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Composites Industry News

News for February 2009


Scott Bader Achieves Record Safety & Environmental Standards

15th February 2009 0 comments

Scott Bader’s production plant in Wollaston, Northamptonshire, making unsaturated polyester resins and specialty chemicals, achieved an outstanding record of performance during 2008 by having zero lost time accidents and no reportable environmental incidents throughout the year. This record is the best that has been achieved by Scott Bader UK in the last five years, achieved by an HSE continuous improvement programme of site investments plus an increased focus on site safety, incorporating additional training modules. Over the last two years in particular, these HSE improvements have paid dividends in avoiding potential accidents which can occur in a chemical plant if procedures are not followed and the correct safety gear is not worn by both employee and visitors to the site. The last two years have been under a revised Environment Agency (EA) permit which has set new targets for environmental improvement. By meeting these EA targets and through close working with the key stakeholders on site, there has been a tangible reduction in vapour emissions, reduced spillages and significantly lower energy consumed per tonne produced on the Wollaston Plant, giving environmental benefits both locally and beyond. Mr Steve James HSEQ Manager for the Scott Bader UK site commented “Safety and the Environment are both top priorities for Scott Bader Board and considerable time and focus is given to these two areas by senior management.” Mr James went on to say “ There are clear measures, including near miss accident reports, which indicate there this is an improving safety trend through a greater awareness by people on site and not just luck”.

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Teijin to Reorganize High Performance Fibres Business into Two Groups

15th February 2009 0 comments

Teijin will reorganize its High Performance Fibers Business Group into two new groups named Aramid Fibers Business Group and Carbon Fibers Business Group. Since reorganizing under a holding company in 2003, Teijin has operated with seven groups responsible for polyester fibres, high-performance fibres, films, plastics, medical and pharmaceutical, fibre products marketing and IT business. The new groups responsible for aramid fibres and carbon fibres each will be under the direct supervision of the company’s CEO to facilitate fast decision-making and investment. The High Performance Fibers Business Group has been handling both aramid and carbon fibres, two of Teijin’s most important high-performance fibres in terms of market share. Teijin’s STEP UP 2006 medium-term business plan defined both fibres as core business domains and has targeted them for strategic investment and development. As part of this strategy, Toho Tenax Co., Ltd. was made a wholly owned subsidiary in September 2007 to reinforce competitiveness in carbon fibres. With high growth forecast for aramid and carbon fibres over the long term, Teijin will continue to position both as core businesses in its new medium-term business plan for 2009-2011. The Aramid Fibers Business Group will comprise 13 group businesses and subsidiaries, including Teijin Techno Products Limited, its core company, along with Teijin Aramid B.V. and other companies. The Carbon Fibers Business Group will comprise Toho Tenax, its core company, and seven other companies, including Toho Tenax Europe GmbH. Subsidiaries of Teijin Techno Products, Teijin Aramid and Toho Tenax will be in the same groups as their parent companies.

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Gurit Signs Prepreg Supply Contract with a Wind Turbine Manufacturer in China

15th February 2009 0 comments

Gurit has signed a contract to supply a manufacturer of wind energy turbines with prepreg materials in China. The supply agreement was signed after the successful completion of product trials and follows similar agreements with another customer announced last year. Gurit will produce these prepreg materials locally at its state-of-the-art production site located in Tianjin, China. The multi-million Swiss Franc contract specifies numerous prepreg and formulated products to be supplied over a number of years. Demand for wind energy generation is growing in Asia and China in particular and Gurit’s local presence enables wind blade and wind turbine manufacturers to receive Chinese manufactured product along with Gurit’s full local technical and commercial support. Rudolf Gerber, General Manager of Gurit’s Wind Energy business, commented on the new contract: “Having already added four new names last year to our global Wind Energy customer list, we are delighted to expand our Wind Energy business further.”

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Composiflex Recognized by Economic Development Corporation

15th February 2009 0 comments

During an award ceremony on January 22, 2009, Alan Hannibal, Composiflex president, accepted an award from the Economic Development Corporation of Erie County in recognition of job creation and capital investment throughout 2008. Composiflex, global supplier of highly-engineered composite products, has experienced growth that would be considered notable in any time but remarkable under the prior year’s economic conditions. The mission of the Economic Development Corporation of Erie County is to “facilitate the creation of new jobs and wealth…by providing technical assistance, financing and real estate programs to organizations that can be engines for economic growth and community prosperity.” Composiflex has augmented its work force and enhanced its production capabilities in response, partly, to increased demand from the defence and aerospace market sectors. The company is also seeing more applications that employ recently expanded filament winding and resin transfer moulding (RTM) processes, which complement their more traditional prepreg/autoclave methods. Ground has been broken to add more than 60% to the current facility’s square footage, all production space, increasing from 34,000 to 55,000 sq. ft. this year.

