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Composites Industry News

News for August 2010


Plastiki Arrives In Sydney

3rd August 2010 0 comments

The Plastiki, a 60ft catamaran made from approximately 12,500 reclaimed plastic bottles and self-reinforced PET (srPET), has reached the end of its epic voyage which has taken them through the Pacific Ocean on an 8,000 nautical mile adventure lasting over 130 days.

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Kestrel Select Brunswick Landing for Composite Aircraft Facility

3rd August 2010 0 comments

Kestrel Aircraft Company(KAC) have selected Brunswick Landing, at the soon to be decommissioned Naval Air Station Brunswick (NASB), as their home to develop, certify and manufacture their class-defining, state-of-the-art, composite turboprop aircraft, the Kestrel. The Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority (MRRA) and the Kestrel Aircraft Company have entered into a lease option for Hanger # 6, a 170,000 square foot, state of the art aviation maintenance facility that was constructed in 2004. The Kestrel venture at Brunswick Landing will involve an investment of over $100 million and is expected to create over 300 high paying jobs once the company is in full production. Kestrel development, certification, and initial production are scheduled to begin this fall. Governor John E. Baldacci commented, “The decision of Kestrel Aircraft Company to locate their base of operations at Brunswick Landing is a testament to the diversely talented and sophisticated workforce here in Maine. The international appeal and worldwide demand we foresee for the Kestrel airplane will benefit jobs throughout the state, boost Maine’s economic competitiveness, and showcase Maine’s world class innovation economy”. Kestrel Aircraft is a new company formed to complete the FAA certification and produce the Kestrel. Steve Levesque, MRRA’s executive director, said, “It’s because of companies like Kestrel Aircraft and its forward-thinking directors that we call Brunswick Landing, Maine’s Center for Innovation. The composite skills that KAC will bring to the region will complement the world class capacities of Maine’s composite technology cluster represented by the members of the Maine Composite Alliance.”

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Icon Aircraft Selects Composite Structure Suppliers

3rd August 2010 0 comments

Icon Aircraft has selected Liberty Aerospace of Melbourne, FL, and Flytech Kft. of Szombathely, Hungary, as their suppliers of structural composite assemblies for the Icon A5 Light Sport Aircraft. Icon say that the selection is a significant step in its ongoing development efforts of its Icon A5, marking an important milestone toward production of the highly anticipated aircraft. The selection of the two companies illustrates Icon’s strategy to outsource the composite structure manufacturing to take advantage of exceptional capabilities already existing in the certified aircraft sector, rather than recreating them. This strategy allows Icon to focus solely on the remaining development of the production aircraft design, while controlling all final assembly, system integration, and testing to ensure product quality. “The proven track records of both companies in high-quality composite production drove this decision,” said Kirk Hawkins, CEO and Founder of Icon Aircraft. “At Icon, we do our homework to ensure we get to great solutions – and this is just another example. Partnering with established suppliers will allow Icon to not only reach production sooner, but also accelerate the production ramp to meet the impressive demand we’re seeing for the A5.” Icon will receive major composite structural assemblies from these suppliers and will control all system installation, final assembly, finishing, and testing prior to delivery. A5 production will be at Icon’s facilities in Southern California. In 2004, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) created a new classification of easy-to-fly and affordable two-person planes called Light Sport Aircraft that enable a new classification of Sport Pilots to fly. The Sport Pilot License focuses on the fundamentals of flying and requires a minimum of 20 hours of in-flight training, which is half the time and cost of a traditional Private Pilot’s License. Icon Aircraft was founded shortly after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) created the new sport flying category.

