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Composites Industry News

News for July 2008


NIAR Composites Lab Expands Capabilities

2nd July 2008 0 comments

The layup room in the National Institute for Aviation Research’s Composites and Advanced Materials Lab is expanding its range of operations. The layup room has existed for several years, and has recently experienced several modernizations and capability and procedure updates under the management of Allison Crockett, NIAR research engineer and program manager. The layup room’s current workload is made up of about 30 percent from the aviation/composite manufacturing industry and 70 percent from government entities like the FAA and the NIAR-Industry-State (N-I-S) research program. “That is quickly flipping, because we’re getting more and more companies wanting us to fabricate their qualification or equivalency panels, as they’re having a hard time getting people to do it in a timely manner,” Crockett said. “Every month we’re getting another industry request, it seems.” Crockett credits that growth in part to several industry courses on composite materials that NIAR and Wichita State University’s College of Engineering have offered over the past four years. To augment lectures on a variety of topics related to composites manufacturing and testing, the classes have always included hands-on training in the layup room—and that’s the first time a lot of the industry professionals in the class even realized the room existed, Crockett said. What they’ve discovered upon arrival is a “clean room” with a large walk-in freezer, the most current bagging materials available, a controlled environment, and vacuum lines throughout the room, to optimize space and time. The lab has two large lamination tables for performing hand layup of resin-impregnated fiber forms (prepreg). In large part, the wet layup process at NIAR is used to perform repairs on panels being tested in FAA programs like “Effect of Repair Procedures Applied to Composite Airframe Structures” and “Aging of Composite Aircraft Structures” or N-I-S programs such as “Repair of Composite Structures” and “Composite Bearing Allowables Baseline.” By client request, NIAR’s layup room has also performed resin transfer molding (RTM) and filament winding. Crockett hopes to be able to perform more of these types of manufacturing processes as well as more of their “specialties” when the Composites Lab gets space at the new National Center for Aviation Training at Wichita’s Jabara Airport. The training center is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2010. “The plan is to move the entire layup room out to Jabara, where we will to have more than 5,000 square feet of layup space, two large ovens, two large autoclaves, a Gerber cutter, a big walk-in freezer and an even more controlled environment with more air filtration,” Crockett said. “We’ll have the capability of laying up three times the number of panels and offering a lot more courses.”

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SIR Make Capacity Increase to Service Middle East Composites Sector

2nd July 2008 0 comments

Saudi Industrial Resins Limited has commissioned a significant capacity increase at its Jeddah factory, to strengthen their position in the MENA region. The company is a joint venture between Ashland Inc and private Saudi Arabia shareholders. In addition to its locally-produced Siropol and Hetron ranges, manufactured under license from Ashland, SIR distributes composites auxiliaries – including glassfibre, catalysts, and accelerators. The company also distributes Ashland’s Derakane range. With manufacturing operations in Jeddah and in Jubail, SIR has already started its next round of expansions. SIR has received significant additional capital from its shareholders, which funds the projects underway. The company’s expansion projects in other significant regional markets, and into additional product ranges, are progressing rapidly. Strong infrastructure development throughout the region has placed GCC polyester manufacturers under pressure for further availability, and these supply deficits have been magnified by recent global shortages of some key raw materials.

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Quatro Composites Supports Insitu In Manufacturing Next Generation Aircraft Structures

2nd July 2008 0 comments

Quatro Composites has become a technology partner in manufacturing Insitu’s next generation autonomous unmanned aircraft systems (UAS). “The Technical Development Center, located in Poway, CA, provided valuable input to Insitu’s engineering team, working with them to design their parts for composite fabrication on the next generation UAS due to release in second quarter of 2009,” said Karash Turpin, Vice President of Quatro’s Engineering Operations. “Insitu was able to take advantage of our specially designed and fabricated assembly and alignment tools, as well as our extensive experience and proprietary out-of autoclave manufacturing processes.” In May, Quatro, was awarded ISO 9001:2000 and AS9100:2004 Certification of Registration. The certification signifies both of its facilities, located in Orange City, IA and Poway, CA, comply with all standards of the AS9100 quality management system. “”Receiving the AS9100 certification clearly demonstrates Quatro’s commitment to both commercial aerospace and non-aerospace customers since the standard focuses on critical areas important to all industries such as supply chain management and process control,” says Steve Roesner, President of Quatro. “We have a company commitment to continuously improve all business functions while providing innovative, technical products and responsive customer service to the composite industry.”

