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Composites Industry News

News for September 2010


Canada’s first Bio-Composite Bodied Electric Car

6th September 2010 0 comments

The car, called the Kestrel, is an electric 4 passenger compact vehicle, designed and engineered by Motive, the body of which is made from impact resistant bio composite material.

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Commencement of $65 million Composites Research Program in Australia

6th September 2010 0 comments

Last month marked the first official meeting of the new Board of Directors for the Cooperative Research Centre for Advanced Composite Structures (CRC-ACS), signalling the commencement of a five-year international research program based in Australia. “This is an important milestone in the 19 year history of our organisation”, noted Prof. Murray Scott – CRC-ACS CEO. This extension of the CRC-ACS is supported by AUD 14 million from the Australian Government’s Cooperative Research Centre Program, and over AUD 50 million in cash and in-kind support from 28 participating organisations. A major feature of the extension is the high level of international participation: nine of the 28 participants are located outside Australia. The CRC-ACS Board is chaired by Dr Bill Schofield, AM, and consists of four other Directors, two of whom are independent: Mr Paul Barratt, AO, and Prof. Grant Steven. Also joining the Board is Mr Fabrice Rochereau, CEO of EADS Australia Pacific Pty Ltd, and Dr Colin Wong Hee Huing, Vice President of Technology and Engineering at PETRONAS, Malaysia’s national oil & gas company. The CRC-ACS Extension Program is expected to: • focus on international development of composites and related technology in Australia, using a highly successful collaborative research model • facilitate the integration of Australian composites manufacturing, materials supply and engineering support enterprises into international value chains • bring a range of new technologies to market, including breakthrough aircraft structure assembly technology, low-cost infrastructure repair, and sustainable plant-fibre biocomposites. The 28 organisations that have joined CRC-ACS represent an array of research institutions, materials suppliers, engineering service organisations and end-users. Additional organisations will be invited to join the research program, so that all relevant organisations to industrial implementation can build the necessary skills within the program. This “value chain” approach, and consequent opportunities for Australian Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to join international business opportunities, was a major reason for support from the Australian Government. Murray Scott is emphasising the importance of the increased international focus of the new CRC-ACS program. “The Centre has had great success in developing Australian technology and making Australia internationally competitive in the field. The success of collaborative programs such as CRC-ACS depends on the engagement of the technology users, and I am very pleased that we have the support of such important multinational organisations in the development of composites technologies. The extension of funding has taken CRC-ACS to an entirely new level of international engagement. We aim to make Australia a preferred destination for composites technology development over the next five years, through its combination of skilled personnel, leading technology and innovative approaches to development and implementation.” By securing a fourth term of CRC Funding, CRC-ACS has again established its position as the longest continually-running Centre in the history of the CRC Program. Since its establishment in July 1991, CRC-ACS has delivered significant benefit to the Australian economy, including technology underpinning Australia’s AUD 4 billion engagement in the Boeing 787 program. Continuation of CRC-ACS will allow Australia to take a leading role in composites development, position Australian SMEs prominently amongst international industry, and lead the Australian Composites Industry into a strong and competitive future.

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CCM Holds Undergraduate Research Symposium

6th September 2010 0 comments

In early June, more than 60 undergraduate students arrived at the University of Delaware’s Center for Composite Materials, ready to spend the summer gaining valuable hands-on research experience. Two months later, on August 10, they came together in the Center’s lobby and presentation room, dressed professionally and standing next to posters detailing the goals, methods, and results of their work. At the end of the day, five winners of top poster awards left with $100 checks and were on their way to present their work at the University’s Undergraduate Research Symposium the next day. “You all did a phenomenal job,” said Center Director Jack Gillespie. “You were here for just over two months, but as you move along in your careers, I think you’ll realize just how much you accomplished during your short time at CCM.” Winners of the best poster awards were as follows: • Kevin Ayotte (not pictured)—Penetration Mechanics of UHM WPE Soft Laminates • Matthew Grusenmeyer—Physical Validation of Bonded Metal Attachment Points and Development of FEA Method for CAE Attachment Analysis • Sarah Friedrich—Processing and Electrical Characterization of Nano-Composites for Damage Detection of Composite Joints • Zach Melrose—Processing and Characterization of Nanotube-Reinforced Adhesives for In-Situ Damage Sensing Applications • Maxime Dempah—Sized Nanocomposites: Processing and Characterization Symposium attendees included two high school students, Alexander Johnson and Michael Holt, who participated in the Engineering Cool Stuff camps sponsored by UD’s Engineering Outreach Program earlier this summer. CCM-affiliated members of SAMPE provided tours and lessons about composites to participants in the Cool Stuff camp as well as those in the Delaware Aerospace Academy. Both groups competed in the Space Beam Challenge, which involves building beams that are lightweight yet strong. “The exciting thing is that on the final day of the camp, they have a minisymposium, and many of their inventions included composites, even though the camp covered a broad range of topics,” said Jacob, who coordinated the effort.

