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Composites Industry News

News for 2011


Bombardier's Belfast Facility to Manufacture Learjet 85 Aircraft Wing Structures

7th January 2011 0 comments

The development and production of advanced composite wing skin panels and spar components for the new Learjet 85 business jet will be undertaken Bombardier Aerospaces facility in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Final assembly of the wings will take place at Bombardiers production plant in Quertaro, Mexico. Bombardier Aerospace, Belfast will produce the primary wing structures using its Resin Transfer Infusion (RTI) process, currently being developed for the CSeries aircrafts advanced composite wings in Belfast. Expanding this technology to the new Learjet 85 aircraft program will also provide an opportunity to further develop key skills and core competencies in the design and manufacture of advanced composite wings. This new work package will enable us to expand our unique RTI advanced composite process for aircraft wings, as well as build on our abilities in the composites field, said Michael Ryan, Vice President and General Manager, Bombardier Aerospace, Belfast. Given the success we have had to date with our CSeries aircraft demonstrator wing using the RTI technology, we are confident that this process can be further developed, adapted and applied to our Learjet 85 business jet. Production of the wing skins and spars for the Learjet 85 aircraft will take place in the new manufacturing and assembly facility that is currently being constructed in Belfast, where the CSeries aircraft wings will also be manufactured. Developing an aircraft with an extensive use of composite technology requires expertise from various key players in the industry, said Ralph Acs, Vice President, Learjet 85, Bombardier Business Aircraft. Our Belfast facility is a centre of excellence for advanced composite technology giving us access to the latest available processes while leveraging our in-house capabilities in order to develop an aircraft that offers optimal performance, reliability and comfort. Launched on October 30, 2007, the Learjet 85 aircraft will be the first Bombardier Aerospace jet with both fuselage and wing built primarily from carbon composites designed for type certification under U.S. Federal Aviation Administration FAR Part 25.

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Automated Dynamics Awarded Contract by Concordia University

7th January 2011 0 comments

Automated Dynamics is developing an automated fibre placement (AFP) robotic workcell for Concordia Universitys Concordia Center for Composites (CONCOM). The six-axis robot will fabricate simple to complex geometries, including cones, flat laminates, open and closed sections with convex and/or concave shapes, triangles, box beams, cylinders, ovals and more. Automated Dynamics leading-edge processing technology and fibre placement equipment will be the centerpiece of the CONCOM research and development facility, says Dr. S.V. Hoa, director, CONCOM. We are well respected in this field of research and now this technology and composite processing places Concordia University among the world-class leaders designing and fabricating composite structures for industry, government and defense applications throughout Quebec and across Canada. The Automated Dynamics robot features an articulated arm platform with interchangeable processing heads: 4-tape (.25 inch wide each), individual tape control, processing head for thermoset (epoxy) composite materials and a single tape (.250-.50 inch wide) processing head for thermoplastic composite materials. The robot also features a separate spindle to accommodate tools up to 6,000 pounds, with a work envelope of 48 inch OD by 10 feet long. Equipment to be delivered with the robotic workcell includes a large, electric tool extractor capable of a pull force of 40,000 pounds for removing mandrels (tools) from the fabricated composite structure. Proprietary in-line and off-line software programs the robot and processing head using a PC to place the fibre-reinforced, pre-preg composite tape on a metal tool in any orientation from zero- to 180-degrees layer (ply) by layer (ply). Were excited to be building this versatile machine for Concordia University, says Jim Harty, vice president, Sales and Marketing, Automated Dynamics. Our ability to tailor automation of fibre placement and tape laying equipment provide production-ready solutions for our clients, supporting their efforts to research and develop low-cost, high-volume composite structures. Automated Dynamics has also completed registration to AS9100, the standardized quality management system for the aerospace industry. The designation is the result of the company passing stringent audit requirements and evaluations of its manufacturing processes to achieve a standard of quality required in the aerospace industry. “”Becoming AS9100 certified reflects Automated Dynamics’ commitment to continuous improvement and marks the culmination of our effort to facilitate advanced aerospace production activities,”” said Robert J. Langone, president, Automated Dynamics.