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Launch of High Modulus-Engineered Sloop

2nd July 2008 0 comments

Last month saw the launch of Bristolian, the 120ft Briand-designed lightweight, low profile sloop for which High Modulus supplied the composite structural engineering design and reinforcement materials.

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Huntsman Distributor Partnership with Antala

2nd July 2008 0 comments

To support their material range in Spain and Portugal Huntsman Advanced Materials has now appointed Antala SL as a main distributor of Araldite 2000 PLUS adhesives in this region. Antala SL has been established for over a decade and specialises in the automotive, transport, electrical and renewable energy markets. Commenting on the partnership Gabriel De La Torriente, (Sales engineer for Spain & Portugal), said: “Antala SL has a long and successful track record in the distribution of specialty chemicals, including chemical products, engineering plastics and special tools and it was because of this expertise that Huntsman Advanced Materials has chosen to work with Antala SL.” “We are able to provide technical support and excellent customer service, supplying key brands such as the Araldite 2000 PLUS range”, said Antonio Argudo, Managing Director, Antala SL. “Our strategy has always been very simple: we combine quality brands with a good technical team, ensure stock controls are maintained and provide excellent customer service. We are delighted to now be working in partnership with Huntsman and the Araldite range”.

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Hardwire ArmorStone Secures Chicago's Water Supply

2nd July 2008 0 comments

To keep their water supply secure, the Chicago Department of Water Management invested to improve the infrastructure of the Jardine plant, concentrating on providing security protection for critical components. Teng & Associates, a design and engineering firm, was chosen to design various elements of the project, including security improvements. According to Teng Senior Associate, John R. Hillman, who was Project Manager for the project, they needed to harden the target or create deterrents to further protect certain critical components of the facility. “”At one point, we were looking at ways to just create a façade to disguise these portions of the facility,”” said Hillman. “”We were considering the installation of some sort of barrier that included a ‘veil’ to disguise the presence of certain features at the plant.”” It was at this point that Hillman realized “”Hardwire ArmorStone”” — a patent-pending granite-faced composite panel developed by Hardwire, LLC and Cold Spring Granite Company that provides high levels of both ballistic and blast protection — would be a perfect solution for the water plant. “”With Hardwire ArmorStone, we were able to provide more than just a façade to disguise certain features of the plant,”” commented Hillman. “”We were able to supply a ballistic armour that provided greater protection, further hardened the target and was aesthetically pleasing. Hardwire ArmorStone gave us disguise and security features in a single solution.”” Randy Huber, Senior Product Manager for Hardwire ArmorStone at Cold Spring Granite, explained why providing security for public structures is a very sensitive issue in today’s world. “”What you don’t want is people having to work in a structure or building that has a ‘bunker-feeling’ to it,”” said Huber. “”People don’t want to be reminded on a daily basis that they live in a world full of threats.”” “”This is just one example of the innovative work done by Hardwire and its partners to create leading-edge armour solutions to meet the emerging needs of our customers and our country,”” stated Hardwire CEO George Tunis, “”including vehicle armour kits for the military’s Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, armour for critical domestic transportation infrastructure, facility overhead protection for the U.S. military overseas, and the development of a new standard in base vehicle armor that surpasses critical performance requirements. Chicago is a great and important city, and we’re pleased to be able to provide this important protection.”” According to Dan Rea, Senior Vice President, Commercial Group of Cold Spring Granite, Hardwire ArmorStone provides inconspicuous protection at an economical price. “”You don’t have to build a fortress to protect a building or structure,”” Rea noted. “”You end up with a granite façade just like any other granite-façade building, but with the added feature of ballistic and blast protection. Simply, with Hardwire ArmorStone, design does not have to be sacrificed for the sake of security.”” “”The key differentiator of this solution is the fact that designers and owners can quantify the threat, and we can qualify a solution that has been tested extensively and can be engineered to meet a range of threat levels,”” said Rea. ”For the Jardine application, Hardwire ArmorStone proved to be the ideal application. “”By using Hardwire ArmorStone, we were able to create what appears to be a purely aesthetic improvement to the plant, while at the same time reinforcing the façade with a ballistic armour that no one is even aware exists,”” said Hillman. Other options for the water plant, such as pouring 2-feet of concrete to protect the structure, were not feasible due to weight restrictions and the limited amount of space available on the worksite. “”The Hardwire ArmorStone panels were hung on the existing building and on the existing fence,”” said Huber. “”There was a 2-foot catwalk between the building and the fence, so the panels were a perfect fit for this application.”” “”This project represents one of many utility and infrastructure protection programs completed by Hardwire and Cold Spring Granite over the last two years and underway currently,”” reported John Hammond, Hardwire Vice President for Business Development. “”We’re very excited about this new category-leading product that combines both a very high level of protection with economy, and frankly, style. Affordable, beautiful, and robust is what we and Cold Spring set out to achieve.”” The Jardine plant, situated on a piece of land off the shore of Chicago, juts out into Lake Michigan. Installation posed no problems, as large cranes were used to drop the panels in place on the plant. “”This proved to be an extremely cost-effective solution,”” Hillman commented. “”In many ways, this was a very simple application of the technology. It was quite easy to integrate Hardwire ArmorStone into the existing structure. It was no more difficult than putting up a granite curtain wall.””

