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Composites Industry News

News for October 2009


Brazilians Blend MEKP and AAP Peroxides

2nd October 2009 0 comments

MVC hope to set a new trend within Brazil by using a mixture of peroxides in the polymerization of composites parts, rather than relying on a single peroxide such as methyl ethyl ketone peroxide (MEKP). “The blend fully improves the production process, as it allows the molder to benefit from the advantages offered by two different peroxides”, says Roberto Pontifex, CEO of Polinox, a manufacturer of organic peroxides and mould release waxes. This system has been successfully used in the continuous lamination of plates used in CasaPrática, which was built using Wall System technology and the RTM process. “We [ran] dozens of tests in our laboratory to show what would be the percentage of an ideal mixture for some of the products we manufacture. We picked a standard resin and determined the gel time, period of reaction and exotherm peak, among other important characteristics of a lamination plan”, said Cláudio Thiago, technical manager of MVC. These tests were all based on MEKP and acetyl acetone peroxide (AAP) blends. “The combined use of these products ensures a lower polymerization time and, consequently, a faster mould release”, says Thiago. MVC blended peroxides depending on the specific needs of the application, which the company claims gave them increased efficiency. “For example, by manufacturing a specific component of 15 m², a blend containing 60% of MEKP and 40% of AAP presented a gel time of 20 minutes. If it were made with MEKP only, the gel time would be 30 minutes and with AAP only, it would take from 38 to 40 minutes. That is, the use of both peroxides together is more beneficial than each one separately”, Thiago says.

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Expert Insights Driving Interior Innovations

2nd October 2009 0 comments

Visteon is the latest in a list of organizations to collaborate in the design of the Velozzi AEV project.

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Hardwire Expands Armour Manufacturing Facility

2nd October 2009 0 comments

Hardwire LLC, a developer and supplier of composite armour, is to double its manufacturing capacity by extending the company’s main production facility in Pocomoke City, Maryland. The development is Hardwire’s second large capacity increase in two years, which the company says is critical in order to meet the growing demand for lightweight vehicle armour solutions. Hardwire’s armour manufacturing facility will expand from its current nameplate 3 million square feet annualized capacity to over 6 million square feet in high-pressure lamination. The expansion is anchored by a 12,000-ton high pressure laminating press capable of producing pressed armour plates, flat or curved, up to 50 square feet each. The manufacturing facilities and associated computer numerical controlled (CNC) finishing work cells were also expanded to support this significant lamination capacity increase. “”With the increasing need and demand for the lightest weight armour, the fibre industry invested in significant capacity increases””, said Rob Cosgriff, Hardwire’s Director of Manufacturing. “”We responded concurrently to expand the proprietary processes we developed to allow for unprecedented scale in transforming the raw materials into fielded products with no delay to our combat troops. This new press has been developed in a manner to allow complete redundancy with our existing press systems while allowing uninterrupted operation of the current press line. The full expansion capabilities are nearing completion.”” This additional manufacturing capacity gives Hardwire the ability to develop leading-edge armour solutions that meet specific customer requirements across a broader range of programs on a large scale, and with shorter lead times. This new facility is located adjacent to Hardwire’s original armour and composites development centre. Hardwire’s armour development and manufacturing campus now also includes a third facility used to provide support for Hardwire’s armour production and its other security products.

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Mach 2 Waterjet is Suitable for Composites Cutting

2nd October 2009 0 comments

Flow International Corporation has recently released its new Mach 2 series of ultrahigh-pressure waterjet cutting machines, suitable for cutting a range of composite materials. This new line of cutting machinery is aimed at those with a limited budget who are looking to find a reliable and easy-to-use system, according to Flow International. Flowcorp say that it is suitable for CFRP, phenolic, aramids such as Kevlar, fibreglass, UHMWPE such as Dyneema, and metal matrix composites. “The patented vacuum assist technology available on the Mach 2 virtually eliminates the chance of delaminating composite materials when piercing holes,” said Marjorie Millay, product manager, Flow International. Flowcorp say that unlike single and multi-point tools such as routers, mills, lathes and saws, the supersonic cold erosion process produces no microcracks, delamination, whiskers, burning or damage in any way. According to the company, composites that are mechanically cut at one inch per minute can be cut at 15 to 30 inches per minute with a waterjet, due to the size of the water stream which creates a narrow kerf so it can cut tight corners and produces less scrap. The Mach 2 series offers a range of features, such as a wide variety of UHP pump options, Paser ECL cutting system, a ball screw design intended to give long lasting accuracy and the FlowMaster intelligent control system. “Flow has continually offered the highest pressure, most productive pumps, software, and machine tools in the industry, which has cemented our role as the leader in offering ultrahigh-pressure waterjet technology,” said Chip Burnham, vice president of marketing, Flow International. “Our Mach 2 series provides companies previously unable to afford waterjet machines the benefits of ultrahigh-pressure waterjet technology, keeping them competitive in today’s manufacturing environment,” he added.

