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Composites Industry News

News for 16 July 2010


Bombardier Builds First Manufacturing Validation Unit for Learjet 85 Aircraft

16th July 2010 0 comments

Bombardier Aerospace has reached another significant Learjet 85 aircraft program milestone, having successfully built the first all-composite manufacturing validation unit (MVU) for the aircraft’s pressure fuselage section. The MVU was built in Montréal, where the Learjet 85 aircraft structural design team is located, using actual production tooling and with strong support from the program team based in Mexico. This unit will be used to validate the design concepts, manufacturing processes and quality as the program advances towards the beginning of production, scheduled for later this year. The 45,000 pounds (20,412 kg) of production tooling will soon be transferred to its permanent home, the new Learjet 85 aircraft facility in Querétaro, Mexico, where a second MVU will be built. “This is another crucial step towards the start of production of the first Learjet 85 aircraft,” said Ralph Acs, Vice President, Learjet 85, Bombardier Business Aircraft. “Our next step will be to apply what we learn from this first manufacturing validation unit to the second unit, in order to confirm our technology readiness.” “This achievement is a further illustration of our commitment to developing more efficient aircraft using composite structures,” said François Caza, Vice President and Chief Engineer, Bombardier Aerospace. “It is an important step in our comprehensive strategic technology program to design and build the most efficient aircraft structure.” Construction of the Learjet 85 aircraft manufacturing facility in Quéretaro is progressing to plan. The first tooling is scheduled for installation at the Quéretaro facility this month and the first production part will be built soon afterwards. The Learjet 85 aircraft program is progressing full-speed ahead and the aircraft is on schedule for entry into service in 2013. Launched on October 30, 2007, the new Learjet 85 aircraft will be the first Bombardier Aerospace jet and first business jet designed for type certification under U.S. Federal Aviation Administration FAR Part 25 to use composite materials for all external primary structures. Bombardier say that the Learjet 85 aircraft’s all-composite external primary structure will allow Learjet aircraft designers to maximize cabin comfort while minimizing drag and improving performance.

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Lamborghini Opens Composites Centre

16th July 2010 0 comments

Lamborghini has opened a state-of-the-art Advanced Composites Research Center (ACRC) in Sant’Agata Bolognese to design, produce, and research new automotive composite materials. The 28,000-square-foot facility will undertake research on cutting-edge carbon fibre production and design processes. The 30 engineers and workers assigned to ACRC will also perform crash testing. They’ll utilize the latest measuring devices, automated cutting and casting equipment, autoclaves, presses, and a Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM). “”The consistent development of carbon-fibre technology is a key element of our strategy,”” said Lamborghini CEO and President Stephan Winkelmann in a statement. “”The most important parameter for super sports cars is, now as in the future, the weight-to-power ratio; therefore, as there is a limit to power increase due to emission regulations, we must work on weight reduction. Extensive use of carbon fibre, even at structural level, allows Lamborghini to be at the forefront of development techniques. The real difference is in the correct use of technologies and materials to satisfy technical and financial concerns. This is what the centre is all about.”” Lamborghini has a long history in carbon fibre and other lightweight composites. It unveiled the first carbon fibre-based chassis prototype on the Countach in 1983 and has since employed the material in all of its vehicles. The ACRC joins the Automobili Lamborghini Advanced Composite Structures Laboratory (ACSL) at the University of Washington. This American-based lab, run in cooperation with Boeing, specializes in crash testing and analysis.

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Restart of New Carbon Fibre Plant Construction

16th July 2010 0 comments

Mitsubishi Rayon (MRC) has resumed construction of new carbon fibre plant to be operational from the second quarter of 2011. MRC previously suspended the construction in March 2009 in response to global economic conditions and the corresponding downturn in carbon fibre markets. The plant will be based at the Otake production centre, Hiroshima pref, Japan, with a production capacity of 2,700 metric tons / year of P330 series high performance large tow carbon fibre for industrial use. The original start-up timing was 2009 Q4, which has now been revised to 2011 Q2. MRC started new the plant construction to meet increasing demand, especially from growing industries such as wind blades, pressure vessels and automotive, which were expected to keep growing in the long term. However, as many projects were delayed or suspended under the economic recession, MRC decided to suspend new plant construction and put off the start-up date by a year. MRC has just made a decision to resume construction as demand from sport and leisure applications has been increasing significantly from early 2010, suspended big industrial projects have started kicking in, and existing factories are nearly fully utilized. Until they start manufacturing the new P330 series product at the new plant in Japan, MRC will continue making these new products at Grafil in the US for initial customers’ evaluation and marketing. MRC say that the P330 series performs as their standard small tow (TR50S/TRH50), but that the filament count is larger (50-60k), giving it better processability for large composite structures. Accoring to MRC, the new plant will be the first plant to produce high performance large tow in earnest over the world, and also it will be the largest carbon fibre plant (2,700t/pa) in history.

