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Composites Industry News

News for 12 November 2010


ACG VTM Prepregs used for Grand Prix Racing Yacht

12th November 2010 0 comments

Prepreg materials from Advanced Composites Group have been used by Hakes Marine Limited to build the new 54ft grand prix racing yacht Oystercatcher XXVIII, designed by Tom Humphreys of Humphreys Yacht Design. Launched in Wellington, New Zealand in mid-October, Oystercatcher XXVIII represents the second Humphreys-designed racing yacht for owner Richard Matthews. The hull and deck of Oystercatcher XXVIII were constructed from ACGs Lloyds Register of Shipping approved VTM260 Series carbon prepregs direct from female moulds, a technique adopted by world-class designers and builders of ocean-going craft. This technique offers optimum surface finish and minimal material usage, thus delivering the race-winning performance demanded by yachts in this class. The hull utilises a foam-core to provide the requisite toughness for offshore racing while the deck and internal structures employ Nomex honeycomb cores to reduce the overall weight. Central to the design is a hydraulically operated lifting keel, which effectively reduces the draft from 3.65 to 2.5m. The rig, supplied by Southern Spars, has been manufactured using ACGs MTM57 Series ultra-high modulus carbon fibre prepregs. Oystercatcher XXVIII is heading off to compete in a gruelling race program encompassing Cowes Week, the Key West Race Week, Rolex Fastnet, the RORC Caribbean 600 and Ocean Races.

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BMW Makes 400m Investment in Carbon Fibre Megacity Vehicle Production

12th November 2010 0 comments

The BMW Group is investing around 400 million will be invested in new buildings and machinery at its plant in Leipzig for the production of the Megacity Vehicle (MCV). Some 800 jobs will be created in the process. The plant expansion was launched on Friday by German Chancellor Dr Angela Merkel and Dr Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, together with the Prime Minister of the German state of Saxony, Stanislaw Tillich, and the Governor of Washington state in the US, Chris Gregoire. By producing the Megacity Vehicle in Germany the BMW Group is demonstrating a clear commitment to Germany as a high-tech location. With this vehicle we are revolutionising automotive design and production, and offering our customers the first purpose-built electric vehicle for urban areas. This will be the worlds first volume-produced car with a passenger compartment made from lightweight CFRP, as less weight enables a longer range, explained Reithofer. We made a conscious decision to produce the car in Germany, at our plant in Leipzig our newest and most cutting-edge facility with the most flexible structures, he added. Including production of components, the BMW Group and the joint venture set up with the SGL Group for the manufacture of carbon fibres are investing a total of 530 million in the project. The beneficiaries of this investment are the BMW plants in Leipzig and Landshut and the joint venture facilities in Wackersdorf and Moses Lake (Washington state, USA). A total of over 1,000 jobs will be created as a result of the investment. The BMW plant in Dingolfing will produce important components for the drive system and chassis of the MCV.

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Composite Propeller for Dutch Minehunter

12th November 2010 0 comments

Airborne Composites has supplied the Royal Netherlands Navy with a composite main propeller for an Alkmaar-class minehunter. Airborne say that this is the first time in the world that composite materials have been used for a maritime main propeller of such power (about 1400 kW). The propellers were delivered to the Navy in September 2010 and test runs will start at the end of 2010, continuing throughout 2011. The Royal Netherlands Navy has ten Alkmaar-class minehunters, developed in the 1970s by the Navy in cooperation with its French and Belgian counterparts. Erosion is a big problem in bronze ships propellers, explained Wiard Leenders, Managing Director of Airborne Composites. It interferes with the geometry of the blade surface, giving rise to turbulence and hence to vibration and noise. This effect on the acoustic signature of the vessels is particularly undesirable in minehunters, which have to operate very silently in order not to trigger the mines they are hunting. Frequent inspection and maintenance is the only way of ensuring a safe working environment in this case. The necessary maintenance is very expensive, and reduces the operational availability of these vessels. The use of composite materials for the ships propellers offers a way out of this impasse, Wiard Leenders stated. Hydrodynamic tests at the Marin maritime research institute in Wageningen were so promising that the Royal Netherlands Navy commissioned a follow-up study at Airborne. This focused on the possibility of using the orientation of the fibres reinforcing the composite material in order to get propeller blades that adjust their position in response to the load on them, thus obtaining a hydroelastic propeller. These propellers are more quiet in use, and have a higher efficiency which may lead to fuel savings of a few per cent. These fuel savings have generated increasing interest in these flexible composite propellers in civilian shipping circles, Wiard Leenders went on. The composites used for this purpose are carbon-fibre-reinforced epoxy resins.