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Franhofer ICT Develop Thermoplastic RTM

6th September 2010 0 comments

Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology ICT in Pfinztal have developed a new process technique for large-scale use in vehicle construction. The ICT engineers claim to have developed a process suitable for mass production which makes it possible to manufacture up to 100,000 parts a year. “Our method offers comparatively short production times,« states Dieter Gittel, a project manager at ICT.” The cycle time to produce thermoplastic components is only around five minutes. The Fraunhofer researchers have named their technique thermoplastic RTM (T-RTM). It is derived from the conventional RTM (Resin Transfer Moulding) technique for thermoset fibre composites, where the composite is formed in a single step. “We insert the pre-heated textile structure into a temperature-controlled moulding tool so that the fibre structures are placed in alignment with the anticipated stress. That enables us to produce very lightweight components,” Gittel explains. The preferred types of reinforcement comprise carbon or glass fibres, and the researchers have also developed highly specialized structures. The next step involves injecting the activated monomer melt into the moulding chamber. This contains a catalyst and activator system – chemical substances that are required for polymerization. The researchers can select the system and the processing temperature in a way that enables them to set the minimum required processing time. A demonstration part has confirmed the benefits of this new class of material: the trunk liner for the Porsche Carrera 4 weighs up to 50 percent less than the original aluminium part. To improve the crash behaviour of the vehicle’s overall structure, the ICT engineers also calculated the optimum fibre placement. According to ICT, another advantage of the T-RTM process is that the cost of the thermoplastic matrix material and the cost of its processing are up to 50 percent lower than the equivalent costs for thermoset structures. Over the next few years it is anticipated that these kinds of components will start to be used in vehicle and machine construction as well as in the leisure industry. ICT will be exhibiting the trunk liner for the Porsche Carrera 4 at the Composites Europe fair in Essen from June 14 – 16 (hall 12, stand C33).

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Work begins on UK National Composite Centre

6th September 2010 0 comments

Work has begun on building a new world-class facility in Bristol that will bring together leading industry experts and academics in the growing area of composites research and manufacture. The National Composite Centre (NCC) will be constructed at the Science Park, or S-Park, in Emerson’s Green, between Bristol and Bath, The Centre is collaboration with between the South West Regional Development Agency (SWRDA) and the University of Bristol. So far Vestas, Rolls Royce, AgustaWestland, Airbus UK, and GKN have committed to participate in the centre. It will also forge links with other centres of advanced manufacturing expertise across the UK. The ambition of those behind the NCC is that it will be a one-stop centre of excellence in composites; light-weight, high performance materials that are key to cutting the environmental impact of industries that have traditionally been heavy carbon emitters. As with many environmental measures, increases in efficiency will also deliver cost reductions. The Centre will house leading industry researchers and engineers and provide manufacturing facilities at an industrial scale, capable of building prototypes to validate design concepts and rapid manufacturing processes. This centre will have a cross-sectoral focus. Bristol based contractor Kier Western has been appointed to build the new facility, which is being funded by SWRDA, the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills and the European Regional Development Fund. Patrick Finch, Bursar at the University of Bristol, said: “This marks an important stage in the realisation of the National Composites Centre. A high quality design has been developed by our project team, led by Bristol architects Stride Treglown, as befits the first building to be completed at S-Park. The building is designed to a BREEAM Excellent environmental rating, one of the first industrial buildings in Bristol to achieve this standard. “It will include renewable energy technologies, with a roof incorporating photovoltaic cells to generate solar electricity to help power the Centre.” A fast track construction programme should see the new building completed in spring 2011, with a formal opening later in the year once all plant and equipment is in place. Peter Young, Managing Director of Kier Western, said: “We are delighted to have been selected as construction partner to work alongside the University of Bristol and the delivery team on this strategically important development both for Bristol and the wider economic community of the South West.” The project team also includes Cyril Sweett as project manager and cost consultant, Aecom as services engineer and Halcrow as civil and structural engineers. Alder King advised on site acquisition.

