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Composites Industry News

News for 29 January 2008


Brazil Publishes Inspection and Performance Standard for FRP Pipes

29th January 2008 0 comments

Two years and a half after the start of meetings among raw material suppliers, manufacturers, users and representatives of the Brazilian Technical Standards Association (ABNT), new fibreglass reinforced polyester (FRP) pipes standards have been published. Published in November, NBR 15536 sets forth the inspection parameters of FRP pipes and connections used in basic sanitation works – for example, water channelling systems and sewage emissary, amongst other applications. The text, based on international regulations such as AWWA C-950 and ISO 10467 and 10639, also specifies the methods to be used to perform pipe tests. “It refers to a great achievement, especially for the consumer market, which will rely on the piping performance””, said Macel Dal Posso, Quality Manager for Amitech, the largest Brazilian FRP pipe manufacturer. The company operates in Ipeúna, 200 km from São Paulo, is an FRP pipes company which has capacity to produce 120 km/year of pipes of 400 mm to 1,200 mm of diameter. In 2008, this potential will increase over to 300 km/year, with diameters between 300 mm and 3,000 mm. “We have taken part, in an efficient way, in the standard elaboration project, providing the committee with information supplied by our subsidiaries abroad”, he states. Amitech is under the control of two international groups: the Colombian Group Inversiones Mundial and the Saudi Arabian Group Amiantit. In addition to the benefits offered to the basic sanitation agencies, this regulation will be advantageous to the FRP pipes manufacturers themselves. “There will be a levelling upon the quality and everyone must comply with the same requirements””, stated Dal Posso. Again, the pipeline users will be the main supported ones, “they have wished for the standard publication for a long time”, he continued. Together with seven FRP pipes manufacturers, several representatives of water and sewerage agencies, as Sabesp, Copasa and Sanepar, have taken place in the standard text process. Raimunda Maria Pires, Sanepar’s executive, believes that the support given by ABNT to the companies which decide to specify the FRP pipes is the main advantage of such standardization. In certain conditions, such standardization helps to reduce the typical high-volume of water loss in Brazil, believes Raimunda. “As we demand for strict tests, we are ensuring a better-quality product in both manufacturing and operating aspects, that is, during the installation and maintenance”.

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Malaysian Firms Invited to Undertake R&D on Biocomposites

29th January 2008 0 comments

The Malaysian Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities is inviting companies to team up with the Malaysian Timber Industry Board (MTIB) to undertake research and development (R&D) on biocomposites at the board’s centre in Olak Lempit furniture village, Banting. Its Minister Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kui said the RM5 million centre was 90 percent complete since construction commenced early last year. “”Biocomposite has been use widely in the developed countries like Australia, New Zealand and Italy as a construction material and it will benefit Malaysia if such a technology is developed further locally to overcome the shortage of timber in this country,”” he told reporters after visiting the centre here Tuesday. Chin said private companies were welcomed to undertake their R&D with MTIB as well as use the machinery and facilities on rental basis. He said Italy has been successful in producing furniture made of recycled wood (biocomposite) where old wooden furniture was processed and combined with resin to produce new raw material for furniture making. “”Even the product made of recycled wood from Italy were more expensive than the Malaysian furniture which is made of solid wood,”” he said. Chin said the ministry looked forward to the universities and the industries working together with the centre not only to find ways to get biocomposite materials but also the end-products from the material which could be commercialised.

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Carbon Fibre Dart Wins Praise from Aficionados

29th January 2008 0 comments

An international supplier of darts has enhanced the reliability and prolonged the performance lifetime of its products through use of a tough, stiff, carbon fibre-reinforced nylon compound from Chem Polymer.

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TenCate Acquires YLA & CCS Composites from Perstorp

29th January 2008 0 comments

TenCate Advanced Composites USA, a subsidiary of Royal Ten Cate, has agreed buy all the shares of YLA, Inc and CCS Composites, Inc (both of Benicia, CA).