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LISA Airplanes Akoya Aircraft uses ACGs VTM Prepregs

7th January 2011 0 comments

VTM260 Series prepreg materials Advanced Composites Group are being used by French Aircraft manufacturer LISA Airplanes to manufacture the wings, fuselage and a multitude of smaller lightweight composite components for their two-seater, single engine Akoya pleasure/business plane. ACGs prepregs help the Akoya consumes a meagre 5litres of fuel per 100km, meaning that LISA Airplanes has achieved one of its prime objectives – to combine economy with performance. The Akoya is equipped with technology that enables it to land on water, ground and snow with the same ease and without prior modification. ULM (Ultra Light Motorised) licensed pilots enjoy the flexibility of this facility and the broad possibilities of travel that it gives. Measuring 6.9m (22.6ft) long, and having a wingspan of 11m (36ft), the Akoya can be readily stored in a garage; a unique design characteristic permits the wings to be folded backwards to give a total width of only 3.2m (10.5ft). ACGs VTM260 epoxy resin prepregs series, which can be used for both component and tooling applications, are an established generation of long out life, flexible cure temperature formulations that can be applied to a wide range of reinforcements, and adapted to a variety of low cost vacuum-bag composite processes. This series offers extended out life up to 30 days, an essential characteristic for large-scale projects such as the Akoya plane.

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AKSA to Invest US$ 65 million on Second Carbon Fibre Production Line

7th January 2011 0 comments

AKSA is to further its investment in carbon fibre as a strategic raw material for the 21st century and will more than double its carbon fibre production capacity by 2012. The Board decided that the annual capacity of the existing line should be improved by 300 tons, and that a 65-million-dollar investment be made to erect a second Carbon Fibre production line, with a nominal capacity of 1.700 tons/year, and that the new line be commissioned by July, 2012. AKSA had previously, during 2008-2009, made a US$ 85 million investment in carbon fibre technology and initial production facility, entirely engineered by Turkish engineers. The formal opening of the plant was made by Turkeys Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on July 23, 2010. Playing an influential role in world markets in acrylic fibre with its market share of 12,5%, and aiming to achieve the same success for carbon fibre sold world-wide under its AKSACA brand, AKSA has pressed the button for erection of its second carbon fibre production plant. The Board of Directors of AKSA decided to make a capacity increasing investment to its first carbon fibre line, which has a capacity of 1.500 tons/year and and which is currently operating at full capacity, and to erect a second carbon fibre line with a capacity of 1.700 tons/year, in line with its target of achieving 10% market share by 2020 in carbon fibre. Mustafa Yilmaz, Member of the Board of Directors and General Manager of AKSA Akrilik Kimya Sanayi says: our Board of Directors decided to increase its investments in field of carbon fibre, which, we believe, would be one of strategic industries our country, thanks to its high value-added. The Board decided that, first of all, a 7-million-dollar investment be made for enhancing the existing lines capacity by 300 tons/year and that such additional capacity be commissioned for commercial production by November, 2011; and that a 65-million-dollar investment be made for a second carbon fibre production line with a capacity of 1.700 tons/year and that such new line be commissioned for commercial production by July, 2012. We aim to enhance the domestic market as well as to participate in world markets, and, thus, to achieve the same market share in carbon fibre as we have in acrylic fibre.

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New Direct Sizing System for E-Glass Yarns

7th January 2011 0 comments

Building on its experience with its S-2 Glass direct-sized products, AGY has developed a new direct sizing system, called 947, for E-Glass yarns used primarily in aerospace applications. Fibres with 947 sizing can be woven into fabric and used in composite applications without additional finishing. AGY say that yarns produced with the new 947 sizing have significantly higher tensile strengths than their counterparts coated with traditional oil and starch sizes. According to AGY, because fabrics made from 947-coated yarns need not undergo the damaging heat treatments or other cleaning processes that can erode fabric integrity, they can contribute considerably more strength to the composite materials into which they are incorporated. Uni-directional standard general purpose epoxy laminates manufactured with this fibre have an ASTM 3039 tensile strength of 200 ksi (1379 MPa), a 40% improvement over traditional E-Glass yarns; and an ASTM D3410 compressive strength of 125 ksi (862 MPa), a 45% improvement over traditional E-Glass yarns. This new sizing system will provide our aerospace customers with new opportunities to remove weight from traditional composite products, said Drew Walker, AGY Vice President of Sales and Marketing. 947 has been developed for a wide range of applications. It is compatible not only with epoxy and phenolic resins but also with thermoplastics. It even has the potential to be used in the development of hybrid glass and carbon fibre fabrics. The new sizing system is initially available on AGYs DE75 yarn that is used primarily in aerospace fabrics and will soon be offered in other yarns as well.

