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Composites Industry News

News for March 2010


Composite Patch Repair for Marine and Civil Engineering Infrastructure Applications

5th March 2010 0 comments

In January a consortium of 15 organizations from eight European countries kick started a European (FP7) funded project on Composite Patch Repair for Marine and Civil Engineering Infrastructure Applications, Co-Patch. Co-Patch is a novel and potentially effective repair and/or reinforcement method for large steel structures. Two basic structural types will be dealt with, namely marine structures (mainly steel ships) and iron/steel civil engineering structures (e.g. bridges, transmission towers, etc.). It is hoped that the use of patches will significantly reduce the maintenance costs, and in the case of metallic bridges, prolong their design life and help address the consequences of increasing live loads. The proposed technology creates a new market and gives the partners the capability of providing high technology and high added value services worldwide. Composite material patching is a very promising method for repairing and/or reinforcing metallic structures. Composite patching has proven its effectiveness and cost benefits in the aerospace industry for several years now. In aerospace applications, composite patches have been shown to prevent crack growth and extend the lifetime of the repaired structure. In this context, a composite patch works as a crack arrestor by decreasing the stress in the area of the crack tip. One of the aims of Co-Patch is to investigate whether this is also true for cracks in the marine and civil environments. Composite patching may also be considered in mitigating the effects of corrosion and loss of section. Technical objectives The main objectives are to demonstrate to all stakeholders that composite patch repairs or reinforcements can be environmentally stable and, therefore, that they can be used as a long term repair measures on steel marine structures and steel civil engineering infrastructure applications. The proposed composite patch repair technology is said to be an innovative and highly competitive product that caters to the needs of marine vessels and civil engineering infrastructures, the latter in the form of steel bridges. Co-Patch is intended to significantly reduce the maintenance costs of many large steel structures, and in the case of metallic bridges prolong their design life. The proposed technology creates a new market and it gives the partners the capability of providing high technology and high added value services worldwide, thus improving Europe’s competitiveness in specialized and advanced repair works. The Co-Patch consortium is inviting interested stakeholders to follow the project activities, within the framework of a stakeholders’ forum.

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UK Composites Industry gets NEC showcase

5th March 2010 0 comments

‘Leading Edge Events & Media will host a brand new show, ‘The Composites Engineering Show 2010’ to service the UK’s rapidly developing composites design & production engineering community across all applications.

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Russia's United Aircraft Corporation to Use MAG Composites Processing Systems

5th March 2010 0 comments

MAG Industrial Automation Systems will supply the first automated composites processing system ordered by the Russian aerospace industry as part of a new sale to Russia’s United Aircraft Corporation (UAC). The purchase of three machines – a MAG VIPER Fiber Placement System and two HyperMach Vertical profilers, valued at more than $9 million – is the first made to support production of UAC’s MS-21 series of commercial, medium-range airliners. The machines, all featuring patented technologies, will be delivered in the first quarter of 2011. The sale broadens MAG’s footprint in Russia, which was established with recent sales of 26 large machine tools to Ural Boeing Manufacturing and VSMPO-Avisma. Both companies produce titanium components in Russia for Boeing and Airbus commercial planes. “”Our newly created Aerospace Industry Team was a key enabler for us in this sale,”” said Chip Storie, MAG Executive Vice President, Aerospace. “”It brings into focus our strength as the only globally capable company integrating core aerospace manufacturing technologies – metalworking and automated composites processing – engineered, built and backed by a single source with local sales and service in Russia. The team consulted in depth with UAC, even hosting three aerospace manufacturing workshops in Russia that included a design and review of an entire wing factory.”” The VIPER 1200 Fiber Placement System lays 12 tows of 6.35 mm (0.25 in) composite prepreg tape, and has 9 m (354 in) carriage travel and 3 m (118 in) diameter mandrel station. The VIPER family of machines is modular, offered with 12, 16, 24 or 32 tows to support a wide variety of parts production from small to very large, and is available in both vertical and horizontal platforms.

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Infucomp Project to Simulate Composite Parts Infusion

5th March 2010 0 comments

The four-year project Infucomp European Research, initiated by ESI, is to develop liquid composites moulding for the aeronautic sector.

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New EcoTek no-styrene resin makes Catamaran Cruisers and the Environment better

5th March 2010 0 comments

Catamaran Cruisers is the first in the marine sector to adopt AOC’s new Eco-Tek styrene-free technology to improve the environment and the workplace.

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Oman Air awards $2.6m contract to Spatial Composites for Cabin Trainers

5th March 2010 0 comments

Oman Air, the National Carrier of the Sultanate of Oman, has awarded a US $2.6M contract to Spatial Composite Solutions, the Dubai-based manufacturer of crew training equipment for two new Cabin Crew Safety Trainers.