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Feature: Crystic Intumescent Topcoat Helps Wright Composites Make Tougher Fire Rated Bus Parts

16th July 2010 0 comments

Wright Composites, part of the Wright Group, located in Galgorm, Ballymena, Northern Ireland, manufactures a range of passenger vehicle FRP parts to demanding quality standards, mechanical performance levels and stringent fire resistance specifications.

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MCS and Araldite Fine-Tune Endurance Driving for a Cleaner Environment

16th July 2010 0 comments

MCS, the provider of gas vessels and pressure cylinders, is using an Araldite hot curing epoxy system for the production of high strength, composite fuel tanks for performance and endurance vehicles. The MCS technology is based on a unique carbon fibre epoxy matrix system. Composite fuel tanks are typically more than 55% lighter than steel compressed natural gas (CNG) fuel tanks, providing a more favourable weight to volume ratio than their steel counterparts and giving benefits to the overall performance of endurance of the vehicles. MCS chose Araldite LY 564 low viscosity epoxy resin, Aradur 917 anhydride hardener and 960-1 Accelerator. The decision was based on the Araldite system’s mechanical properties, fibre impregnation properties and handling behaviour in the filament winding. Commenting on the choice of hot curing epoxy system, Heinz Kubitza, director of engineering at MCS, said: “As well as offering attractive operational features such as low viscosity, a long pot life and short cure times, we were most impressed with the Araldite system’s supreme resistance to the pressure load that enables this new generation of composite cylinders to hold far greater volumes of fuel.” One eco-friendly land vehicle, a CNG powered Volkswagen Caddy EcoFuel, has been travelling the world with help from CNG composite pressure fuel tanks developed by MCS and the Araldite hot curing epoxy system. The selection of the higher capacity composite gas tanks by Rainer Zietlow, the driver of the VW Caddy, is central to his quest to drive the planet’s longest highways using locally fuelled natural gas, whilst maximising the time spent on the road. According to figures published in March 2010, Zietlow’s VW Caddy EcoFuel, powered by CNG has travelled almost emissions of some 20,000 miles on its current journey with savings on its CO 20% compared to a standard 1.6 litre petrol engine. In the VW Caddy, Zietlow has so far set a world distance record for natural gas powered cars. Its journeys include some of the most exotic road trips known to man, for example the 15,500 mile route from Tierra Del Fuego to Alaska.

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AirStar International Begins In-House Manufacturing of Rotor Blades

16th July 2010 0 comments

After 25 years of UAV Drone manufacturing, AirStar International has designed a new composite rotor blade for its line of Unmanned Vertical Take Off and Landing Air Vehicles (UAV VTOL’s) that promises to improve efficiency by 66%. Three more models each of different size are currently under design and will soon be ready for testing. The new AirStar Hyper-Lift-Blade design is a composite sandwich style blade made from resin, Kevlar and carbon fibre. AirStar previously used 3rd party vendors, but recent research required a change of the current blades and the manufacturers did not want to make changes. “”We are very excited to be expanding our in house capabilities as we are cutting expenses and introducing a breakthrough in technology at the same time. Following years of experimenting, testing and design changes we finally came up with a much more efficient blade than we were able to buy from existing vendors. The new blades are currently manufactured in four different lengths, depending on the payload. The new Hyper-Lift X blades were tested on our standard AirStar Mongoose, and immediately we were able to increase the payload from 15lbs to 25lbs. Now we are designing a new frame and will use a higher-powered engine to test the increased efficiency of a full payload capacity,”” said Josef Joebstl, AirStar’s CEO.