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New Sectors to be Addressed by Composites Engineering Show in 2011

7th January 2011 0 comments

Building on their success in 2010, the Aero Engineering and Composites Engineering Shows are set to become even more crucial events in the UK engineering calendar this year. Co-located in 2011 at the NEC, Birmingham, on the 9th and 10th November, each will continue to provide a technology showcase and business forum for these crucial UK advanced engineering sectors, with major new expansion in exhibitors, visitors and content. They will also benefit from the synergies provided by two new co-locating events addressing the UKs advanced engineering capabilities: Energy Engineering 2011, and the Plastic Electronics Show 2011. Following its hugely successful launch in September 2010, the Composites Engineering Show expands further in 2011 to consolidate its place as the UKs only annual exhibition showcase of suppliers and partners to the UKs rapidly growing composites design and manufacturing industries. 2011 has already been enjoying an impressive exhibitor booking rate, with organisations offering products and solutions across: raw materials; semi-finished products; design, analysis, simulation and processing technologies; composite parts, components and structures; equipment and ancillary services such as machining, tooling, joining, finishing, curing, testing and so on; as well as maintenance and recycling technologies. Also new for 2011, attendees can listen to expert presentations on composites design and manufacturing, within a two-day programme of applications sessions delivered by composites customer groups, industry stakeholders, and in association with leading industry bodies, addressing: energy and renewables; automotive/mass transit; motorsport; defence; construction and civil engineering; medical/healthcare; aerospace/aviation; performance sports and leisure; plus consumer and industrial products. Showcasing all levels of the UK composites value chain contributing to high volume consumer products through to high performance advanced engineered products, the show is intended for design, materials and manufacturing engineers from aerospace to automotive, motorsport, marine, civil engineering, defence, medical, energy, consumer and industrial products and so much more. With integrated B2B meetings, open technology forums and UK Strategic Briefing, the 2011 event is set to be the focal point for the UK composites sector. The two new co-locating shows, Energy Engineering 2011 and the Plastic Electronics Show will ensure an interdisciplinary forum of technology and business opportunities across some of the UKs most important high growth advanced engineering sectors Aerospace, Composites, Energy Generation and Plastic Electronics. Ian Stone states: Collectively hosted to form UK Advanced Engineering 2011, the four shows will provide a hugely synergetic showcasing of current and future technology, innovation and supply chain partners, supported by key business briefing and B2B networking opportunities. The UKs future lies in advanced engineering and innovation. The challenge is ensuring that value chain partners, available technologies and supply chains are harnessed to deliver continuing commercial success for UK industry at home and abroad. UK Advanced Engineering 2011 will be a key facilitator providing a concentrated, energized annual platform for technical advancement and commercial supply chain capability and development in several high growth critical individual engineering sectors, at the same time encouraging vital cross-sector dialogue, technology and commercial transfer.

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Boeing Resumes 787 Flight Testing

7th January 2011 0 comments

Boeing has resumed flight test activities on the 787 Dreamliner, having installed an interim version of updated power distribution system software and confirmed the flight readiness of ZA004, the first of the six flight test airplanes that will return to flight. “”Initially, we will resume a series of Boeing tests that remain to be completed in the flight test program. That testing will be followed later by a resumption of certification testing,”” said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the 787 program. Today’s testing will include an intentional deployment of the Ram Air Turbine (RAT), which is a small turbine that is deployed when back-up power is required. In the last several weeks, the company continued ground testing as part of the certification program. Additional ground testing will be done by the company on the production version of the airplane to further verify performance of the changes being made. “”As we return to flight test and determine the pace of that activity, we remain focused on developing a new program schedule,”” Fancher added. “”We expect to complete our assessment of the program schedule in January.”” Flight testing of the 787 was suspended last month following an in-flight electrical incident on a test flight in Laredo, Texas.