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Boeing Continues Remote Tests on 787

6th September 2010 0 comments

Four of the five Boeing 787 flight test airplanes were conducting remote test operations last week, whilst ZA005 continued testing from its base of operations in Seattle. ZA001, the first 787, is taking a break from operations out of Edwards Air Force Base in California for a week’s worth of testing in Roswell, N.M. This is ZA001’s second visit to Roswell. Last month the airplane conducted wet-runway testing there. Testing in the days ahead will include rejected-takeoff conditions. ZA001 has been on remote deployment to Edwards Air Force Base for several weeks, with a focus on takeoff- and landing-performance conditions. The second 787 is conducting high-latitude and cold-weather testing at Keflavik Airport in Iceland. “”We’ve been watching for the right weather conditions for some time,”” said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the 787 program. “”The team was happy to see the forecast in Iceland met our needs and we deployed to Keflavik earlier this week.”” The hot weather in Yuma, Ariz., with temperatures in excess of 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius), has provided the necessary conditions for another set of tests happening on ZA003. Its deployment is expected to last about another week. ZA004 has spent an extended time operating out of Victorville, Calif., conducting flight loads survey testing. This testing measures external pressure distributions throughout the flight envelope. ZA004 is set to do testing in Glasgow, Mont., after it wraps up its California testing. Artificial ice shapes have been affixed to the leading edges of the wings and horizontal and vertical stabilizer of the fifth 787 to complete another group of tests required for certification. Ice-shape testing verifies the airplane’s performance in the presence of ice. Natural ice testing has already occurred. “”Flight test is staying very busy,”” said Fancher. “”We continue to be very pleased with the performance of the airplane. We’re definitely putting it through its paces, subjecting it to the harshest environments and conditions to ensure it is ready for revenue service.”” The 787 flight test fleet has conducted more than 1,650 hours of flying over more than 540 flights. Boeing has also now said that it now expects delivery of the first 787 in the middle of the first quarter 2011. The delivery date revision follows an assessment of the availability of an engine needed for the final phases of flight test this fall. Boeing said last month that the cumulative impact of a series of issues, including supplier workmanship issues related to the horizontal stabilizer and instrumentation delays, could push first delivery of the 787 a few weeks into 2011. The delay in engine availability has extended that estimate to mid-first quarter 2011.

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JD Lincoln Launches Epoxy-based Surfacing Film

6th September 2010 0 comments

JD Lincoln has launched L-316/11, a new epoxy surface improvement film developed specifically for the manufacture of composite parts when using low pressure vacuum bag processing. The product is designed particularly for one-shot honeycomb structures where print-through of the honeycomb structure can be a major problem. L-316/11, which is formulated to co-cure with most epoxy systems, requires a 250°F (120°C) cure cycle, but can tolerate cycling to 350°F (180°C) and is, therefore, fully compatible with the latest generation of Out-of-Autoclave (OoA) aerospace prepreg systems. According to JD Lincoln, L-316/11 can be applied as a surface layer to fibreglass, aramid, or carbon based laminates where it provides a tough, readily sandable, paint-ready finish. L-316/11 is flame retardant and, as part of an appropriate composite construction, is capable of meeting the requirements of FAR 25.853 (vertical burn). As standard product, L-316/11 is supplied on a polyester veil with a total areal weight of 0.035psf (171gsm), but it can also be supplied in an unsupported format. L-316/11 is also available to order on a number of other substrates, including lightning strike mesh.

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Gurit Inaugurates New Tooling Production Site of Red Maple

6th September 2010 0 comments

Gurit has officially inaugurated the new production campus of Red Maple in Taicang/PR China, which more than doubles the shop floor space of Red Maple, the tooling business of Gurit. The new production campus in Taicang covers an area of over 85,000m2 on which Gurit inaugurated two production halls with a surface area of 6,000m2 each, and allows for the development and manufacture of larger, next-generation blade moulds for wind turbines of up to 7 MW. The two new halls will more than double Gurit’s existing tooling shop floor of 11,500m2 to a capacity of over 24,000m2. The new buildings are designed for the development and the manufacture of blade moulds for wind turbines of up to 7 MW. Each building comprises three production bays, each of them equipped with four 20-ton-overhead cranes to move the moulds for wind turbines of 1.5-7 MW. For the production of master plugs, an additional CNC machine covering a working area of 65m x 7.2m x 5.8m and equipped with dual machining heads will be installed in a dedicated building in the autumn. Also a new administration building will be completed by the same time to provide additional space to the growing organization. The total investment cost is about CHF 15 million.

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Tridak Releases New Diaphragm Valves for Reactive Fluids

6th September 2010 0 comments

The new Tridak Model 475 Series diaphragm valves are designed to be used with low-to-medium viscosity fluids, with the internal design preventing fluid contact with the actuating components, making them suitable for use with reactive fluids such as cyanoacrylates, solvent-based adhesives and coatings. Tridak’s diaphragm valves offer stroke adjustment to dial-in the desired shot volume, and the Model 475 is available in three configurations to allow it to be compatible with a range of materials. All three configurations of the Model 475 are actuated using the Tridak Model 345 valve controller.

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Zyvax Capitalizes on Chinese Manufacturing Vitality

6th September 2010 0 comments

Rapid expansion of Chinese manufacturing in a variety of industries has led to a boom for some U.S. companies including Zyvax, which recently established a distribution channel through a partnership with FRP Services, one of the nation’s largest distributors.

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