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Seco Tools Introduces First Product Line for Composites Machining

12th November 2010 0 comments

Seco Tools has launched its new line of Jabro routers specifically developed for the machining of composite materials, featuring five different solid carbide styles with cylindrical shank diameters that range from 3.0 to 20.0mm. We are excited to enter this new area of material application, said Seco Jabro product manager Bill Bogue. Our efforts in R&D have created a high-performing choice of solutions that addresses the problems inherent in composite machining to help shops improve both the quality and productivity of their operations. Each of the routers features a DURA high performance CVD diamond coating, which is thicker than traditional CVD coatings. The DURA coating provides an outstanding thermal and abrasive barrier to effectively manufacture composite materials. The JC840 Left-Right Helix Router handles slotting operations in carbon- and/or glass-fiber composites. The JC850 Light Helix Ballnose Router is for 3D copy milling of components such as landing gear and is suitable for carbon fibre PEEK type materials. The JC860 Honeycomb Router perform slotting/side milling of honeycomb materials with carbon and/or glass top layers and paper and or/aluminium honeycomb. The JC870 Diamond Cut Router acts as a trouble shooter in slotting applications in various layered carbon and/or glass fibre materials. And, the JC880 Light Helix Router is for maximum material removal in slotting and side milling of carbon fibre and PEEK-type materials.

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FiberSIM 2010 Released to Include Advancements in Composite Materials and Processes

12th November 2010 0 comments

Vistagy has released FiberSIM 2010, the latest version of its engineering software for designing and manufacturing innovative, durable and lightweight composite structures. Many features of the new software were inspired by the adoption of composites in a growing number of industries and Vistagy say that the new version of FiberSIM includes the following features: – Advanced features for preserving composite design intent, which capture the critical inputs that drive the composite part design at the earliest stages of development. – Enhanced ability to design for manufacture of advanced materials and processes, including new Multi-Layer Material Simulation that provides insight into the drapeability of non-crimp fabrics (NCF) and other advanced materials,. – An improved connection between design and analysis to enable more efficient transfer of composite design requirements. – The industrys first standardized 3D model-based representation of the composite part definition. – New functionality for validating that the as-built part is representative of the as-designed/analyzed part, ensuring adherence to design specifications. – An improved user experience through a redesigned interface tailored to specific use cases, which puts key functionality at the users fingertips. “”FiberSIM has been the cornerstone of our composites engineering process for the last eight years,”” stated Ian Goddard, senior CAE engineer for Renault F1 Team. “”Its the only comprehensive software product that addresses the entire composites engineering process, meeting challenges from conception to deployment of the vehicles on the track. New functionally in FiberSIM 2010 makes it possible for us to exploit the advantages of the newest materials and processes in an effort to get the most optimized and competitive race cars to the starting line as quickly as possible. “” “”FiberSIM 2010 continues to strengthen our solutions for composites engineering by meeting the growing needs of OEMs and suppliers that are designing and building composite parts within the aerospace, automotive, wind energy, and various other industries,”” said Steve Peck, director of product and market strategy at VISTAGY. “”These manufacturers acknowledge that to take full advantage of the latest advancements in composite materials and processes, they need to focus on optimizing designs to achieve the ideal balance between cost, performance, quality, manufacturability, reliability, and maintainability. FiberSIM 2010 gives them the tools to meet that objective.””

