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Composites Industry News

News for February 2008


Porta-Bote Introduces Revolutionary Composite Folding Boats

5th February 2008 0 comments

Porta-Bote International has unveiled its new high-performance portable folding boats. The internationally patented Porta-Bote is now available in the Genesis Series of 2.85m, 3.27m, 3.85m and eXxstream Series (4.28m) models with hulls weighing in at 21kg, 26kg, 31kg and 43kg respectively. All Porta-Botes can be opened in just a few minutes, weigh half as much as comparable aluminium boats and store easily with their 11.cm, flat folded size. The tough composite hulls carry a 10 year limited warranty by the manufacturer, who says that they never need painting and are unaffected by saltwater, fuel and even battery acid. As for performance, Porta-Botes leave similar sized aluminium boats and inflatables in their wake only needing half the horsepower of these heavier boats. The hull’s design traps the bow wave and guides it under the boat to dramatically reduce drag while increasing speed and stability.

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Strongrail Low-Maintenance, Fibreglass Architectural Handrail

5th February 2008 0 comments

Strongwell has introduced the company’s newest product line of fibreglass handrail – Strongrail. Strongrail architectural handrail systems are designed to be attractive, strong and very low maintenance compared to wood and metal systems. The handrail has internal moulded connectors that give a smooth finish, with no visible connectors, designed to provide reduced labour and maintenance. The top railing can be square or rounded. The pickets can be square or round and the standard colours are black and white. The handrail system meets IBC 2006 requirements with a 2:1 factor of safety and can be customized to meet ADA requirements. Strongrail architectural handrail is designed for high traffic areas where handrail and property aesthetics is needed, and are particularly well-suited to corrosive environments like those found in commercial structures with urban and salt air corrosion. Typical applications are expected to include hotel/motel stairs and balconies, walkway railings, condominium/apartment complexes, waterpark/theme park railing, perimeter fencing and many others.

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Hexcel Promotes Composites for Skis and Snowboards

5th February 2008 0 comments

Hexcel, who has a long history of supplying prepregs, laminates and polyurethane systems to ski and snowboard manufacturers, exhibited at the recent ISPO winter sports exhibition in Munich. When Hexcel manufactured its own skis back in the 1970’s, they helped pioneer the use of composites in sports equipment. These days Hexcel continues to support the winter sports market by developing new and improved products to provide a better experience to professionals and enthusiasts alike. At ISPO 2008 Hexcel promoted two new products. The company’s Modipur 5-3-0 polyurethane system enables skis and snowboards to be manufactured in under 5 minutes and weighing less than 3 kilos. For the first time Hexcel also promoted Polyspeed Nano-Ski Laminates in which the laminate contains nano particles, designed to improve the flexural properties of the ski. The nano particles provide a measurable effect on the flex and damping behaviour of the ski laminate. Other exhibits on the Hexcel stand at ISPO included ▪ a baseball bat manufactured with Modipur polyurethane, carbon fibre and wood. ▪ The front fork head for a bike, manufactured by Look Cycle using Hexcel’s HexMC carbon fibre/epoxy moulding material. The carbon design saves 30% weight compared to the aluminium equivalent. ▪ The Aero+ Tubeless wheel for a road bike, developed by Corima.

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Composites Seminars and Workshops at Seatec 2008

5th February 2008 0 comments

At Seatec 2008, Assocompositi has organised an intense programme of seminars and workshops on the theme of ‘techniques for the rationalisation of production in the nautical industry’. Seatec 2008, the International Exhibition of technologies and subcontracting for boat and ship builders, is due to be held from 7 to 9 February 2008 in Marina di Carrara. The Association, which represents, protects and promotes the Italian composite materials industry, will run the seminars in an area called ‘Composites Island’. In line with the themes discussed last year – which included the various technologies used for the building of boats in composite materials with technical discussions and practical demonstrations – the theme of the opportunities created by innovation in terms of materials and technology for the nautical industry throughout production – from the raw materials and the production of moulds to the assembly of the finished products – will be dealt with in various stages. Registration for seminars and the complete programme of events are available at the address below, in the section Assocompositi Events 2008.

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New Process Makes Nanofibres in Complex Shapes and Unlimited Lengths

5th February 2008 0 comments

The continuous fabrication of complex, three-dimensional nanoscale structures and the ability to grow individual nanowires of unlimited length are now possible with a process developed by researchers at the University of Illinois. Based on the rapid evaporation of solvent from simple “inks,” the process has been used to fabricate freestanding nanofibres, stacked arrays of nanofibres and continuously wound spools of nanowires. Potential applications include electronic interconnects, biocompatible scaffolds and nanofluidic networks. “The process is like drawing with a fountain pen – the ink comes out and quickly dries or ‘solidifies,’ ” said Min-Feng Yu, a professor of mechanical science and engineering, and an affiliate of the Beckman Institute. “But, unlike drawing with a fountain pen, we can draw objects in three dimensions.” Yu and graduate students Abhijit Suryavanshi and Jie Hu describe the drawing process in a paper accepted for publication in the journal Advanced Materials, and posted on its Web site. To use the new process, the researchers begin with a reservoir of ink connected to a glass micropipette that has an aperture as small as 100 nanometres. The micropipette is brought close to a substrate until a liquid meniscus forms between the two. As the micropipette is then smoothly pulled away, ink is drawn from the reservoir. Within the tiny meniscus, the solute nucleates and precipitates as the solvent quickly evaporates. So far, the scientists have fabricated freestanding nanofibres approximately 25 nanometres in diameter and 20 microns long, and straight nanofibres approximately 100 nanometres in diameter and 16 millimetres long (limited only by the travel range of the device that moves the micropipette). To draw longer nanowires, the researchers developed a precision spinning process that simultaneously draws and winds a nanofibre on a spool that is millimetres in diameter. Using this technique, Yu and his students wound a coil of microfiber. The microfiber was approximately 850 nanometres in diameter and 40 centimetres long. To further demonstrate the versatility of the drawing process, for which the U. of I. has applied for a patent, the researchers drew nanofibres out of sugar, out of potassium hydroxide (a major industrial chemical) and out of densely packed quantum dots. While the nanofibres are currently fabricated from water-based inks, the process is readily extendable to inks made with volatile organic solvents, Yu said. “Our procedure offers an economically viable alternative for the direct-write manufacture of nanofibres made from many materials,” Yu said. “In addition, the process can be used to integrate nanoscale and microscale components.” The Grainger Foundation, the National Science Foundation and the Office of Naval Research provided funding. Part of the work was carried out in the university’s Center for Microanalysis of Materials, which is partially supported by the U.S. Department of Energy.