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Aksa Launches Carbon Fibre Production Facility in Turkey

3rd August 2010 0 comments

Turkey’s first facility producing carbon fibre has been put into service in the country’s northwestern province of Yalova. According to the Hürriyet Daily News, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoðan, Industry Minister Nihat Ergün and Ömer Dinçkök, the board chairman of Akkök Group, attended the opening ceremony on Friday. Aksa Akrilik Kimya, an acrylic-based textile and technical fibre manufacturer, opened Turkey’s first carbon fibre production facility in the northwestern province of Yalova last week. Aksa is a subsidiary of the Akkök Group, and the company aims to gain a 10-percent market share. “The Akkök Group has contributed to the development of the textile industry in Turkey,” said Dinçkök, speaking at the ceremony. “As Turkey’s textile production grew and improved, our company has continued to grow, and we have received more demand.” Aksa established the facility producing carbon fibre in cooperation with Turkey’s Scientific and Technological Research Council, or TÜBÝTAK, and the Technology and Innovation Funding Programs Directorate, or TEYDEB, Dinçkök said. “A small number of producers in nine countries are producing carbon fibre. We have integrated Turkey as the 10th country producing carbon fibre in the world,” Dinçkök said, adding that the company plans to introduce the product rapidly into the market. (Dinçkök’s statements were based on the fact that Japan, the United States, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Hungary, China and Taiwan are the other countries producing carbon fibre, but Spain was omitted from the list, making Turkey the 10th country producing carbon fibre.) “We will develop our production with aerospace, defence, automotive industry, wind energy facilities, construction and maritime sectors.” Noting that one of the main aims of the company is to improve “composite industry” to increase the usage of carbon fibre in Turkey, Dinçkök said the industry had room to grow rapidly. Speaking during the opening ceremony, Erdoðan said Aksa invested a total of $456 million between 2003 and 2010, also providing employment during the economic crisis. The iron and steel industry, which has a key role in the foundation of the European Union, has had a great impact on the development of countries, Erdoðan said. “However, the iron and still industry will leave its place with carbon fiber production,” Erdoðan predicted. “Thanks to this facility established by Aksa, Turkey will have a 1.5-percent market share in the world’s carbon fibre production, which is very important.” The ceremony was also attended by Minister of Transportation and Communications Binali Yýldýrým, Minister of Culture and Tourism Ertuðrul Günay, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Taner Yýldýz, Yalova Governor Yusuf Erbay, Yalova Mayor Yakup Koçal, Mustafa Yýlmaz, director general of Aksa, Ali Raif Dinçkök, a board member of Akkök Group and many businesspeople. Story Courtesy of Hürriyet Daily News

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Ashland Aligns with Barracuda for Brazilian Resin Distribution

3rd August 2010 0 comments

Ashland Performance Materials has selected Barracuda Advanced Composites as its resin distributor for the Brazilian infusion resin market. Barracuda will market and distribute Arazyn, Aropol and AME resin brands to boat builders and other businesses throughout Brazil. Barracuda specializes in providing resin solutions to Brazilian boat builders, but also services other composite manufacturers. “Barracuda is well known in domestic shipyards for delivering a high level of technical expertise,” said Rodrigo Oliveira, marketing and sales manager, Ashland Performance Materials, Brazil. “As one of the world leaders in high performance resin technology, Ashland is also well recognized for excellence in marine applications. By combining Ashland’s technology with Barracuda’s capabilities, marine customers will receive best-in-class service and performance.”

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Polinox Expands Production Capacity

3rd August 2010 0 comments

Initial projections of the Brazilian Composite Materials Association (ABMACO) suggest a consumption growth of at least 10%, and Polinox has announced a new capacity expansion. “In 2010, we may observe a higher increase than that projected by ABMACO, which may even exceed 20%”, says Roberto Pontifex, director of Polinox. “Civil construction, transportation and wind energy, the three main consumers of composites in Brazil, are experiencing excellent scenarios. More than that, several projects scheduled to start in the upcoming months will help keep consumption at a high level”. The expansion capacity of Polinox requires a new area for the storage of peroxides. Therefore, the company recently acquired 5,500 m² of land next to the factory – the works have already started and the warehouse will be ready by the end of the year. “We will operate with a more comfortable margin, with products guaranteed in stock for more than thirty days. This will provide for even more ease to our customers, especially during high demand periods such as the current one”, he says.

