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Composites Industry News

News for October 2008


Schiebel Chooses ACG Materials for Its Camcopter UAV

6th October 2008 0 comments

Advanced Composites has been selected by Schiebel as one of its preferred suppliers of material for its Camcopter S- 100 Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV). In particular, ACG’s MMT49 and LTM212 prepregs were selected for the manufacture of the UAV’s carbon-fibre monocoque fuselage and tooling. Camcopter S-100 is a highly versatile autonomous UAV system developed to provide a balance between advanced capabilities and operation in tactical environments. The system consists of a compact helicopter aerial vehicle that can be fitted with a wide variety of payloads tailored to meet diverse user requirements. The aircraft, which measures 3110mm (122in) long x 1040mm (41in) high x 1240mm (49in) wide, with a rotor diameter of 3400mm (133.9in), is capable of carrying a 25 kg (55 lbs) payload for up to six hours. The UAV is powered by an aviation-certified rotary engine. The S-100 is also being developed for maritime applications, where it is capable of landing on helicopter deck-equipped ships without the use of additional landing equipment.

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New SMC-BMC Plant for China’s Automotive Sector

6th October 2008 0 comments

The new Menzolit compounding plant, which opened on September 16, 2008 in Shanghai, will be dedicated to production of materials for Chinese and other Asian markets.

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Composites One Output Multiple Parts Under the Same Roof at IBEX 2008

6th October 2008 0 comments

Boat manufacturers attending IBEX 2008 will be able to experience the benefits of three different closed mould processes through outdoor demonstrations presented by Composites One. Featuring Magnum Venus Plastech (MVP) injection equipment, the live work cells will run from 10 AM to 4 PM, October 6-8, in the outdoor demo zone at the Miami Beach Convention Center. This is the fourth consecutive year that Composites One has presented live demonstrations of closed mould processes, each building upon the previous year’s success. “At those demonstrations, we’ve shown how closed mould processes can be used to build 16-foot sailboats and other large-scale parts, as well as output multiple parts in high volume runs,” said Composites One Vice President of Marketing Greg Shymske. “Now we’re going one step further by simulating a working closed mould shop with Light RTM, CCBM and VIP work cells operating side-by-side, so manufacturers can determine which process is best for their operation.” In addition to the work cells there will be live demonstrations at 1 PM each afternoon showing resin as it flows in real-time through laminates and core products in a specially-made, cross-sectioned boat hull. “Manufacturers will be able to see how resin is evenly distributed throughout the mould, resulting in parts that are more consistent and have better surface cosmetics than those made through traditional open mould processes,” said Shymske. “They will also see cost comparisons between closed mould and traditional open mould processes, along with testimonials and data sheet hand-outs.” Live video feeds of the demonstrations will also be available at select locations inside the IBEX show hall including Composites One Booth #2029.

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Composites One Output Multiple Parts Under the Same Roof at IBEX 2008 (1)

6th October 2008 0 comments

Boat manufacturers attending IBEX 2008 will be able to experience the benefits of three different closed mould processes through outdoor demonstrations presented by Composites One. Featuring Magnum Venus Plastech (MVP) injection equipment, the live work cells will run from 10 AM to 4 PM, October 6-8, in the outdoor demo zone at the Miami Beach Convention Center. This is the fourth consecutive year that Composites One has presented live demonstrations of closed mould processes, each building upon the previous year’s success. “At those demonstrations, we’ve shown how closed mould processes can be used to build 16-foot sailboats and other large-scale parts, as well as output multiple parts in high volume runs,” said Composites One Vice President of Marketing Greg Shymske. “Now we’re going one step further by simulating a working closed mould shop with Light RTM, CCBM and VIP work cells operating side-by-side, so manufacturers can determine which process is best for their operation.” In addition to the work cells there will be live demonstrations at 1 PM each afternoon showing resin as it flows in real-time through laminates and core products in a specially-made, cross-sectioned boat hull. “Manufacturers will be able to see how resin is evenly distributed throughout the mould, resulting in parts that are more consistent and have better surface cosmetics than those made through traditional open mould processes,” said Shymske. “They will also see cost comparisons between closed mould and traditional open mould processes, along with testimonials and data sheet hand-outs.” Live video feeds of the demonstrations will also be available at select locations inside the IBEX show hall including Composites One Booth #2029.

