police and military vehicles. Epm says that it will continue to move forward, concentrating all its resources on its ever-increasing client needs for high performance-engineered components and build upon its profile within key clients in motorsport markets. These activities will continue as normal from epm: technology group’s Technical Centre in Derbyshire that has recently been expanded to meet the growing demands.

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ACMA 2007 Lifetime Achievement Winners and Hall of Fame Inductees

16th September 2007 0 comments

The American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA) has announced its 2007 Lifetime Achievement Winners and inductees for the association’s Hall of Fame.

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Composites Europe off to a Successful Start in Its Second Year

16th September 2007 0 comments

200 exhibitors from more than 20 countries have registered for participation in the second Composites Europe, which will open its gates from 6 to 8 November 2007 at Neue Messe in Stuttgart. The international trade fair accompanied by a Forum will present the entire value creation chain of the composites industry – from the raw material to semi-finished, finished and intermediate products to technologies and services. With a large number of special events such as workshops, live demonstrations and the accompanying AVK Conference, Composites Europe has succeeded in developing into Germany’s biggest B2B platform in its second year already. Once again, the trade fair will be supported by the European association of the composite industry EuCIA as well as a large number of key players from the industry who have registered for participation in Stuttgart. Product Demonstration Area With a surface of more than 400 sqm, a special show at the Product Demonstration Area will present examples of practical applications and highlights. In cooperation with the Institute for Plastics Processing (Institut für Kunststoffverarbeitung – IKV) of the Aachen Technical University (RWTH) and AVK, Composites Europe will show the material’s progress from the raw material to the end product, as well as a number of productions processes, from injection moulding to pultrusion in live demonstrations. In a number of experimental settings, the advantages of composites over other materials will be demonstrated in direct comparison. Through examples from the major areas of application, this special area will provide information on the versatility of fibre-reinforced plastics. Presentation Area First hand know-how is what visitors will find at the Presentation Area. In a programme of lectures, exhibitors will report on innovative production processes. Experts will give an overview of the most important trends in the industry, production processes and new areas of application. Workshops held every day will focus on the application areas “Automotive“, “Building & Construction“, “Aerospace“ and “Marine“. NGCC (the Network Group for Composites in Construction), which is administered by NetComposites, will run the Building and Construction workshop. The Presentation Area is located directly in the trade fair hall and accessible free of charge to all visitors to Composites Europe. WPC Pavilion Renewable resources are steadily gaining in importance, also in the field of reinforced plastics. The area of wood plastics composites, in particular, is recording a boom in demand. For the first time, Composites Europe will feature a special WPC Pavilion, which will provide information on WPC applications in the automotive, building and furniture fields. International AVK Conference The opener of Composites Europe will once again be the International Conference of the AVK – Industrievereinigung Verstärkte Kunststoffe e.V. From 5-6 November, some 500 international convention delegates are expected. Altogether 29 speakers will deal with the variety of new composite applications in a large number of sectors such as transport, wind energy, rooftop, aerospace and submarine construction. Processes, testing and materials will also be the subjects of critical analysis. The AVK Conference is Europe’s most comprehensive conference on the subject area of “Reinforced Plastics and Engineering Thermosets “”. During its conference, AVK will also present its Innovation Award 2007, given by the association in recognition of industrial solutions on the basis of composites and engineering thermosets. The award presentation ceremony will be held during “Composites Night””, the networking event for the industry, on 5 November 2007. The award-winning products will subsequently be on display from the first day of the fair at the Product Demonstration Area. In 2007, Composites Europe is a guest in Stuttgart, in the heartland of the booming European high-tech region which is home to the leading application industries. Major industry players from the automotive, mechanical engineering, electrical as well as the aerospace sectors are headquartered in the immediate vicinity. Composites Europe is organized by Reed Exhibitions and the partners EuCIA, the European association for the composites industry as well as the international trade magazine Reinforced Plastics. NetComposites and Aptiform will both be exhibiting at the Composites Europe show, and for the first time NetComposites will be bring its composites bookshop to the show. Join us on booth 434.