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Airbus Awards Multi-Million Dollar Contract to Flow International Corporation

2nd July 2008 0 comments

Airbus has awarded Flow all of its multi-million dollar contract to manufacture and install multiple Composite Machining Center (CMC) abrasive waterjet and routing machine tool systems. These machines will be built and installed over the next 18 to 24 months for use in manufacturing the new Airbus A350 XWB (Xtra Wide-Body) aircraft. Airbus will use Flow’s CMC waterjet systems throughout all its plants across Europe to cut and trim the wings, fuselage, wing spars, keel beam, and other parts on the A350 XWB, which is Airbus’ response to market demand for a medium capacity long range wide-body family. “”Waterjets have become the standard for meeting the aerospace industry’s production requirements, and Flow is uniquely positioned to serve this segment through our deep experience and innovative technology,”” said Charley Brown, president and CEO, Flow International. “”We are pleased Airbus selected Flow as the only provider of waterjet Composite Machining Centers and that our technology was chosen over other traditional and non-traditional machining processes for use on the A350 XWB. Engineering and manufacturing for these products will take place in our recently announced Advanced Systems Technology and Manufacturing Center which is an expansion of our Jeffersonville, Indiana facility.”

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Compotec Makes its Debut

2nd July 2008 0 comments

Compotec, a professional fair dedicated to the production, technologies and research of composite materials, will take place for the first time in Italy, from 29th to 31st October 2008, in Marina di Carrara. Compotec is aimed at producers, distributors, engineers, technicians and researchers of the composites sector and was thought up with a double objective, to become a reference point for the Italian Composite Industry and an important means of communication for the industry as well as for Universities and Research Centres. Apart from the exhibiting space intended for producers of raw materials, machinery for finished products, studies of design and engineering, software, associations and Specialised Press, Compotec also has in programme in its agenda; technical broadening, conferences and contests. In the area in front of the main pavilion, exhibitors can equip a second space, designated for the demonstration of working processes, taking advantage of the specialised technical staff of the sector. This is a novelty for a B2B fair, which CarraraFiere proposes for Compotec, well aware of an ever changing market. In programme is the 9th edition of the International Conference on Composite Materials “Advancing with Composites 2008”, organised by Amme-Asmeccanica, Composite Materials Centre, CarraraFiere and the University Federico II of Naples. Chairman of the event is Prof. Ignazio Crivelli Visconti, Professor at the Composite Technologies, School of Industrial Design of the University Federico II of Naples. Marino Quaresimin, associate Professor at the Machinery Construction, faculty of Engineering, University of Padova, will hold two seminars dedicated to “Composites and polymeric matrix Nanocomposites: new materials for structural application” and “ Glued joints in composite materials: behaviour upon fatigue and methods of structural analysis”. The composite materials used in civil construction, structural reinforcement and constructions in FRP (Fibre Reinforced Polymers) will be the theme of the AICO Convention (Italian Composites Association), organised by Professor Angelo di Tommaso, IUAV University of Venice. The convention will be divided in two sessions, the first dedicated to “Structures all in composites”, the second will be on “Reinforcements and framework using composite materials”. Furthermore SAMPE Italy (Society for the Advancement of Material and process Engineering) will organise within Compotec the yearly meeting of all its associates, on the 31st October 2008. Amongst the awards assigned during the exhibition is Compotec Award, sponsored by CarraraFiere and addressed to companies who invest in research, innovation and technology. The contest “Innovative projects of goods produced in composite materials”, aimed at University students and recent University graduates of Italian Faculties in Architecture and Engineering , has been established by Dassault Systèmes.