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Soy Oil Based Polylite 31325-00 Introduced for SMC, BMC, and Pultrusion

15th February 2009 0 comments

Polylite 31325-00 has been launched by Reichhold as an non-promoted, medium reactive, low viscosity unsaturated polyester moulding resin derived in part from renewable resources. Polylite 31325-00 was developed to allow FRP fabricators the opportunity to incorporate raw materials based on renewable resources into their products. Specifically, this product is based exclusively on a soy oil content of 25% and is intended as a general purpose moulding resin for SMC, BMC, and pultrusion applications. According to Reichhold, the soy based resin yields laminates with mechanical properties/performance that are similar to general purpose SMC, BMC, and pultrusion resins.

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M.C. Gill Corporation Earns Boeing Silver Performance Excellence Award

15th February 2009 0 comments

The Boeing Company has recognized M.C. Gill Corporation, for the second consecutive year, with their 2008 Boeing Performance Excellence Award. M.C. Gill Corporation achieved a Silver performance rating under Boeing’s Supplier Performance Measurement (SPM). Boeing’s criteria are based on overall supplier performance as reported in the Boeing Enterprise Supplier Tool (BEST). Silver status is awarded to suppliers who exceed the Boeing expectations for quality and delivery performance.

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TeXtreme Reduces Weight of Carbon Composite Parts in Formula 1

15th February 2009 0 comments

The new spread tow fabric, TeXtreme has successfully been used in bodywork on Formula 1 cars enabling weight saving of 25-30%. By replacing traditional carbon fibre reinforcements with the spread tow fabric, several Formula 1 teams have been able to produce composite parts that are 25-30% lighter than the parts produced using regular reinforcements. The parts are mostly body panels but tests and evaluation projects are in progress to also produce structural parts. Through spread tow technology, traditional fabrics made of 1k, 3k and 6k carbon tows can be replaced by fabrics produced from heavier tows like 12k or higher. TeXtreme fabrics are available in areal weights starting as low as 76gsm and several types of different carbon fibres. ”This is a great recognition and proof of the technical superiority of the Spread Tow Fabric concept and we see a great potential in the use of TeXtreme throughout the whole racing industry”, said Andreas Josefsson, VP Business Development at Oxeon AB.

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Hitco Enters Agreement with Denel Saab for Composite Components Manufacturing

15th February 2009 0 comments

Hitco Carbon Composites will collaborate with Denel Saab Aerostructures on composite components manufacturing for the Embraer C-390 Military Transport Aircraft. Denel Saab and Hitco intend to produce composite components, such as the aft fuselage, ensuring that the aircraft meets established performance goals within aircraft weight targets. Enhanced, automated manufacturing solutions will be offered by these two companies to maximize customer value and affordability. In announcing this agreement, Peter Hoffman, President of Hitco Carbon Composites said: “Hitco took delivery of its Viper 6000 Automated Fiber Placement (AFP) machine in October 2008 from Cincinnati MAG. This AFP equipment complements our existing Automated Tape Laying (ATL) capacity that will provide commercial and military customers automated solutions to their growing composite needs for major aerostructure components. We will utilize our AFP equipment for fabricating the complex composite Aft Fuselage II work package.” “Together, Hitco and Denel Saab will offer ‘Best Value’ because of our unique combination of attributes including: time to market, schedule adherence, quality and reduced risk”, said Hoffman. Lana Kinley, CEO of Denel Saab Aerostructures also commented: “We at Denel Saab are pleased to have Hitco on board offering advanced manufacturing solutions for the Embraer C-390 program. Like them, we have invested in major plant upgrades and capital equipment. By entering into this relationship, we offer a great value-add to our customers.”