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Launch of the UK National Skills Academy for the Process Industries

29th January 2008 0 comments

Hubs of training excellence for the Polymer Industry, including composites, will form part of the National Skills Academy for the Process Industries, launched by Skills Minister David Lammy at Central Hall in Westminster. It is the fifth National Skills Academy to be launched and joins Construction, Manufacturing, Food and Drink Manufacturing and Financial Services. Following recent approval a sixth National Skills Academy for Nuclear will be launched shortly. Contributing £23bn to the economy and employing 420,000 people, the UK process industries form an essential component of the manufacturing supply chain. They are at the forefront of technological innovation, producing hundreds of essential materials including biofuels, plastics, rubber, pharmaceuticals and chemical additives. With growth in these industries currently constrained by a lack of suitably qualified employees, a need for formalised training schemes and a wide variance in quality of training provision, the new skills academy will make a huge impact on the industry. The National Skills Academy network is a unique structure of employer-led centres of excellence. The network was created by the Learning and Skills Council to address the skills gaps that one in six (16%) UK businesses are experiencing this equates to 1.3 million workers. It is designed to tackle sector specific skills shortages by standardising training across the industry and uniting a team of experts and employers, to share best practice and create world-class learning environments. To date, employers representing 12% of the sector – 50,000 employees – have invested in the National Skills Academy for Process Industries and are in control of how the skills academy develops its products and services to address the development of their workforce. It is anticipated that at least 16,000 learners will undertake training via the skills academy over the next five years. Over 50 employer organisations have pledged financial support totalling over £1million to establish the National Skills Academy for the Process Industries. Employers supporting the National Skills Academy for Process Industries include BASF plc, SembCorp Utilities UK, Invista Performance Technologies, Johnson Matthey, Innospec Specialty Chemicals, Banner Chemicals Ltd, Solutia UK Limited and LINPAC Group. Chris Horton, Director of Linpac and Chair of the National Skills Academy for Process Industries Board, commented on the launch of the skills academy: “I am delighted with the launch of the National Skills Academy which will allow Process Industry to address the skills short fall in areas of their business. It will mean that organisations will be able to identify the gaps and benchmark themselves against ‘The Gold Standard’ to determine where they should be. Support will then be available to these businesses to help close this skills-gap. This is a once in a decade opportunity to increase significantly the skills within the process industry, to help UK competitiveness in this £72 billion industry.” Skills Minister David Lammy said: “I am delighted that Process Industry employers have seized upon the National Skills Academy initiative. This demonstrates a clear commitment on their part to ensuring that skills continue to drive the growth of this important sector.” Chris Banks, Chair, Learning and Skills Council said: “The National Skills Academy network gives employers a direct influence over the training of their current and future workforce, and I am delighted that employers within the Process Industry are – working in partnership – with the LSC, taking collective action to address the skills and training needs of their sector in this way.” “By seeing skills as key to driving growth, these employers are leading the way for their sector and for the country as a whole. The LSC wants more employers to be part of the rapidly growing number of leaders who know that those who invest in training are more likely to attract and retain highly motivated staff, and more likely to succeed and compete in the global economy.“

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Owens Corning Sells Composite Manufacturing Plants in Belgium and Norway

29th January 2008 0 comments

Owens Corning has reached a definitive agreement to sell two composite manufacturing plants to Platinum Equity. The facilities are located in Battice, Belgium, and Birkeland, Norway. Owens Corning previously announced that it planned to sell these composite manufacturing facilities to address regulatory concerns associated with Owens Corning’s acquisition of Saint-Gobain’s Reinforcements and Composite Fabrics businesses on Oct. 31, 2007. The transaction, which is subject to regulatory approval, is expected to close during the first quarter of this year.