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Myers Motors Introduce Electric Follow-Up to the NmG

2nd October 2009 0 comments

After a flurry of recent announcements pertaining to electric concept cars, Myers Motors are set to take orders for its second fully electric motor vehicle, as yet unnamed, before the end of the year. Like its predecessor, the single-seated NmG, the ‘NmG2’ will feature a body made from composite materials, which Myers believe will give the car several additional benefits when compared materials typically used in automotive manufacturing. In response to customer feedback, Myers have designed their second car accordingly, which is hoped will retail less than $30,000. Like the NmG, the new model will feature Myers’ lithium battery system that provides drivers with a standard 60-mile range. Myers says that this range is adequate for their market, as it covers over 80% of America’s daily driving habits. However, the company has plans to give owners an option to upgrade this capacity to 100 miles, for those who regularly travel further. The two-passenger model is designed for easy overnight charging and according to Myers it should only cost about 2-cents per mile to drive, depending on local electricity prices. Recharging overnight prevents overtaxing the electric grid, and in some locations may even allow EV owners to receive a discount on electricity rates for the recharge. Dana Myers, Founder and President of Myers Motors said, “While people love our zippy single-passenger model, we know that sometimes you want to take a friend along for the ride – and soon you can.” He continued, “Our goal is to make electric vehicles more affordable for average Americans.” Myers anticipates production of this new vehicle will begin in the 4th quarter of 2010. More details about the new vehicle will be revealed over the next several weeks on the Myers Motors website.

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UK Launch of 3M ACCR Overhead Power Transmission

2nd October 2009 0 comments

This month, 3M have launched 3M ACCR (Aluminium Conductor Composite Reinforced) within the UK, their latest development in overhead power transmission. 3M ACCR is designed as a ‘drop-in’ replacement for existing electrical conductors and can as much as double the transmission capacity of the line. With its multi-strand aluminium composite core design, 3M say that 3M ACCR has the strength and stiffness of steel core conductors, but weighs half as much and is able to continuously handle 210 degrees Celsius (and in an emergency 240 degrees Celsius), with considerably less sag than traditional conductors. 3M ACCR differs from traditional steel core cables in its use of aluminium-based composite core wires. Each core wire contains many thousands of very high-strength aluminium oxide fibres. The ceramic fibres are continuously oriented in the direction of the wire and are fully embedded within high-purity aluminium. Although the composite wire looks externally similar to traditional aluminium wire, 3M say that it has mechanical and physical properties far superior to those of aluminium and steel. Using 3M ACCR can avoid the need for rebuilding or addition of new substations and it does not require the height of existing pylons to be raised in order to increase clearance levels. This leads to minimal impact on the environment and helps to overcome the delays frequently caused by planning objections from pressure groups and land owners. As far as the technologies applications are concerned, 3M say that this product could help the UK power industry to meet the government’s renewable energy targets and overcome some of the issues of connecting offshore wind farms to the onshore grid, in particular delays caused by planning objections. Potentially, 3M ACCR could help remote outposts of land-based power networks near a new offshore wind-farm to be upgraded from their low capacity, end-of-the-line role. In turn, this could contribute to them becoming the start of a high capacity network flowing in the opposite direction to the National Grid. By using existing transmission routes, no new land permissions would be required. According to 3M, tests carried out by the US Department of Energy at its Oak Ridge National Laboratory showed that 3M ACCR retains its integrity after exposure to temperatures even higher than the rated continuous operating temperature of 210 degrees Celsius and the emergency operating temperature of 240 degrees Celsius. The core has the strength and stiffness of steel at half its weight, but with higher conductivity.