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8 Companies Rewarded for Composite Innovations

15th February 2009 0 comments

This year, eight companies and their partners will receive JEC Innovation Awards awards at the JEC Composites Show from March 24-26, 2009. The programme was created in 1998 with the goal of promoting innovation. Each year, a jury of renowned international experts chooses the best composite innovations, based on their technical interest, market potential, partnership, financial impact and originality. This year, the winners were selected from the following categories: Raw Materials, Process, Automation, Aeronautics, Building & Construction, Transportation and Environment & Energy. The decision to give prominence to these projects was based on their atypical nature and various noteworthy aspects. The 2009 JEC Awards ceremony will take place on Tuesday March 24th at 5:00 pm on the JEC Show and will be open to all visitors. Category: Aeronautics Winner: A400M cargo door by Premium Aerotec (Germany) At roughly 7m x 4m, the A400M cargo door is a geometrically complex structural component and the world’s largest primary CFRP structure to be made using the Vacuum Assisted Process (VAP). VAP technology involves using a vacuum to assist the infiltration of resin into the carbon fibre reinforcement. The innovation lies in the application of this type of infusion process to a very large part. It was previously considered impossible to use vacuum-assisted infusion with a one-shot manufacturing process integrating skin and stringer for large parts. The properties and functionality of the laminate remain the same. The use of composite materials enabled an integral design approach eliminating thousands of fasteners and lowering the production cost (easier assembly) and weight. The direct benefit to the A400M programme is a higher aircraft payload. This cost-effective construction method can be used for a variety of applications in aircraft primary structures (e.g. pressure bulkheads, fuselage shells) but also in the industrial and transport sector, where it can help to establish composites as an alternative to existing lightweight materials like aluminium. Category: Building & Construction Joint Winner: Twintex-reinforced thermoplastic windows by OCV Reinforcements (France, USA) Partners: Rossi Stamp (Italy), Bouvet & Lorillard (France) The solution replaces a previous two-step process that involved pultruding profiles and reinforcing these with metal inserts. The new process is somewhere in between pultrusion and extrusion, and allows reinforcing locally with Twintex only where necessary. The profiles are then cut and assembled using standard methods. The new profile manufacturing process simplifies the work without affecting the plant and equipment for window production, and affords great profile design freedom. The windows are stiffer, more cost-effective, and there are no thermal bridges. The technology can be applied to all types of thermoplastic profiles. All the pre-development work was done in-house by the company’s R&D centre in Chambéry. Thermoplastic window frame manufacturers (Bouvet & Lorillard France) have adopted this process for new products and technologies to reinforce their thermoplastic lineals, especially for large dimensions and/or coloured profiles. Joint Winner: A façade with an innovative modular system that makes an extensive use of sandwich composites to support both glass and marble elements by Skandinaviska Glassystem AB (Sweden) Partner: Diab Group AB (Sweden) This façade for a six-storey office block in Copenhagen presents two entirely different aspects, depending on the viewpoint of the observer. Viewed from one side, the building would appear to have a façade that is basically a glass wall. Viewed from the opposite side, it would appear to be completely finished in marble. The same effect was required for all four sides of the building. The total area to be covered by the facade is approximately 4,000 square metres. Instead of taking the traditional approach with a steel latticework onto which the travertine stone cladding and glazing units would be attached, Skandinaviska Glassystem developed an innovative modular system that makes extensive use of sandwich composites to support both the glass and marble elements. The system is significantly lighter than the traditional approach – by a factor of around 4:1 – and well within the permitted building loads. This approach also allows very fast installation by a much smaller team. Further time and cost are saved by the fact that the modules can be installed directly onto the building’s steel-reinforced concrete floors virtually as soon as the floors are complete, and without the need for additional supporting steelwork. The system offers inherent insulation properties, does not rust or corrode, and is basically immune from moisture uptake even if the uninstalled modules are left exposed to the elements for a prolonged period of time. Category: Automation Winner: Robotic welding system for thermoplastic composites by KUKA (Germany) Partners: IVW Institut für Verbundwerkstoffe (Germany), Bond Laminates GmbH (Germany), Jacob Composite GmbH (Germany) This newly developed three-dimensional welding process enables the joining of complex and curved parts adding a quality control system and a high degree of automation. Large, heavy components can be welded using a suitable handling system such as articulated or gantry robots. For weld quality control, the surface temperature of the component is continuously measured. Quality problems such as insufficient heating or gaps in the welding susceptor can be determined by the temperature profile. The system can weld different joint configurations. The different consolidation modes allow welding in positions that are difficult to access. The system is capable of welding different materials and geometries, including threedimensional curved