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Composites Industry News

News for August 2008


Joint Venture for Glass Fibre Established in Russia

3rd August 2008 0 comments

July 4 witnessed the foundation stone of a factory for the production of glass fibre and glass fibre based products in Alabuga, Republic of Tatarstan.

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The Lotus Evora Is Here

3rd August 2008 0 comments

The first all-new Lotus since the iconic Elise made its debut in 1995, the Evora enters the sports car market as currently the world’s only mid-engined 2+2. The Lotus Evora employs a composite roof as a stressed structural member to give an exceptional vehicle stiffness of 26,000 Nm per degree, thanks in part to the seatbelt anchorage frame’s secondary function as a roll over structure, and partly because the high-tech composite body panels are stressed items. However, despite this high stiffness, the complete chassis and modules weight just 200 kg (prototype weight), helping to keep the weight of the whole car to just 1350 kg (prototype weight). The Evora’s structure progresses the Lotus ‘bonded and riveted’ technology used in the Elise family of vehicles with unique extrusions and folded panels, whilst providing build modularity and improved, lower cost repairs. The strength and stiffness of the low volume VVA chassis can be modified cost effectively by varying the wall thickness of the extrusions, without altering the exterior dimensions. The ability to lengthen or shorten extrusions with the option to tailor the chassis stiffness, increases the number of vehicles that can be developed from this vehicle architecture. Front and mid engine installations have been considered, as well as hybrid and Electric Vehicle (EV) applications. The high technology Lotus Evora chassis will be manufactured at the new Lotus Lightweight Structures facility in Worcester, UK. LLS employs 120 engineers, technicians and sales staff and will manufacture all the Lotus aluminium structures, including those for the Elise, Exige, 2–Eleven and Europa and aluminium and composite structures and components for Lotus’s extensive global client base. At the time of its unveiling, full performance figures have yet to be compiled on a production specification Lotus Evora, Lotus has another 6 months development to conduct. While for Lotus top speed is of less importance than stability at speed, early indications suggest a maximum speed of 160 mph; the 0-60 mph sprint from standstill is estimated at sub 5 seconds (prototype figures).

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QuickSkin from ZYVAX

3rd August 2008 0 comments

QuickSkin has been developed to support the demands for fast turn-around in moulding tools from building masters to producing short run parts using machinable tooling block, polyurethane foams and other porous machinable substrates. QuickSkin cures at room temperature in minutes, which give the ability to produce one off or short run parts and expedites the creation of masters for moulds or parts. Zyvax say that QuickSkin can seal machineable tooling block, polyurethane foams of any density as well as other porous substrates, and that QuickSkin can be used as a topcoat to provide a uniform pinhole free surface to protect against atmospheric exposure

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TP Panel Recommends Cancer Listing for Styrene

3rd August 2008 0 comments

The US National Toxicology Program voted on July 22 to recommend that styrene be listed as “”reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen”” in its 12th Report on Carcinogens (RoC). ACMA, the American Composites Manufacturing Association, has said that composites business will be affected if styrene is listed in the RoC, with businesses possibly experiencing tort action by employees and plant neighbours, difficulty obtaining affordable liability insurance and communications challenges with workers and community members. More information can be found in the link below.

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ACG Presents Award for Formula Student ‘Best use of Composites’

3rd August 2008 0 comments

Advanced Composites Group’s (ACG’s) Technical Support Manager, Jon Kennerley, and ACE’s Engineering Manager, Liam Moloney, have judged entrants for the ‘Best use of Composites’ category award, just one of thirty category awards being presented at the 2008 Formula Student event. Over 110 teams from across the globe entered this years’ Formula Student event at Silverstone. The aim of the event is to ‘provide opportunities for students to develop and demonstrate their skills, enthusiasm, ingenuity and commitment to engineering excellence’. This real-life exercise, which includes design, manufacture, marketing and people skills, gives a realistic insight into future career aspects of commitment, team-working and tight timescales. Students’ skills and talents are tested to the limit during their build, testing and race programmes, where many experience insomnia, frustration and technical challenges. The 2008 event is the sixth time that ACG has sponsored the ‘Best use of Composites’ category award at this prestigious annual event. Having signed a three-year agreement with Formula Student in 2007, ACG will be providing support and encouragement to teams utilising advanced composite materials in their effort to become the ‘best in category’ and, hopefully, the overall winner of the Formula Student series. After careful deliberation, our venerated judges chose the team from Universität Bayreuth, Germany (car 44) as the winner of the Group’s ‘Best use of Composites’ Award. The team’s dedication to making best use of advanced composites materials for the purpose of weight reduction, strength and safety were met in full, and were expertly applied by those who can be referred to as tomorrow’s professionals. Team Universität Bayreuth used advanced composite materials for a raft of components on their car, ‘FR8 Chromo’. All major structural components on the vehicle, such as the chassis, wishbones and rims, were manufactured using autoclave cured carbon fibre reinforced prepregs (CFRP). Covers, side pods and the seat pan, which are non-structural parts, where CFRP manufactured, partly wet lay-up, while housings, steering wheel, intake plenum/manifold, fuel tank, oil pan, cylinder head cover, cooling air duct and the brake ducts were manufactured by rapid prototyping of a polyamide/glass composite blend.