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Sensor Film Technology Reduces Warped and Rejected Composite Parts

2nd July 2008 0 comments

Sensor Products has developed Pressurex, a thin sensor film that carefully maps and measures the amount of interfacial stress exerted on honeycomb cores, composite lay-ups and bonded surfaces within composite structures. Pressurex is designed to show how surface stresses are distributed, so that an engineer can observe inconsistencies and misregistration in composite parts and thereby greatly reduce the yield defect rate. Sensor Products say that other applications for Pressurex include determination of press planarity in lamination processes, monitoring of vacuum bagging pressures, confirmation of pressure uniformity on wound filaments parts, and calibration of tools and equipment. Pressurex comes in the form of a thin plastic sheet or roll that can be cut to required dimensions. When placed between contacting or mating surfaces, the film instantaneously and permanently changes colour. This colour change is a direct result of the amount of pressure applied. Comparison of colour variations to a colour correlation chart (conceptually similar to interpreting Litmus paper) can help determine precise pressure magnitude. Pressurex can detect pressures from 2 to 43,200 PSI (.14 to 3,037 kg/cm2). Depending on the requirements of the project, Additional evaluation and analysis can be performed with an optical analysis system (Topaq) available from Sensor Products Inc. In the aerospace industry, Pressurex has been used to determine the exact amount of pressure causing cracks in the inner spars of a helicopter’s main rotor blade. A large sheet of Pressurex was inserted into the bonding tool, bagged up, and pressurized in the autoclave. When the film was removed, the exact amount of pressure causing the crack was determined.

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Airbus Transports First Aircraft Segments to Assembly Line in China

2nd July 2008 0 comments

Airbus has started transporting the first aircraft segments, including the composite tailplane, to the new single-aisle assembly line in Tianjin, China. The assembly process of the first aircraft, which is for Sichuan Airlines, will start in August 2008. Delivery of the aircraft is scheduled for the first half of 2009. Six jigs loaded with parts for an A320, coming from the Airbus production sites in Europe, departed from Hamburg on a barge. It carries the forward and rear fuselage section, a pair of wings, the horizontal and vertical tailplane and engine pylons. The barge will transport these segments to the nearby container terminal at Hamburg harbour, where they will then be transferred onto a commercial container ship bound for Tianjin. The overall transportation to China will last less than one month. “The transportation of these aircraft sub-assemblies marks another important milestone for our assembly line in China. The construction work on the site is progressing successfully and the training of the Chinese workers at our production facilities in Toulouse and Hamburg is going very well”, said Alain Flourens, Airbus Executive Vice President A320 Programme. The final assembly line in China is an important milestone on Airbus’ way to become a global company. It enables Airbus to increase its flexibility in the A320-family production by simultaneously ramping-up the production rate to 40 by 2010. The Chinese final assembly line will mainly produce aircraft for the Chinese market, where Airbus expects the passenger traffic to grow fivefold in the next 20 years, causing a demand of a total of 2,670 new passenger aircraft. The final assembly line in China is a joint venture between Airbus (51 per cent) and the Chinese industry Consortium (49 per cent). The latter comprises the Tianjin Free Trade Zone (TJFTZ) holding a 60 per cent interest, China Aviation Industry Corporation I (AVIC I) holding 20 per cent, and China Aviation Industry Corporation II (AVIC II) holding 20 per cent of the consortium’s 49 per cent overall share.

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