structures. The compact design and the use of an automated handling system allow the reproducible production of complex geometries with curved seams that are difficult to weld with other technologies. The possible fields of application are in the automotive sector (crash boxes, instrument boards, seat elements or bumper supports) but there is also an another potential field of application in the aerospace sector. Category: Environment & Energy Winner: Sea-wave energy converter designed to produce electricity by 3B Fibreglass (Belgium) Partners: Fred Olsen Ltd. (Norway), Gent University (Belgium), Spiromatic (Belgique) The device consists of a floating platform with oscillating buoys on the water surface. Fred Holsen Ltd. decided to work as much as possible with composite materials for the structural parts and for the energy-extracting and power take-off system’s moving parts. The main challenges for the lifetime and cost/performance properties of this applications are the corrosion resistance (marine environment), the cyclic load fatigue/ageing (blades, moving parts, turbines, etc.), the robustness, impact and resistance to survival load conditions (storms and possible climate changes), the maintenance, and the cost effectiveness of final components, modules and systems. The natural properties of Advantex and HiPer-tex fibreglass enable and enhance the level of required performance. 3B is reinforcement supplier and advisor within the development team. The next step is to finish defining the materials for the structural parts. The device is a component of the Wave Hub project, which aims to create the UK’s first offshore facility to demonstrate and validate the operation of arrays of wave-energy generation devices. The launch is planned for 2010. Category: Process Winner: Thermoplastic tape placement process for in situ consolidation by Institut für Verbundwerkstoffe GmbH (Germany) Partners: Airbus Composite Technology (Germany) The automated placement head can lay down thermoplastic composite tapes even on complex, double-curved structures to make a part. The main advantage is that the part is finished without requiring autoclave cure, thereby saving on energy and production time (50%). Because there is no limit on part size, there is less need for assembling components. The use of thermoplastics eliminates the problem of limited shelf life for the material used and facilitates cleaning. The development process started with the concept in 2000 and continued with the automation process, perfecting of the process simulation tools, and achieving accurate placement on double-curved geometries while producing the same performance level as with an autoclave-cured part. The last phase of development involved the laser-diode heating process. A multi-tape head is under study in collaboration with Viper machine manufacturer Cincinnati Machines. Airbus has just ordered several Viper machines from Cincinnati. Category: Raw Materials Winner: Two new resin systems for composite parts in fuel cells by Huntsman Advanced Materials (Switzerland) Partners: GrafTech Inc. (USA), Ballard Power System (Canada), Case Western University (USA) Huntsman Advanced Materials developed two new resin systems meeting the stringiest requirements for composite parts used in high-performance fuel cells for automotive (benzoxazine-based chemistry) and power station (bismaleimide-based chemistry) applications. This has allowed Huntsman’s partners to develop a new generation of fuel cells for a wide variety of needs and applications. Standard metal bipolar plates can be replaced with bipolar plates made from graphite composite materials in fuel cell applications. The graphite composite bipolar plate using the new resins has the following advantages compared with the metal bipolar plate: superior corrosion resistance, lighter weight for greater efficiencies, long operating life (no PEM (proton exchange membrane) poisoning because of low ionic levels in the resin systems), and consistent electrical performance (no insulating surface is formed). Category: Transportation Winner: High-pressure hydrogen storage tanks for vehicles, manufactured using a new, highly productive process by Profile Composites Inc. (Canada) For faster production, resin transfer moulding into a dry fibre preform is used in place of filament winding. Bayer developed the resin specifically for this application. A significant and successfully achieved goal was to develop an improved failure mode for the tanks under high-pressure burst. Tank production currently takes 20 minutes instead of 6 hours when using filament winding. The process lowers production costs through automation and improved equipment productivity. The possibility for increasing the production rate capability means that high-pressure hydrogen and gas storage could become commercially feasible. As continuous process improvements are applied and more advanced equipment is developed, the production cycle time for this highly robust and repeatable process could be reduced to under 10 minutes. The process production rate would then be 24 times higher than with filament winding, so there is a huge market potential in the transportation field. As the methods were proven with basic control, they were implemented in semi-automated systems developed by Profile and MAG. This approach led to full-scale tanks produced with the complete process approach. Commercial launch is planned for the coming year. Product development is ongoing for 10,000-psi tanks and larger tank sizes as per the Toyota requirements.

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Polyurethane Pultrusion for Special Application Military Containers

15th February 2009 0 comments

Eko-Flor ms1, an interlocking, lightweight, composite panel system is being used in special application shipping containers purchased by the United States military for rapid deployment.

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