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Composites Industry News

News for 21 August 2009


Fiberon’s Award Winning Composite Decking

21st August 2009 0 comments

A big boost was given to Fiberon after two of its products, Fiberon Horizon composite and Sensibuilt PVC decking, were recognised by Building Products magazine’s 2009 awards. “We’re delighted that Fiberon Horizon composite and Sensibuilt PVC decking are recognized as superior offerings in the category,” said Chris H. Beyer, Vice President of Marketing for Fiberon. “The combination of aesthetics and performance topped with the industry’s only 10-year fade and stain warranty make Horizon and Sensibuilt truly unique.” The annual Most Valuable Product (MVP) Awards are given by Building Products magazine to highlight innovative and efficiency-increasing products introduced between January 2008 and January 2009. According to Building Products, Horizon was selected because it brought “value to contractors while catching clients’ eyes” with features like the unique patent-pending PermaTech™ surface innovation.

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Energy Composites Corporation Launches Great Lakes Strategy

21st August 2009 0 comments

Energy Composites Corporation (ECC) announced that it has taken a leadership role in efforts to make the Great Lakes, US, the preferred site for wind farm development over the next decade. The Company has created the Great Lakes Wind Consortium, and is inviting leaders from government, industry and academia to join efforts to focus on meeting the Federal Government’s renewable energy mandates using offshore wind farms in the wind-rich Great Lakes. Sam Fairchild, ECC’s CEO, stated that, “The Great Lakes themselves are the hidden solution to the Nation’s mid-term renewable energy needs. Over the last decade, wind farm developers have focused on the on-shore wind corridor — from Texas to the Dakotas — as fertile ground for harnessing wind energy, but they have found that our need to upgrade the Nation’s electrical grid, including the development of new technologies to reduce the substantial loss of power that comes with transmission over long distances, to be a significant obstacle to success. And, while the Obama Administration has targeted substantial federal investment towards solving the grid challenge, it likely will be more than a few years before we see real progress there.” Fairchild added that, “There is an immediate opportunity to meet the Federal mandate of 20% renewables simply by building wind farms in the Great Lakes. The advantages are enormous. The wind profile in the Great Lakes is optimal for wind farms, allowing for the use of larger, offshore turbines, significantly longer, more efficient blades, and cost-savings, water-borne logistics. Most importantly, nearly 23% of the US population lives within 25 miles of the Great Lakes, allowing for short transmission lengths without power loss. We do not have to wait for advancements in grid technology to make substantial progress.” ECC is inviting the Governors of the Great Lakes States – Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York – to join and lead the Coalition, along with leaders of counties and municipalities throughout the region. ECC is also reaching out to participants in the wind energy supply chain in the Great Lakes States, including manufacturers and service providers, as well as financial institutions, investors and developers. The Company intends to host a planning session for the Coalition later this year.

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Fibermaq Launches Pulltech Pultrusion System

21st August 2009 0 comments

Fibermaq’s latest pultrusion equipment, Pulltech, is capable of processing composites profiles up to 500mm wide. Developed with the support of consultant Carlos Viegas, a specialist in pultrusion, Pulltech has two versions for profiles of different sizes. Developers claim that the smaller version can handle manufacturing profiles of up to 90 mm wide, with 1,000 kg maximum traction, whilst the larger model is able to produce parts from 80 to 500 mm wide, with up to ten tonnes of traction. “The expansion of our portfolio was one of the ways we’ve found to go through this difficult period”, says José Batista de Andrade, CEO. Manufacturers say that this system is easy to operate and comes with the option of a PLC touch screen and an electrical or mechanical device to control the pultrusion power. “Overall, Brazilian pultruders assemble their own machines or import very expensive models. Pulltech will be a cheaper option than imported ones, though much more sophisticated than handcrafted ones”, concluded Andrade.

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Eastman Introduces Its Heavy-Duty Roll Stand

21st August 2009 0 comments

Eastman Machine Company has released a new Heavy-Duty Roll Stand system. The system features edge control, which is used for handling rolled material goods. The Heavy Duty Roll Stand is engineered to introduce rolled material goods for spreading onto a fully automated, conveyor cutting system. Eastman says that the system can be used as a single unit or as part of a multiple unit configuration for several layers of material. The roll stand ensures precise alignment of each material ply, maintained by a Photo-Electric Edge control feature. The system is capable of handling rolls up to 1000 pounds (450 kg) and roll widths up to 126” (320cm). Manufacturers say that this Heavy Duty Roll Stand is especially suited for high weight rolled material goods, making it ideal for the composite industry.

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SPE Announces Scholarship Winners

21st August 2009 0 comments

Two graduate students will each receive a $2,000 USD scholarship grant from the Society of Plastics Engineers – Automotive & Composites Divisions at this year’s SPE Automotive Composites Conference & Exhibition (SPE ACCE), to help underwrite research in composites for ground transportation.

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Park Electrochemical Corp to Expand

21st August 2009 0 comments

Park Electrochemical Corp. will be expanding its recently completed PATC facility with the addition of a 42,000 square foot multi-use space. The original 52,000 square foot development cost $15 million and was designed to develop and produce advanced composite materials for the aircraft and space vehicle industries. The expansion will allow Park to manufacture composite parts and assemblies for the aircraft and space vehicle industries, as well as adding office and storage space. It is expected to cost approximately $5 million and to be complete and operational by September of 2010. Upon completion of the PATC facility expansion, the Company’s objective is for PATC to offer composite aircraft and space vehicle parts design and assembly services, in addition to “build-to-print” services. The expansion will include both oven and autoclave and composite parts curing equipment. Brian Shore, Park Electrochemical Corp.’s President and CEO, said, “We would like to thank the people of Newton, Kansas for making us feel so welcome and at home in their community. We look forward to expanding our operations at the Newton, Kansas Airport.”