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Innovative High-Temperature Material System to Provide Better Crew Protection

5th March 2010 0 comments

The Lockheed Martin led team developing the Orion crew exploration vehicle has achieved a major technology milestone by completing fabrication of the world’s largest heat shield structure. The shield is five meters (16.4 feet) in diameter and is critical to the protection of the spacecraft and its crew from the extreme temperatures experienced during re-entry. The work was completed at Lockheed Martin’s composite development facility in Denver, Colo. The crew exploration vehicle is at the height of its development phase, which has spurred several new technologies and innovations such as a cutting edge high-temperature composite material system. The new system was developed by the Lockheed Martin Orion thermal protection system team in partnership with TenCate Advanced Composites, a leading supplier of aerospace thermoset and thermoplastic prepregs. TenCate’s composite materials are used in commercial aircraft, radomes, satellites, general aviation, oil and gas, medical and high-end industrial applications. “”In addition to the technology advancement, we achieved a $10 million cost savings and improved the project schedule by 12 months through the innovative tooling, materials and fabrication processes the team put into action,”” explained Cleon Lacefield, Lockheed Martin vice president and Orion program manager. The new resin system was developed over an 18-month period during which thousands of coupons were tested in extreme environments that simulated a ballistic re-entry from a lunar mission. The team verified that the thermal insulator on the outside of the composite material can be thinner due to the higher temperature capability, resulting in improved mass optimization of the Orion spacecraft. The new resin system enables much simpler and more efficient manufacturing techniques compared to other high temperature resin systems. This resin system has the potential to be used in a wide range of commercial applications including aircraft, automobiles, launch vehicles, payload fairings, and re-entry vehicles. The expansive heat shield will be applied to the Orion ground test article, which is the first full-sized, flight-like test article for Orion being built at the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, La. The ground test article is designed to serve as a production pathfinder to validate the flight vehicle production processes and tools. When completed, the crew module will be tested on the ground in equivalent flight-like environments, including static vibration, acoustics and water landing loads. This early high fidelity testing is necessary to correlate sizing models for all subsystems on the vehicle.

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Toho Tenax to Launch Ultra-Lightweight Carbon Fibre Fabric

5th March 2010 0 comments

Toho Tenax is to begin selling a carbon fibre fabric that is less than half the weight of conventional lightest carbon fibre fabrics. The new fabric, which has been developed with Sakai Ovex Co., Ltd. and is used for forming prepregs, will help further reduce the weight of composite products, making it ideal for high-strength, low-weight applications where design and style count, ranging from golf club and tennis racket shafts to personal computer casings. Toho Tenax targets annual sales of more than 300,000 square metres at a value of more than 1.8 billion by its fiscal year ending in March 2013, aiming to expand the carbon fibres business for prepreg use. The fabric is made with Toho Tenax’s new carbon fibre yarn designed for making ultra-thin fabrics. Using Sakai Ovex’s yarn-spreading technology, development of a thin fabric measuring just 0.06 mm in thickness has been achieved. The new fabric weighs only 60g/m2, or about half the weight of the lightest carbon fibre fabrics currently available.

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Kaman to Cut Ply Development Time with FiberSIM Software

5th March 2010 0 comments

Kaman Helicopters is to license Vistagy’s FiberSIM composites engineering software to streamline the design–to–manufacturing process for large composite helicopter blades, by providing early visibility into producibility challenges and facilitating a smooth hand-off of composite manufacturing data to the shop floor. Kaman estimates that FiberSIM will enable the firm to reduce ply development time from 180 to 40 hours, a saving of 78 percent, and average part layup time from 32 to 20 hours, a savings of 38 percent. Kaman Helicopters, which is an OEM and provider of rotor blades and major subcontract assemblies, components and detail parts, will use Vistagy’s composites expertise by employing its professional services organization to help develop and implement best practices for standardizing composites development processes. Kaman Helicopters is using FiberSIM within its Siemens NX computer-aided-design (CAD) system. Kaman Helicopters selected FiberSIM because defining ply flat patterns for each ply in a composite design was simply taking too much time. By implementing FiberSIM, the firm expects to significantly reduce the hours required for ply development and layup, streamline its manufacturing process, and eventually eliminate the use of Mylar patterns. Kaman Helicopters is using the software to define flat patterns as well as generate data to drives its laser projection system. “Working with composites is extremely time-consuming and tedious,” said Tim Bates, general manager of Kaman Helicopters’ Blade Center of Excellence and Subcontract Product Group. “By adopting FiberSIM, we expect to be able to automate non-value added tasks to achieve significant productivity gains, improve overall part quality and repeatability and increase our throughput. Vistagy’s role as the leader in composites engineering for aerospace was also a critical factor in our decision to work with them.” “We’re pleased to be working with one of the leading suppliers to the helicopter industry,” said Steve Peck, VISTAGY’s director of product marketing and strategy for aerostructures. “By implementing FiberSIM and taking advantage of our professional services’ team vast experience in aerospace, we’re confident that Kaman Helicopters will enhance its productivity so it can meet its business goals.”

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Applied Minerals Introduces Dragonite to the Polymer Composite Market

5th March 2010 0 comments

Applied Minerals Inc has completed trials incorporating its halloysite clay as a drop-in additive for reinforcement in polymer composites. As a result of these trials, the company has filed a provisional patent application with the USPTO for a novel method of producing a halloysite-polymer composition that (i) eliminates two costly steps typically used in the compounding process and (ii) produces improved properties to other polymer composites reinforced with (a) halloysite nanotubes utilizing other composition methods, (b) chemically treated MMT organo/nanoclay and (c) certain tradyitional fillers. Examples of these property improvements are identified in the table below. Applied Minerals intends to market its line of halloysite products under the company’s Dragonite brand name. the Dragonite line will consist of different grades of halloysite clay products tailored to enhance the property performance of each target application, in a cost competitive manner. The Dragonite group of products is led by its first offering, Dragonite-XR, a drop-in additive specifically engineered for polymer reinforcement. Applied Minerals says that composites formed with Dragonite-XR exhibit not only high stiffness but also high tensile and flex strength, all with a low density and retained toughness. The company is currently exploring joint development opportunities with compounders interested in producing a line of polymer composites incorporating Dragonite-XR.

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