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RSIII is up to the Challenge

2nd October 2009 0 comments

Veritas and Formtech Composites combined to take on an improbable challenge for this year’s Salon Prive luxury car show, held at London’s Hurlingham Club. In just five weeks the team was able to build the car, dubbed the Veritas RSIII, which features a 5 Litre V10 BMW engine with full carbon fibre bodywork, capable of producing a top speed of approximately 350 km/h. The Formtech group supported the programme with composites bodywork, machining of components and solutions to the design problems encountered during such a short build timescale. Mark Preston, Managing Director said “it was an example of what is possible using motorsports working practices to achieve delivery in a very short space of time.” The bodywork was produced with carbon fibre prepreg material from the Advanced Composites Group. The process used an out-of-autoclave resin system similar to the proposed solution to the serial production car. “Using a resin system and processes that are similar the final production version meant that we were able to gain valuable knowledge about the target weight and stiffness of the bodywork”, said Preston. The car was delivered to the Salon Prive on time and won the prizes for the “Best of Show” and “People’s Choice” up against such challengers as the Aston Martin One-77. Stuart Banyard, Production Manager, said “it was an incredible challenge and the staff all pulled together to achieve the impossible. We enjoyed working closely with the engineers and technicians at Veritas to achieve such a great product in a short space of time.” The Veritas RSIII has been presented at the Pebble Beach event in the USA and is now on sale via Vermot AG in Germany with a planned 30 cars to be built.

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Load-Bearing Thermoplastic Technology Subject of Study

2nd October 2009 0 comments

Benefits of Axion’s thermoplastic technology were the subject of a recently completed research paper put together in a collaboration between Rutgers University, School of Engineering and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

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Phenolic Prepregs Boost Warthog Defences

2nd October 2009 0 comments

Composite phenolic prepreg materials from Advanced Composites Group Ltd. (ACG), are being used by UK based Permali Gloucester Ltd to manufacture appliqué armour and spall liners for one of their recent military contracts. More than 100 military vehicles were ordered by the Ministry of Defence from ST Kinetics in a deal worth over £150M. Permali Gloucester Ltd., responsible for completing the contract, will be using technologies developed around ACG’s ballistic phenolic prepreg materials within the armour, which must meet an exacting ballistic specification and to integrate with other essential equipment installed on the ST Kinetics’ Warthog vehicle. Permali regards this method as being a cost-effective process that provides a significant weight reduction compared to traditional metallic solutions. The project, which is dedicated to improving the protection of UK Armed Forces serving in urban environments of Afghanistan, will see the appliqué armour and spall liners used to ‘morph’ ST Kinetics’ Bronco All Terrain Carrier into a variant that the MoD has designated the “Warthog”. The Warthog is a development of ST Kinetics’ Bronco All Terrain Carrier, a robust and proven articulated platform with a payload of more than 5 tonnes. The platform’s articulated design delivers exceptional mobility across a wide range of terrain and climate, and is extensively armoured. Described as a “”beast of a vehicle””, delivery of the Warthog will begin at the end of this year.

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Grove Isle Restoration Completed Using FRP’s

2nd October 2009 0 comments

Fibrwrap Construction recently used its Tyfo Fibrwrap composite system in the recent restoration of Miami’s Grove Isle Bridge. The rehabilitation project included the retrofit of fibre reinforced polymers to the structure’s columns, beams and slabs. In addition to Fibrwrap repairs, Fibrwrap Construction tackled concrete restoration and epoxy crack injection to further strengthen and stabilize the bridge. Manufactured from glass, carbon, aramid and hybrid fabrics, Tyfo Fibrwrap are held together by TYFO polymers. The company’s advanced, high-strength fibre products are specially engineered to repair and restore bridges, buildings, piers and pipelines, offering cost-effective, turnkey repair options for many industrial projects. The repairs of Grove Isle Bridge were deemed necessary by inspection engineers after discovering corrosive damage to the structure’s reinforcing steel. “”We’ve performed over 6,000 structural upgrades and retrofits since 1988,”” says Fibrwrap Construction CEO Heath Carr. “”Using our innovative composite retrofits, it was our goal to restore the strength and integrity of the bridge while limiting interruptions to the flow of Grove Isle employee and tourist traffic.”” Now that Grove Isle Bridge repairs are complete, the bridge’s structural health will be monitored over the next year by students and researchers at the Universities of Miami and Cincinnati. To initiate this innovative new assessment program, wireless sensors were placed at strategic points along the rehabilitated bridge. By recording vibrations, acoustic wave data and concrete alkaline levels, researchers can detect the presence of cracks and deficiencies that may affect the bridge’s future durability. This new emission technology is intended to help bridge owners and transportation departments monitor and predict future structural problems, alerting them to the need for critical repairs and upgrades.

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