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Delaware CCM Collaborates to Test Novel NDT Tool

6th October 2008 0 comments

The University of Delaware Center for Composite Materials’ Industrial Consortium member A2 Technologies has developed an innovative handheld device that allows on-site non-destructive testing of aircraft components. Known as the Exoscan, the analyzer is based on a common characterization technology, Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR), which has traditionally been carried out in a lab. However, Exoscan is portable, thus enabling aircraft and other large metal or composite parts to be examined in place, without destructive removal of small-scale samples. The system tracks changes in the resin properties and/or contamination on the surface, allowing evaluation of damage due to environmental effects. “The use of carbon composite materials has grown significantly in recent years,” says CCM Assistant Director Dirk Heider. “In particular, new aerospace designs that incorporate lightweight composites, such as the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, benefit from lower total structural weight and the potential for reduced maintenance requirements.” “However,” he continues, “existing nondestructive testing tools have limited capability to assess the chemical affect of environmental stresses on the composite. Environmental effects on composite properties, including exposure to UV or high temperature during lightning strike and contact with hydraulic and deicing fluids, are difficult to evaluate, but knowledge about such effects is critical to the use of these materials for aerospace applications.” To test the effectiveness of the Exoscan, A2 Technologies turned to CCM for help. “Specifically, we wanted to know whether the handheld FTIR could detect changes in the molecular structure of the composite induced by increasing exposure temperatures,” says Alan Rein, Vice President for Business Development at A2. “We then wanted to correlate the spectral changes to the mechanical strength reduction of the composite.” In tests carried out at CCM on autoclave specimens fabricated using Cytec 977–3 toughened epoxy, correlation of actual to predicted values was very high and consistently within the standard deviation of the actual mechanical test data. “The results show that the handheld FTIR can be used to accurately predict the reduction in strength of an epoxy carbon composite due to high-temperature exposure,” Heider says. The company and the Center will continue to collaborate under a program funded by the Federal Aviation Administration over the next three years in an effort to better understand degradation mechanisms, correlations to FTIR measurements, and the effect of surface preparation on the measurement method. “Our goal is to develop a robust NDE technique to evaluate damage to composites and then to provide a tool to enable effective repair of the damage,” Rein says. “Other applications of the handheld equipment, such as assessment of surface cleaning methods used prior to adhesive bonding and evaluation of prepreg material for recertification, are also being considered.”

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GKN Acquires Airbus Filton Wing Component Operation

6th October 2008 0 comments

GKN has agreed to acquire the wing component manufacturing and assemblies operation located on the Airbus Filton site in the UK. Airbus has also awarded GKN life of programme contracts on all existing Airbus programmes for the Filton operation. GKN has also signed contracts for significant work packages to design and produce large scale composite structures for the wing of the new A350 XWB (Extra Wide Body) long haul airliner. In 2009, the first full year under GKN’s ownership, it is expected that the Filton operation will have revenues of approximately £375 million and will be both earnings accretive and cash generative. The combination of the acquisition of the Filton wing component manufacturing and assemblies operation and the A350 work packages delivers considerable benefits. GKN Chief Executive, Sir Kevin Smith, said “The acquisition of the Filton wing components and assemblies manufacturing operation is a further exciting step in the development of GKN’s Aerospace business. The strategic logic is compelling. It brings a long term partnership with Airbus and a strong order backlog which supports solid growth. In addition, the position secured on A350 XWB provides future growth at the leading edge of aerospace composites manufacturing technology. “Filton is already a centre of excellence in metallic structures for Airbus and we intend to invest in the operation so that it also becomes a centre of excellence in composite wing structures serving the global aerospace market. The GKN team looks forward to welcoming those Filton employees who will be transferring to us.” The Filton operation, which was part of a larger cost centre under Airbus ownership, is being acquired for a total consideration of £136 million. An initial payment of £100 million will be made on completion with the balance of £36 million payable in annual instalments over the years 2010-2015. The consideration is being met from existing resources. GKN will also assume future pension obligations in respect of transferring employees at completion. The value of the gross assets of the business being acquired was £89 million as at April 30, 2008. The Filton wing component and assemblies operation being acquired by GKN employs approximately 1,500 people and has been developed by Airbus as a centre of excellence for wing structures. It is a manufacturing and assembly specialist for metallic wing components and assemblies such as leading and trailing edges, ribs and pylons. It supplies the full range of Airbus aircraft including the A320 family, A330/340 family, A380 and A400M. GKN intends to invest £125 million over five years to further develop the Filton business as global centre of excellence in composite wing structures as part of its participation on the A350 XWB. This new generation aircraft will feature an all-composite wing using the latest composite material and automated manufacturing technologies. Today’s announcement follows the decision by Airbus in December last year to select GKN as its preferred partner for the acquisition of the Filton operation on the outskirts of Bristol. The acquisition is subject to regulatory approval and is expected to complete at the end of the year.