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New Low Cost Hot Bonder with Touch Screen

3rd August 2010 0 comments

BriskHeat has released the ACR MiniPro single zone hot bonder, a smaller, low cost version of BriskHeat’s ACR 3 Hot Bonder. With a total weight under 18 lbs (9 kg), BriskHeat say that the MiniPro can perform composite curing repairs anywhere, including up ladders, towers, staircases, and on wings. “”There is a greater need for a smaller yet fully functional hot bonder,”” explains Tony Multon, Composite Product Manager of BriskHeat. “”We have several wind turbine blade and aircraft repair customers who like the features of our ACR 3 hot bonder such as the full-colour touch screen, but wanted it in a smaller package. Our design team did a great job of including the key features into the MiniPro. We believe we can now serve a larger audience because of the small size and low price. We are excited about sharing this new product with the aviation, wind turbine, sporting goods, automotive, marine, recreational vehicles, and racing industries.”” According to BriskHeat, the ACR MiniPro includes an easy-to-use full-color touch screen, USB data port, multiple language support, 10 thermocouple inputs, and a powerful vacuum venturi pump. The hot bonder is upgradeable with free software upgrades.

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Composites Europe 2010 Showcases Potential of High-Performance Composite Materials

3rd August 2010 0 comments

From 14 to 16 September Composites Europe in Essen will showcase the trends in the composite materials market, from the latest generation of GRP to state-of-the-art innovative carbon applications in vehicle construction. 300 international companies, ranging from suppliers of raw materials to manufacturers through to fibre-reinforced plastics processors, have announced their participation in the fifth edition of the trade fair. A large number of universities and institutions will also present their innovations, and the full range of technologies and products around the entire value chain of the materials will be on display. The spotlight will be on sustainable solutions for the major application industries such as vehicle construction, aviation and aerospace as well as building and construction. Visitors may also expect a comprehensive supporting programme, from the international lecture forum featuring an adhesives workshop to the Product Demonstration Area to the job exchange. The Netherlands – 2010 Partner Country The Netherlands will present themselves as Composites Europe’s first partner country in Essen this year. A large number of exhibitors from the Netherlands will present themselves at the Netherlands country pavilion. The representative of the Netherlands composites industry will be the Netherlands association for plastics composites (Vereniging Kunststof Composieten Nederland – VKCN). The International AVK Conference For the fifth time the International Convention of the AVK – Federation of Reinforced Plastics will precede Composites Europe. From 13 to 14 September AVK will present innovations in the field of reinforced plastics at more than 40 lectures to be held in the Congress Centre East in Essen. The focus is on developments and trends in the composites market, the topics of lightweight construction, joining, reinforced plastic foams as well as thermosetting and thermoplastic composites. Highlights will include lectures on topics like ‘Solar Impulse – around the world in a solar airplane’ and up-to-date information on ‘Employee motivation’. For the first time, the SME Forum is to cater to the needs of small and medium-sized plastic processors. An in every year, the presentation of the AVK Innovation Awards during the Composites Night (the AVK industry meeting point) will be a special highlight on the