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CTS Use Cashews in Eco-Composites

21st August 2009 0 comments

CTS, specialists in materials such as bio-resins and flame retardant additives targeted at the composites and plastics industries, have recently established premises in Dayton, Ohio. The company is working to develop new products and processes that support green technologies from hydrogen and natural gas fuelled vehicles and heavy-metal free flame retardants to the capability to extract resins from recycled natural resources. CTS are currently working on several brands, such as Exaphen, which extracts phenolic resins from agricultural by-products such as cashew nut shells. The company claim that due to the properties of these resins they have excellent flame retardant qualities. Nanofire, CTS’s second new product development, uses the nano-size lamellar particles found in natural and synthetic mineral clays as additives to replace heavy metals and other harmful chemicals in flame retardant applications. Nanofire products are especially formulated in combination with plasticizers for the PVC cable industry. In addition to its own product developments, CTS claim they are capable of working with customers in the design, manufacturing and sales of advanced polymeric and composite materials. CTS will also market products in North America that have been developed with Italian business partners CimtecLab, Sepma and VEM.

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Government Loan £340 Million to Airbus Project

21st August 2009 0 comments

Somerset’s aerospace and advanced engineering sector is to receive a welcome boost following a Government pledge to invest up to £340million in Airbus A350 XWB long-range aircraft. The loan, announced by Business Secretary Peter Mandelson, could directly secure 1,200 jobs plus another 3,800 jobs in the UK supply chain. Speaking of this decision, Rupert Cox, Interim CEO of inward investment body Into Somerset, said, “The investment will help preserve vital employment both directly and in the supply chain, particularly in South Somerset where there is a cluster of world-class companies supporting manufacturing in the aerospace sector.” The £340 million loan is one of the largest-ever industrial investments made in the South West. Jane Henderson, Chief Executive of the South West Regional Development Agency, says: “”We are delighted this globally significant project is moving forward. It will keep the region at the forefront of technological innovation in this key sector. “”We are especially pleased that the new aircraft will use lightweight carbon composite materials, helping the sector achieve a significant reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. The Agency has played an important role in supporting research and development into composites that will be directly utilised in this project.”” In July, South West England was named Britain’s first Low Carbon Economic Area, reflecting its potential to develop globally competitive green industries and to re-tool its traditional industries for a sustainable future.

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Wacker-Werft Trial Araldite Epoxies in Yacht Design

21st August 2009 0 comments

Huntsman has recently experimented using Araldite epoxy resins in yacht construction, which they say not only achieves increased stiffness and a reduction in weight, but will also require less maintenance. The boat, designed by Swiss boat builder Wacker-Werft, used Araldite Epoxy infusion systems LY564 and Hardeners XB 3486/87for the hull and decks. And, for the assembly of all bulkheads, hull to deck joints and structures, a new thixotropic epoxy adhesive was used. According to Huntsman, boats made with epoxy resins have a number of advantages including superior mechanical properties, long resistance to fatigue, increased resistance to osmosis offering less maintenance and much longer life cycles. Wacker-Werft say that the yacht’s lighter and stiffer structure make it ideal for Regatta sailing.

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Corvette to Mass-Produce CFRP Bonnets

21st August 2009 0 comments

According to Corvette, the ZR1 is set to be the first mass-produced car with an all-CFRP bonnet, with between 1,500 – 2,000 units sold annually. This has meant that Corvette has had to refine their production process, ensuring that they can deliver one completed bonnet within a 60-minute production process. During development, Plasan investigated a variety of different layup, kit and bagging methods to find a process combination that yielded the best appearance and performance within the shortest processing time. Bonnet production begins with kit cutting. Rolls of carbon prepreg are loaded onto a cutting table supplied by Eastman Machine and cut into an individual kit of pieces needed to produce a complete hood (separate sets for outer and inner). Because Plasan produces a number of CFRP parts for the ZR1, managing and organizing kits is a major aspect of production. Kit components are hand-layed into single-sided, female steel tools. Layup technicians visually inspect prepregs and use special techniques to position plies precisely on the first try to minimize pulling or stretching of plies, which could distort the appearance, explains Lars Severance, Plasan’s manufacturing engineer. When layup is complete, the parts are vacuum bagged and moved to one of Plasan’s four production-size autoclaves where, using ACG’s fast-cure epoxy, they cure in about 10 minutes. Because of their complex plan-view sweeps, demoulded parts are edge-machined on an automated, high-speed, 5-axis robotic router, which is capable of cutting very tight radii and negotiating complex slope changes at high spindle loads. Next, the hood inner and outer panels are prepped for adhesive application and placed in a bonding cell. Here, they are robotically bonded around the perimeter edges using a two-part structural urethane specially formulated by Ashland Inc. to cure quickly, survive paint-bake oven temperatures and exhibit the high strength necessary to prevent debonding of inner and outer panels under the stresses of high-speed operating conditions. Each hood is 100-percent hand finished. Technicians sand the outers and hand-polish the inners. Then, the inner panel is masked, the assembly is passed through Plasan’s primer booth and, when cured, the primed hoods are shipped to Creative Liquid Coatings (Ft. Wayne, Ind.) to be painted. Just before final quality-control inspection, the polycarbonate window is joined to the hood assembly. To accommodate the coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) mismatch between the CFRP and the PC, technicians use a special compliant shear/ductile urethane adhesive, also provided by Ashland. Completed units are shipped to GM’s Bowling Green, Ky., assembly plant for installation on ZR1s.

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