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US Demand for Decking to Exceed 3.6 Billion Lineal Feet in 2011

16th September 2007 0 comments

US demand for decking is projected to advance 2.2 percent per year through 2011 to 3.6 billion lineal feet, valued at $5.6 billion. Growth will be similar to the 2001 to 2006 period, despite a weaker new housing outlook. The decking market is relatively stable because more than 85 percent of demand is generated through improvement and repair activity, which is inherently less cyclical than the new construction market. New markets will offer more mixed prospects. Gains in new non-residential construction activity will accelerate, while new residential and non-building construction spending are expected to cool, limiting decking gains. These and other trends are presented in “”Wood & Competitive Decking,”” a new study from The Freedonia Group. The U.S. decking market has seen a shift in product mix in recent years. In 1996, wood decking materials accounted for 95 percent of volume demand, with only minimal use of alternative decking materials such as wood-plastic composites, vinyl and polyethylene. Over the course of the past decade, alternative materials replaced natural wood materials at a rapid pace. In 2006, alternative decking materials in the aggregate accounted for 17 percent of the 3.3 billion lineal feet of decking. Alternative decking materials will continue to lead the decking market in terms of yearly gains through 2011, further eroding the market share of wood materials. Wood-plastic composite decking will provide the strongest growth opportunity, fuelled by its high durability and low maintenance requirements, as well as by product advances that provide a more realistic wood appearance. Plastic decking materials will also show strong growth through 2011. Vinyl, polyethylene and other resin-based products will benefit from many of the same performance characteristics as composites. Through 2011, wood decking is expected to see a slight decline in demand, restrained by growing competition from alternative materials and by ongoing concern over the safety of preservatives used to treat wood. An anticipated weakness in new housing, a key market for wood decking, will also hamper growth. Nevertheless, wood will remain the dominant material used to produce decks in the U.S. going forward and continue to benefit from its good reputation and its aesthetic appeal.

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Bridge Skin Could Reveal Cracks and Corrosion Beneath

16th September 2007 0 comments

A new skin for bridges, buildings and airplanes could be a sixth sense for inspectors looking for cracks and corrosion that could lead to a catastrophic failure like the recent Minneapolis bridge collapse. Researchers at the University of Michigan’s College of Engineering have developed a coating that could be painted or sprayed on structures to sense their stability over time. It would allow inspectors to check for damage without physically examining a structure. Today, inspectors rely heavily on their eyes to find weak points. Bridges are scrutinized every two years and if experts see red flags, they do more tests. Aircraft are routinely examined too, but scheduled check-ups might not catch all potential problems. Fissures or rusting could be happening beneath the surface as well, said Jerome Lynch, assistant professor in the U-M College of Engineering and lead author of a paper on the research. The paper was published online in the journal Nanotechnology. Multifunction carbon nanotube composite sensing skin for structures (Click image for higher resolution) “”Both corrosion and cracking are very serious issues for the more than 500,000 bridges in the United States,”” Lynch said. “”The sensing skin would give bridge officials an unprecedented technology to track the evolution of corrosion and crack damage. It would revolutionize the way current bridge health assessment is conducted, resulting in dramatically safer structures and lower-cost inspection processes. “”This is really an automated technology requiring no human intervention to work,”” he said. The sensing skin that Lynch and his colleagues created is an opaque, black material made of layers of polymers. Networks of carbon nanotubes run through the polymers. Each layer of the sensing skin can measure something different. One tests the pH level of the structure, which changes when corrosion is happening. Another layer registers cracks by actually cracking under the same conditions that the structure would. The perimeter of the carbon nanotube skin is lined with electrodes that are connected to a microprocessor, or tiny computer. To read what’s going on underneath the skin, scientists (or inspectors) send an electric current through the embedded carbon nanotubes. Corrosion and cracking cause changes in the electrical resistance in the nanotube skin. The microprocessor then creates a two-dimensional visual map of that resistance. The map shows inspectors any corrosion or fracturing too small for human eyes to detect. Lynch says the skin could be a permanent veneer over strain- and corrosion-prone hot spots including joints on bridges, buildings, airplanes and even the space shuttle. When it’s time to examine the health of the structure or aircraft, an inspector could push a button and in minutes, the skin would generate an electrical resistance map and wirelessly send it to the inspector. Lynch sees a use for this technology in space. Ever since the Columbia disaster, he explained, an astronaut must conduct a space walk to visually inspect the shuttle for impact damage that might have happened during launch. This new skin would eliminate the need for that. It could detect the location and degree of any impact damage. The novelty of this skin is what Lynch calls “”distributed sensing technology.”” Engineers have used sensors to check for damage on a point-to-point basis before. But they’ve never been able to get such a complete picture of a large area. “”For the first time, this gives us a straightforward way to gain direct insight into the structure of the material,”” Lynch said. Others contributing to this work are: U-M associate professor of chemical engineering Nick Kotov; U-M assistant professor of chemical engineering Nadine Wong Shi Kam, a Michigan Society Fellow in Kotov’s lab; and civil and environmental engineering graduate students Ken Loh and Tsung-Chin Hou. The National Science Foundation funded the research. U-M, through its Office of Technology Transfer, is seeking commercialization partners to help bring this technology to market. The paper, “”Spatial conductivity mapping of carbon nanotube composite thin films by electrical impedance tomography for sensing applications.”” is available online in the journal Nanotechnology.

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