evening of the first conference day. Composites Forum and Workshop Product-Lifecycle-Management (PLM), adhesive technology, lightweight construction and biomaterials – at the Composites lecture forum, experts will speak on the fundamentals and trends in the processing and machining of composite materials. The three-day programme features lectures and presentations by exhibitors in English and in German. First will be Dassault Systèmes, CADFEM, Airex and Esi on 14 September, presenting PLM and simulation solutions under the heading “”Composites Design, Engineering & Simulation””. A panel discussion will deal with the question of how digital tools and IT solutions can help to meet the challenges in the composites environment. “”Technology, Automation & Processes”” is one of the themes on the second day of the fair. Presentations will include one given by Lange + Ritter on the HexPly resin system. The Federal Agency for Material Research and Testing BAM presents ultrasonic measuring methods. The Institute for Plastic Processing (Institut für Kunststoffverarbeitung – IKV) at RWTH Aachen will give a presentation on methods for 3D injection moulding, Rucks Maschinenbau GmbH presents new possibilities in car body construction. After last year’s success, Composites Europe will once again devote a workshop of its own to the topic of adhesive technologies for fibre-reinforced plastics. The focus is on different bonding methods, the requirements to be met by adhesives and material properties. Host and specialist advisor to the workshop will be Prof. Dr. Andreas Groß of the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Applied Materials Research (IFAM). Product Demonstration Area From jet skis to sports cars – every year the Product Demonstration Area is a big visitor attraction at the fair. The special show in Hall 10/11, created in cooperation with the Institute for Plastics Processing (IKV) at RWTH Aachen University and the AVK – Industrievereinigung verstärkte Kunststoffe, offers visitors a hands-on experience of high-tech products, demonstrations of production processes, raw materials and various testing procedures for composites products. There the Austrian motorcycle manufacturer KTM will present the X-Bow, its first sports car featuring a carbon fibre monocoque. KraussMaffei will show a jet ski with parts manufactured by a special long-fibre injection process. RH Schneidtechnik presents a manual cutting machine for fibre glass and CRP. The AVK Euro-RTM-Group is represented at the Product Demonstration Area with the presentation of demoulding processes. Organisations North-Rhine Westphalia Jointly Present Their Innovations Under the heading “”Lightweight Construction in NRW”” companies and universities from North-Rhine Westphalia will present themselves jointly at Composites Europe. At a joint stand, the Ministry of Economy, Energy, Building, Housing and Transport of North-Rhine Westphalia, Cluster Kunststoff.NRW, NanoMikro+Werkstoffe NRW and the action group of aviation and aerospace companies in Germany, ALROUND e.V., will showcase for the first time what North-Rhine Westphalia has to offer in this field. From the company side Benteler SGL GmbH, Bond-Laminates GmbH, Composite Impulse GmbH & Co., Lanxess Deutschland GmbH and ThyssenKrupp AG will be present. From the side of Universities in North-Rhine Westphalia the whole range of expertise from Aachen to Paderborn will be represented by the Institute for Motor Vehicels (IKA) and the Institute for Textile Technology (ITA) at RWTH Aachen, Paderborn University (Lightweight Construction for Automobiles (LiA), the Lüdenscheid Plastics Institute and Ostwestfalen-Lippe University with its OWL lightweight construction initiative.

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Access to VAP Technology Via EADS and Trans-Textil