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Brazilian Carrier TAM Signs Contract for 22 A350 XWBs

29th January 2008 0 comments

Leading Brazilian carrier TAM Linhas Aéreas has firmed up its order for 22 A350 XWBs and for four additional A330-200s. The airline based in São Paulo has furthermore added another 20 A320 Family aircraft to the initial order. TAM, Airbus’ biggest customer in the southern hemisphere, now has the largest A350 XWB fleet. This agreement raises the number of orders for the A350 XWB to 314 aircraft. With a fleet of 102 Airbus aircraft, including 15 A319s, 70 A320s, three A321s, twelve A330-200s and two A340-500s, TAM operates not only the largest Airbus Fleet in Latin America, but also comprising the most Airbus models of any fleet in the region. “Airbus aircraft help to build on our reputation of excellence through outstanding passenger comfort. The A350 XWB will provide state of the art passenger comfort, while assuring lowest operating costs and low emissions. We add professionalism and know how,” said David Barioni Neto, President of TAM, “The A350XWB will allow us to continue the successful expansion we have already achieved with our A330s and A320s.” “We are very proud to have TAM, one of the most internationally renowned airlines, as the launch customer for our new A350XWB programme in South America”, said John Leahy, Airbus Chief Operating Officer, Customers. “This contract is a confirmation of the trust that TAM puts in our successful partnership. We cannot value this confidence highly enough, and are certain this repeat order will also further boost TAM’s impressive development. ” The A350 XWB (Xtra Wide-Body) Family is Airbus’ response to widespread market demand for a series of highly efficient medium-capacity long-range wide-body aircraft. The A350 has the widest fuselage in its category, offering unprecedented levels of comfort, the lowest operating costs and lowest seat mile cost of any aircraft in this market segment. Powered by two new generation Rolls Royce Trent XWB engines delivering each up to 92,000 lbs of thrust, the A350 XWB Family is designed to confront the challenges of high fuel prices, rising passenger expectations, and environmental concerns.

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Researchers Develop Darkest Manmade Material

29th January 2008 0 comments

Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Rice University have created the darkest material ever made by man, a thin coating comprised of low-density arrays of loosely vertically-aligned carbon nanotubes, The material absorbs more than 99.9 percent of light and one day could be used to boost the effectiveness and efficiency of solar energy conversion, infrared sensors, and other devices. The researchers who developed the material have applied for a Guinness World Record for their efforts. “It is a fascinating technology, and this discovery will allow us to increase the absorption efficiency of light as well as the overall radiation-to-electricity efficiency of solar energy conservation,” said Shawn-Yu Lin, professor of physics at Rensselaer and a member of the university’s Future Chips Constellation, who led the research project. “The key to this discovery was finding how to create a long, extremely porous vertically-aligned carbon nanotube array with certain surface randomness, therefore minimizing reflection and maximizing absorption simultaneously.” The research results were published in the journal Nano Letters. All materials, from paper to water, air, or plastic, reflect some amount of light. Scientists have long envisioned an ideal black material that absorbs all the colors of light while reflecting no light. So far they have been unsuccessful in engineering a material with a total reflectance of zero. The total reflectance of conventional black paint, for example, is between 5 and 10 percent. The darkest manmade material, prior to the discovery by Lin’s group, boasted a total reflectance of 0.16 percent to 0.18 percent. Lin’s team created a coating of low-density, vertically aligned carbon nanotube arrays that are engineered to have an extremely low index of refraction and the appropriate surface randomness, further reducing its reflectivity. The end result was a material with a total reflective index of 0.045 percent — more than three times darker than the previous record, which used a film deposition of nickel-phosphorous alloy. “The loosely-packed forest of carbon nanotubes, which is full of nanoscale gaps and holes to collect and trap light, is what gives this material its unique properties,” Lin said. “Such a nanotube array not only reflects light weakly, but also absorbs light strongly. These combined features make it an ideal candidate for one day realizing a super black object.” “The low-density aligned nanotube sample makes an ideal candidate for creating such a super dark material because it allows one to engineer the optical properties by controlling the dimensions and periodicities of the nanotubes,” said Pulickel Ajayan, the Anderson Professor of Engineering at Rice University in Houston, who worked on the project when he was a member of the Rensselaer faculty. The research team tested the array over a broad range of visible wavelengths of light, and showed that the nanotube array’s total reflectance remains constant. “It’s also interesting to note that the reflectance of our nanotube array is two orders of magnitude lower than that of the glassy carbon, which is remarkable because both samples are made up of the same element — carbon,” said Lin. This discovery could lead to applications in areas such as solar energy conversion, thermalphotovoltaic electricity generation, infrared detection, and astronomical observation. Other researchers contributing to this project and listed authors of the paper include Rensselaer physics graduate student Zu-Po Yang; Rice postdoctoral research associate Lijie Ci; and Rensselaer senior research scientist James Bur. The project was funded by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Basic Energy Sciences and the Focus Center New York for Interconnects. Lin’s research was conducted as part of the Future Chips Constellation at Rensselaer, which focuses on innovations in materials and devices, in solid state and smart lighting, and applications such as sensing, communications, and biotechnology. A new concept in academia, Rensselaer constellations are led by outstanding faculty in fields of strategic importance. Each constellation is focused on a specific research area and comprises a multidisciplinary mix of senior and junior faculty, as well as postdoctoral researchers and graduate students. The new darkest manmade material, with its 0.045 % reflectance (right), is noticeably darker than the 1.4% NIST reflectance standard (left). This photo was taken under a flash light illumination.