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V System Composites Signs Contract for Rotorcraft Components

5th February 2008 0 comments

V System Composites (VSC) has signed a contract with the U.S. Army Research, Development & Engineering Command with a $20,000,000 value over the next five years. The first award of approximately $1,600,000 initiates the multi-year program focused on development and rapid implementation of rotorcraft drive system composite structural components. The U.S. Army has identified critical needs for rotorcraft drive system components on helicopter platforms. Reduced weight, lower acquisition and maintenance costs, and enhanced manoeuvrability are all high priorities. VSC believes the best solution for achieving these objectives on a majority of the rotorcraft platforms is to replace heavier metal transmission components with lightweight composites. This program will utilize VSC’s patented HyPerVARTM and patent pending Affordable Feature Integration (AFI) technologies to address the design and manufacturing challenges of this demanding structural application. VSC will also integrate advanced 3-D preform technology from strategic teaming partner Bally Ribbon Mills (BRM). The challenge of developing a systematic validation and certification of 3-D composite materials for these structural applications will be addressed by University of Delaware, Center for Composite Materials – another key experienced team member.

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Reichhold Invests For Growth in India

5th February 2008 0 comments

Reichhold has announced its intention to invest in a Greenfield facility in India, and has started construction at a site located at Ranjangoan, in the Pune District of Maharashtra state. The new facility is scheduled for completion in September 2008 “”The composites market in India is continuously growing and we have received many customer requests for Reichhold technology and service from fabricators in this region,”” said Reichhold CFO Roger Willis, who also serves as Managing Director, Reichhold India Private Limited. “”We are committed to serving this expanding market by providing our customers with quality products at cost-effective prices and sharing our technical expertise in polyester resins for a comprehensive range of applications.”” “”Our entry into India with local manufacturing is another step in implementing our strategy of bringing Reichhold products and technology to our customers on a global basis”” said Doug Frey, Executive VP, Global Composites. “”We have long served India by importing from other regions but we now see the demand from global customers who are expanding to India as well as local fabricators reaching the point where this investment is a logical step forward””, continued Frey.

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Fibertex Introduces Compoflex Surface Fabrics in the USA

5th February 2008 0 comments

Fibertex has introduced its Compoflex surface fabrics in the USA, a surface fabric product that offers easy release from the laminate without the use of any coatings on the product. “Compoflex has found good use in the wind turbine, racing and boat building industries in Europe, and we are confident that its unique advantages will also find applications in the USA”, says Product Manager Morten Sorensen from Fibertex. Fibertex says that the product releases more than 5 times easier compared to conventional peel ply even after the FRP part is fully hardened. “Compoflex is produced without application of any coatings or additives to the surface, and therefore the surface of the product and also the resulting FRP parts are 100% clean”, says Morten Sorensen and continues: “We have seen massive time savings with regard to peeling times, and the fact that Compoflex replaces the peel ply, release film and breather when vacuum bagging, offers significant time handling savings”. “We see a very good potential for this new product in the USA, and are confident that it finds good use at many FRP production sites regardless of the process they are using”, says Raymond Miller, Northern Fiberglass sales and continues: “The peeling properties this product offers are incredible, and it just makes the whole FRP production process so much easier”.

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Composite Technology's DeWind Receives Order for 40 Turbines

5th February 2008 0 comments

Composite Technology Corporation’s subsidiary, DeWind, has received an order from S&M CZ for 40 DeWind turbines for 61,440,000 Euros (approximately $90 million). The agreement consists of 40 DeWind 2.0 megawatt D8 turbines for installation at multiple sites in the Czech Republic. The D8 turbines will be assembled at the TECO Westinghouse facility in Round Rock, Texas. The delivery schedule requires 10 turbines to be shipped in the fourth quarter of 2008 and 30 turbines delivered throughout 2009. Benton Wilcoxon, CEO of CTC, stated, “”We are pleased to continue our history of selling high performance turbines to the European market. With our manufacturing capability and established supply chain, DeWind is poised to move forward in several geographic markets.””

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HJ3’s Carbon Fibre in ‘Hurricane Proof House’

5th February 2008 0 comments

Smash Lab’s team of maverick engineers have taken on a Tucson company’s new technology, wrapping a mobile home in carbon fibre and then trying to rip it apart.

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