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Formtech Acquires Super Aguri F1 Composites Assets in UK

3rd August 2008 0 comments

Formtech GmbH, the German tool design and construction company manufacturing high-precision parts for the automotive and Formula One industry, has purchased the fixed assets on sale from the liquidators of Super Aguri F1 Ltd. Formtech plans to expand into the composite manufacturer and supplier market, and will use the dormant F1 facilities at the Leafield Technical Centre, Oxfordshire, to open its first UK operation. Formtech is convinced that with the company being located in the heart of ‘motorsport valley’ Formtech will be able to forge business relationships within all areas of motorsport, including the provision of composite parts to Formula One teams. Franz Hilmer, Managing Director, Formtech GmbH “Formtech is pleased to be able to take advantage of this unique business opportunity. With our plans of company growth and manufacturing expansion, the location at the Leafield Technical Centre enables us to establish a presence in an important geographical area for motorsport engineering. We shall be employing a number of ex-Super Aguri staff who are experienced in the field of composite design and manufacturing and make full use of the sites spacious facilities and up-to-date machinery. A further goal of Formtech is to attract suitable individuals and companies with aspirations of running their own motorsport team to purchase the F1 race equipment from formtech. We would like to use this opportunity to thank Dr. Tritschler, Tritschler Corporate Finance Consult, Bad Soden, Germany, for the professional accomplishment of this transaction”

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Hexcel to set up Prepreg Production for Wind Energy in Colorado, USA

3rd August 2008 0 comments

Hexcel will be setting up a new glass prepreg plant in Colorado to support the emerging North American wind turbine blade industry. The new plant will begin production in the second half of 2009. Commenting on the decision, Hexcel Chairman and CEO Dave Berges said: “With renewable energy targets now set in 30 states, the U.S. is expected to continue to be a strong growth market for wind turbines and we are pleased to see our customers investing in the region.”” Hexcel is already expanding its wind energy prepreg operations to meet growing worldwide demand and will open a new facility in Tianjin, China later this year.

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New Rapidscan 3D System from Sonatest

3rd August 2008 0 comments

Sonatest NDTS has introduced the Rapidscan 3D which has the capability to scan structures in 3-Dimensions using a co-ordinated measuring arm. Sonatest say that large area coverage is possible due to the combination of the high resolution ultrasonic arrays used within their Wheelprobe, Workflows software and the measuring arm. The system is ergonomically designed to follow complex 3D shapes, which greatly reduces inspection time, and results are presented in the form of 3D images of the inspected part. The Rapidscan 3D comes with complete suite of software tools, supplied as standard, enabling the storage of test measurements taken in situ. Post-processing and results analysis can be performed off-line or even off-site. Powerful analysis functions allow defects to be detected, sized and reported. The Rapidscan software wizard allows the operator to quickly choose a specific part from a library stored on the instrument. These parts are supplied from a mixture of images based on specific 3D CAD models and parts generated from pre-defined stock objects. The wizard then presents compatible inspection tools for different regions of the test part. The library can be developed for many specific testing applications and environments, providing a selection of different measuring solutions.

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Gel Coat Troubleshooting Guide Now Available

3rd August 2008 0 comments

Interplastic Corporation has made a new gel coat troubleshooting guide available to the composites industry. The guide is designed to provide users a quick, easy-to-read reference that describes common gel coat problems and their solutions. A complete glossary defines typically used terms and provides additional information to help identify the various gel coat problems. The guide is a 36 x 24-inch poster that has English on one side and Spanish on the other. It is laminated for durability and has two grommets for easy hanging. “This is a useful tool for customers to quickly resolve any gel coat issues that may arise,” commented Jim Luke, Business Manager – Gel Coats and Colorants. “We think this information will help manufacturers achieve consistent results and the fact its bi-lingual is a valuable benefit.”

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Boost to Queensland Helicopter and Composites Industries

3rd August 2008 0 comments

Queensland’s fibre composites and helicopter manufacturing industries will be given a boost with the launch of a new research program by the Cooperative Research Centre for Advanced Composite Structures Ltd (CRC-ACS).

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