3rd August 2010 0 comments

As part of its Technology Licensing Initiative, EADS Deutschland GmbH is placing its patented VAP membrane-assisted, low pressure infusion method at the disposal of the market by means of a licence management system. Trans-Textil GmbH, an EADS-authorised VAP licensor for the non-aerospace sector and preferred EADS partner in the aerospace sector, is the direct, worldwide contact for all questions concerning contract-based VAP licensing. . “”Although the way to using the patented VAP process is clearly explained, a certain amount of misinformation exists on the market””, states Martin Salzburger, Patent and Technology Licensing Manager at EADS. As he explains, “”VAP is available for use via a licence management system. User licenses for the aerospace industry are issued by EADS itself, while our authorised VAP licensor Trans-Textil is the right place to contact for all other areas””. Use of the VAP method without a license or with non-licensed membrane system constitutes infringement of the EADS patent. Licensed VAP membrane systems Trans-Textil GmbH supplies membrane systems – the decisive component in the VAP approach – for use in the respective membrane-assisted low pressure infiltration work. The combination they involve of an air- and gas-permeable resin barrier bonded (laminated) to a sophisticated textile carrier enables a high degree of precision in the production of complex lightweight parts. Moreover, each of the membrane systems in the company’s range is tailored to specific process variables concerning gas permeability, barrier performance, heat resistance and drapability. Trans-Text ensures the suitability of its quality-assured VAP membrane systems for use with various different resin types and process variants by testing them under realistic conditions in its in-house VAP® test lab. Thanks to its broad portfolio of semi-permeable barrier layers and textile carriers, and precisely controlled production processes, it is also able to offer membrane systems adapted to customer’s specific requirements. All-round service for VAP As a further partner in the VAP competency network, Composyst GmbH handles the technical support side. “”We offer interested VAP users extensive advice on judging the suitability of the method for their needs, provide support when they start using it, help ensure successful production outcomes and stay at their side with on-going technical process know-how””, states Composyst Managing Director Stefan Utecht, who can look back on longstanding experience of VAP. The company also offers the “”Fit for Composites”” programme of training for all levels from shop-floor worker to engineer. NEXICOS prototype Premium AEROTEC GmbH recently demonstrated its own production expertise and VAP membrane-assisted low pressure infusion at the unveiling of the prototype of a civilian helicopter fuselage section in its NEXICOS project. Using VAP membrane systems, the aerostructure supplier had fabricated the complex fuselage barrel in a single go, complete with integrated stringers, local reinforcements and window frames. As it reports, the VAP method not only enabled automation of various process steps but also delivered significant mould-making flexibility, thus smoothing the way further for scaling up production of the part to the industrial level. According to Trans-Textil, the VAP approach also yielded cost savings of 30 percent over comparable prepreg structures.

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SP-High Modulus Provides Composite Solution for M34 Race Yacht

3rd August 2010 0 comments

The first M34 performance sailing yacht, the new design for prestigious annual Tour de France à la Voile race, was launched in June and has been undergoing rigorous sea trials. SP-High Modulus is providing a full composite construction solution to the yard and designer, comprising structural engineering, technical support, and composite materials, the majority of which is being supplied in B³ SmartPac format. The Tour de France à la Voile is an annual yacht race around the coast of France, and since the event’s establishment in 1978, only six different one-designs have been used. French boat yard Archambault has been selected to build the new series of boats, the M34. This new design by France-based Joubert/Nivelt/Mercier Design is, at 10.34m, one metre longer than the previous Farr 30 design, which was used from 1999 to 2010, with a greater sail area/displacement ratio. SP-High Modulus’ structural engineering team worked in close collaboration with the yard and design office to create a light, but stiff and robust structure. The final structural layout and laminate specification, balance the requirements of weight control, stiffness performance, and overall cost-effectiveness. As well as first principles engineering, the SP-High Modulus team undertook Finite Element Analysis of some of the critical structures, such as the keel support, to reach an optimum solution that resulted in accurate and repeatable alignment as well as practicality of build. The structural engineering analysis lead to the development of custom-designed materials to suit the specific structural requirements as well as the yard’s build methodology. The glass and carbon hybrid fabrics, designed by SP-High Modulus engineering and technical teams, offer increased structural performance with a reduced number of layers, as well as ease of build through improved drapability and integral tackiness for positioning in the mould. For the core materials, SP-High Modulus’ Corecell M-Foam was chosen as it offered the required properties at every location on the boat and meant that only one core material needed be used on the project. The build process using SP-High Modulus’ Prime 20LV resin system has been further aided by the supply of the materials in the form of a B³ SmartPac. The materials in pre-cut format, along with a schematic and written construction booklet, has resulted in the yard reducing its preparation and lamination time by over half. With a challenging build schedule to launch 30 boats in the next 12 months, this approach has given the yard confidence they can meet the deadline, whilst maintaining high quality standards. The sea trials were a success, with the naval architect, skipper and race director all happy with the boat’s performance. Broad reaching with 17 knots of wind, the boat achieved 15 knots which gave a good indication of its potential. The boat was described as “stiff, powerful, fast and reliable”. The second and third boats in the series are currently in production.

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