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Ashland to Sell its Distribution Business to TPG Capital

12th November 2010 0 comments

Ashland has signed an agreement to sell its global distribution business, known for many years as Ashland Distribution, to TPG Capital for $930 million. Commenting on the transaction, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer James J. OBrien said, This divestiture reflects Ashlands strategic direction and completes a major step in our multi-year transformation into a high-performing specialty chemicals company. Our overall goal remains to return maximum long-term value to our shareholders. For TPG, the purchase of Ashland Distribution represents an opportunity to acquire an industry-leading distributor with an established network of suppliers. I believe the outlook for the distribution business and its employees will be much stronger as part of an organization targeting growth within the distribution marketplace. We are very excited to invest in Ashland Distribution, which Ashland has built into one of the leading global chemical distribution companies, said Michael MacDougall, partner at TPG Capital. We look forward to partnering with management and the talented employees to continue the companys growth. Kevin Burns, partner at TPG Capital added, TPG has a long history of helping former subsidiaries thrive as independent companies. With our experience in chemicals and distribution, and the management team’s deep knowledge of the sector, the potential is high for continued strong performance at Ashland Distribution. The Ashland Distribution business has been a part of Ashland for more than 40 years. With revenues today of $3.4 billion, the Ashland Distribution business has approximately 2,000 employees across North America and Europe, and entered the China plastics market in 2009. The transaction is expected to close prior to the end of the March quarter, dependent upon the receipt of certain regulatory approvals and other standard closing conditions.

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Teijin to Enter High-Performance Polyethylene Market

12th November 2010 0 comments

Teijin will enter the high-performance polyethylene (HP-PE) market by establishing its first production facility in Emmen, the Netherlands, aiming to start commercial production in the second half of 2011. Teijin plans to grow its HP-PE business quickly through innovation and market cultivation, targeting a global market share of 15% to 20% by 2015. HP-PE, which generally comes in the form of fibers or tapes, is produced with ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) polymers. Being highly resistant to impact, cutting, wear and chemicals while offering outstanding toughness and strength, HP-PE has a wide range of applications, including reinforced plastics, protective materials, ropes, nets and medical materials. Teijin Aramid BV and Teijin Techno Products Limited, core members of Teijins Aramid Fibers Business Group, have been developing HP-PE production processes and products in their respective research facilities in Arnhem, the Netherlands and Iwakuni, Japan. Currently, Teijin produces limited amounts of HP-PE at pilot plants in the Netherlands and Japan. As the result of these two companies successfully establishing viable mass-production technologies and new production processes, as well as the required product quality on a mass-production basis, Teijin has decided to move forward with its commercial production of HP-PE.

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Plasti-Fab Builds Top Shelter Line With Recycled and Green Materials

12th November 2010 0 comments

Plasti-Fab have released their new ‘Green’ Industrial Shelter Series made of fibreglass scrap in the form of a fibreglass reinforced plastic (FRP) compound. The newly released product is a result of the culmination of multiple manufacturing processes Plasti-Fab has been orchestrating after a thorough period of R&D, investing hundreds of man hours and a substantial amount of capital. In addition to cleansing their daily manufacturing processes, Plasti-Fab have been able to incorporate fiberglass scrap for other products, as well as the newly released Green Shelters. Plasti-Fab say that this recycled, or re-used scrap fibreglass is combined with a green resin to create the Green FRP composite for the shelters. They say that the Green Shelters use 43% in-house recycled material and 27% green product.

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Demonstration of Closed Mould Processes

12th November 2010 0 comments

Cray Valley, Gazechim and Chomarat recently held a demonstration day on closed mould processes, in cooperation with MVP, Matrasur and Wacker.

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Kemrock & DSM Sign Agreements for Specialty Resins in India

12th November 2010 0 comments

DSM Composite Resins and Kemrock have signed a memorandum of understanding to form a joint venture for manufacturing unsaturated polyester and vinyl ester specialty resins in India. Through the alliance, Kemrock plans to fortify its expertise in composite manufacturing and align it to global standards, whilst DSM will strengthen its presence in India. Both partners will utilize and leverage each others strengths to provide specialized resin solutions to the fast growing Indian market. Kemrocks facility is located close to Vadodara in the western part of India.

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