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2008 National Concrete Canoe Competition Participants Use Chomarat C-Grid

6th October 2008 0 comments

Chomarat’s carbon fibre reinforcement product C-Grid was used by civil engineering students during the 2008 American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) National Concrete Canoe Competition in Montreal, Canada. Of the 22 finalists, four teams of students from colleges and universities around the United States used C-Grid in the design and engineering of the canoes. The overall winner, The University of Nevada, Reno, applied light prestressing cables with C-Grid, while other teams combined spun woven carbon fibre fabric and/or and glass fabric together with C-Grid to fabricate their canoes. Three additional teams that used C-Grid were Youngstown State University (15th overall), The University of Houston (14th overall), and Fairmont State University (20th overall). The teams were judged in four categories: overall appearance, technical design paper, oral presentation and paddling. The University of Nevada, Reno’s canoe, Argentum, had zero deductions out of 100 in the design category and won the overall title, ending the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s five-year winning streak. This was the fourth year that C-Grid reinforcement technology has been used by teams in the ASCE National Concrete Canoe Competition since it was commercialized.

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Amphenol Chooses Victrex Peek for New High Performance Clamps

6th October 2008 0 comments

Amphenol have chosen Victrex Peek for a high performance wiring, cable, and hydraulic tubing clamp to replace and outperform traditional P-clamps and Saddle clamps. Originally developed for the new Boeing 787 all-composite aircraft, the new high performance clamps consist of Victrex Peek polymer, a high performance thermoplastic, that is over-moulded with a silicone rubber cushion. By using Victrex Peek polymer, Amphenol was able to develop a lighter and stronger clamp that is completely non-corrosive and non-conductive for use throughout the aircraft. “Victrex Peek polymers are exceptionally strong, inert, inherently flame retardant, and can be easily fabricated into tight tolerance parts,” said Michael Sandeen, Product and Technical Leader at Victrex. “They offer significant advantages to aerospace engineers looking for lightweight materials that provide processing flexibility, reduce manufacturing costs and provide durability in harsh environments. Victrex Peek polymers have successfully displaced metals, traditional composites and other plastics in a growing number of aerospace applications.” Amphenol uses a proprietary silicone over-moulding process to produce the high performance clamps, which are also used in a wide range of shipboard, industrial and railway applications. The advantage of Amphenol’s over-mould process is that it bonds the silicone rubber cushion to the plastic. Unlike cushions in metal clamps, they will not detach or come off, thereby reducing the possibility of wire chafing. In addition, because the cushions allow for varying compressions, the same size clamp can accommodate multiple bundle diameters.

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Diab Establishes Canadian Sales Operation

6th October 2008 0 comments

As a result of a sustained increase in the demand for its products from the Canadian market, core materials specialist Diab has established its own sales operation in Drummondville, Quebec. Heading the new operation, as Canadian Business Manager is John Biron, who has joined Diab from reinforcements manufacturer SciArt where he was Operations Manager. John has been tasked with establishing Diab Canada as a full service business that will offer both product and technical support. He will also be developing further the use of Diab core materials and sandwich composite technology in the aerospace, wind energy, transportation and marine markets. Commenting on the decision to establish the Canadian operation, Charles Previte, Diab’s Americas VP Sales & Marketing, said, “We have established a Canadian operation in order to further enhance our support to a market where we see real growth potential for our extensive range of core materials. The setting up of our Canadian operation is further evidence of our aim to provide global support on a ‘local’ basis that in the last few years has seen us establish new operations in China, Thailand, India and Spain.”

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DSM Composite Resins Wins AVK Environment Award

6th October 2008 0 comments

DSM Composite Resins received the environment prize at the AVK innovation awards for its new resin system Palapreg Premium. The award was presented at the AVK Conference for reinforced plastics that took place on September 22 & 23 in Essen, Germany. DSM Composite Resins put forward Palapreg Premium – a new resin system for the Class A exterior SMC-BMC applications in the Automotive Industry – for the environment section of the innovation awards,. The product is intended to set a new industry standard, lowering total emissions of the SMC application by a factor of 10 down to around 100ppm, according to VDA 278. This results in a resin system which DSM says offers environmental benefits, lowered manufacture costs, and vastly improved quality for the application in SMC-BMC exterior panels. Palapreg Premium also results in improved surface finish and is online-paintable. Palapreg Premium was developed together with the support from the University of Applied Sciences in Münster, Germany and with Pergan GmbH, the peroxide company.

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