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Innovative Composites Receives Order for Pedestrian Bridge

16th July 2010 0 comments

Innovative Composites International (ICI) has received a purchase order for a composite pedestrian bridge from Engineered Plastics Inc, a US specialty composite products manufacturer that serves the infrastructure/construction, mass transit and corrections industries.

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Plataine Launches FabricOptimizer for Composites

16th July 2010 0 comments

FabricOptimizer software for composite parts manufacturers. FabricOptimizer is part of Plataine’s Total Production Optimization (TPO) product suite that offers composite parts manufacturers an integrated solution for dynamic nesting, optimized material-selection and cut-planning. Integrated to the manufacturer’s ERP/MRP and CAD systems, TPO creates ready-to-cut production plans by optimally selecting the composite fabric rolls to use, and generating the optimal nests for each roll. TPO achieves this by matching the orders’ due date and product quantities with actual fabric rolls inventory (such as material expiration date, width & length). TPO also considers the full order plan for additional optimization opportunities. “One of TPO’s greatest advantages”, says Avner Ben-Bassat, President of Plataine, “is its unique ability to optimize all aspects of the production plan, the given order-mix and available resources, while considering the manufacturer’s business rules and production constraints. By taking a holistic view of process pptimization,” Ben-Bassat adds, “TPO allows manufactures to improve both their top and bottom lines and become more competitive in the marketplace.” In addition to optimizing daily operations, TPO now enables manufacturers to use FabricOptimizer as a cost estimation tool for bids and RFQs. This tool recommends the optimal mix of parts to nest, quantities and materials to use, and offers a more accurate and competitive price quote compared with current practices. TPO Software is offered as a Service (SaaS) as opposed to on premises software installation.

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Synergy Composites Receive Lloyd’s Approval

16th July 2010 0 comments

Synergy Composites, the advanced composite manufacturer based in Altham, Lancashire, has been audited and approved to ISO9001:2008 Quality Management Standards by the Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance (LRQA) organisation. The Quality Management System is applicable to the development and manufacture of advanced composite components in accordance with the client requirements. Synergy is also setting its sights firmly on AS9100 and TS16949 accreditations, the quality management standard specifically written for the aerospace and automotive industries respectively. During this phase, the company are inviting potential customers to identify their own unique requirements, thus ensuring efficient customer accreditation thereafter.

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Dow Systems and RS Technik Sign Alliance for Sewer Pipe Rehabilitation

16th July 2010 0 comments

Dow Systems and RS Technik will form a global commercial alliance focusing on the sewer pipeline rehabilitation market, specifically on cured-in-place pipe (CIPP) trenchless technology. This alliance will combine Dow’s resin systems, characterized by high chemical resistance and mechanical properties, with the CIPP technology developed and owned by RS Technik Group. It is intended to further increase the partners competitive advantages and differentiate the benefits they offer versus other CIPP providers. The announcement was made during the International Water Week held in Singapore. “Dow Epoxy Systems has a strategic focus on the protection of high value infrastructures, or those infrastructures whose failure carry major economic and environmental impact. Sewer pipeline rehabilitation fits squarely within this focus, and it is a key area for business development and growth,” said Pepe Carnevale, global general manager, Dow Epoxy Systems. “Dow’s global alliance with RS Technik Group represents a significant step forward for Dow in becoming the worldwide leader in epoxy-based solutions for the trenchless industry.” “This alliance with Dow will further enhance RS Technik Group ability to be a global leader in trenchless technology solutions, accelerating our growth and the development of the CIPP technology against other less competitive solutions and the traditional dig-and-replace options,” explained Klaus Mueller, President of the Board, RS Technik AG. “The expanding pipeline rehabilitation sector will benefit from the progressive leveraging of Dow Systems solutions, a significant factor in this alliance.” “This alliance will significantly enhance the value to our customers by combining Dow s technology, innovative formulations and industrial strength, high performance products and global reach with RS Technik Group s state-of-the-art technology, experience and proven business model,” said Juan Antonio Merino, Dow Systems global general manager. “It is a perfect demonstration of the strategic intent of the newly formed Dow Systems global business unit that combines our Polyurethane Systems and Epoxy Systems businesses. We aim at maximizing our capability to serve our customers and the market, accelerating the value creation through a joint approach that leverages customer intimacy, operational excellence and fast, customized solutions to solve customer process and product-oriented problems.”

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