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China Airlines Orders up to 20 A350 XWB for their Future Medium Capacity Long-Haul Fleet

29th January 2008 0 comments

China Airlines, Taiwan’s largest carrier, has signed a contract with Airbus for the purchase of 14 A350-900 and taken another six on option. The new generation medium capacity long-haul aircraft is being acquired by China Airlines as part of their future fleet modernisation programme. China Airlines intends to start using the all-new A350 XWB from 2015. The aircraft will be powered by Rolls Royce Trent XWB engines, especially developed for the A350XWB and will be fitted in a comfortable layout of 327 seats. The A350 will primarily be deployed on the airline’s long-haul routes to Europe, Australia and the United States, enabling China Airlines to offer its passengers non-stop service on ultra long routes. Chairman of China Airlines, Ringo K .S. Chao, said the decision to acquire the A350 XWB was taken after a long and thorough evaluation and negotiation process. “We are committed to operate the aircraft with the most modern technology and offering the highest cost efficiency for our future fleet requirements. This will allow us to offer our customers the most attractive product and to meet the ever-rising cost of fuel. The Airbus A350 XWB fully meets our requirements”, he said. “We are extremely pleased with China Airlines’ new vote of confidence in our future generation eco-efficient aircraft”, said John Leahy, Airbus’ Chief Operating Officer-Customers. “The A350 XWB will enable China Airlines to meet the industry challenges of the future and to secure a strong position among the world’s top tier airlines”.

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AGY Adds a New Composite Armour Solution for the European Market

29th January 2008 0 comments

AGY has added an innovative ballistic and blast protection solution called the ThermoBallistic armour system in response to the increased demand for composite armour solutions that are fuelling defence spending and military development programs around the world. Targeted for the European market, the ThermoBallistic armour system laminates combine continuous structural S-2 Glass, E Glass, or aramid fibres to form X-ply sheets or UD tapes that can be subsequently moulded to create end-user ballistic and blast protection solutions such as armoured vehicle spall liners and BAI plates, where the low areal density and thermoformability of the solution will provide significant benefit to users. “A spall liner can reduce the amount and limit the path of the lethal particles that penetrate the vehicle’s hull when the armour is penetrated,” explains Drew Walker, AGY Vice President of Sales and Marketing. “Given the increasing power and lethality of roadside bombs in the Middle East conflicts,” said Walker, “Manufacturers are concentrating their efforts on upgrading the armour on military vehicles, which are a prime target for improvised explosives and roadside bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan. This has led to an urgent demand for materials that provide increased performance and lighter weight.” To meet the urgent need for upgrading military vehicle armour, AGY has increased production capacity of its S-2 Glass fiber reinforcements by fifty percent with the capability of expanding even further in a rapid fashion. “With this significant increase in output, we are confident in our ability to stay ahead of the needs of the market for S-2 Glass reinforcements,” added Walker.

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