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European Commission Proposes Duties of 13.8% on Chinese Glass Fibre

7th January 2011 0 comments

Following the European Commission regulation imposing provisional import duties of 43.6% on certain glass fibre originating in China, results of the ongoing investigation mean that the Commission is now proposing duties of 13.8%, as of 16th of March 2011. Additionally, the proposal excludes yarns from the proceedings. According to EuCIA, since the notification of the provisional measures of 43.6%, a high number of composites users and associations jointly questioned the investigation and the initial conclusions. In the light of the new proposal from the Commission and the proposed definitive duties of 13.8%, they continue to highlight that import duties should not have been imposed at all in the first place. Definitive duties are still not decided, and EuCIA encourages interested parties to get in contact with national governments and associations as soon as possible.

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International Business Directory Bio-based Plastics and Composites

7th January 2011 0 comments

In spring 2011, iBIB2011, the first ever international directory of major suppliers of bio-based plastics and composites, will be published as a means of opening up a range of new customers to companies in the bio-materials sector. The aim of iBIB2011 is to put industrial suppliers and customers in contact with each other. Two major characteristics of new markets such as bio-based plastics and composites are insider knowledge and a lack of transparency, which prevent the sector from developing as quickly as it might. The iBIB2011 is designed to help firms to find the best bio-based solutions available worldwide. The market for bio-based plastics and composites continues to grow and is now predominantly international, so this new edition will be entirely in English and contain information about companies, associations and R&D from every continent. nova-Institut has already published the BIB09 and BIB2010 Business Directories, distributing over 10,000 copies in print and PDF formats to potential industrial customers. Both publications were principally aimed at the German- speaking market, but in response to considerable demand from North and South America as well as Asia, next years directory will appear in an expanded, exclusively English-language edition. The aim is to reach about 20,000 potential clients through the combined print and PDF versions. The cost of a double page in the iBIB2011 including an entry in the iBIB2011-online database is 1,000 (plus VAT, where applicable) for companies. Research institutes and associations pay 700 plus VAT for a single page, which also includes an online database entry. The deadline for registration is 15th January 2011.

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Using Composites for Traffic Bridges Could Save Time and Money

7th January 2011 0 comments

Extensive use of advanced composite materials glass and /or carbon fibre reinforced polymers could be the answer to building bridges in half the time, thereby dramatically reducing costs and traffic flow disruption during construction without altering the structural reliability of the completed bridges. New research led by Dr Wendel Sebastian, Senior Lecturer in Structural Engineering in the Department of Civil Engineering at Bristol University, is looking at the use of advanced composite decks for traffic bridges. Bridges using advanced composites for the deck and/or the main beams have been built in the USA, UK and Spain. However, despite its obvious advantages, this novel bridge technology is not yet normal practice within modern bridge engineering. A key issue is that very little research has been carried out examining the weathering of the composite materials and how they react to the loads bridges have to carry, especially where fatigue performance is concerned. The research team have constructed and are testing a prototype of a large-scale bridge with composite decking at the Universitys structures laboratory. The model, which is eight metres long and 3.7 metres wide, comprises ASSET composite decking spanning across pre-tensioned concrete (PTC) main beams. The PTC beams match the corrosion resistance of the decking and also improve stiffness. One innovation is that only adhesive connections have been used between deck units and to connect the deck to the main beams, which simplifies and speeds up construction. The prototype will be subjected to over 100 million cycles of full-scale, code-specified fatigue wheel loading. The large plan area of deck will investigate the effects on deck performance of different anti-skid surfacings. Finally, the model will be loaded to failure. The results from the testing and from advanced computer models of the test specimen will underpin design guidelines for short- and long-term actions of this innovative bridge form. Dr Sebastian said: Due to their low weights, high stiffness and high strength, advanced composites are leading to a new generation of lighter and more fuel-efficient aircraft such as Airbus A350, and also Boeings 787 Dreamliner which is heading towards 20 per cent better fuel efficiency than traditional aircraft. We would like to achieve an equivalent transformation in Civil Engineering, with advanced composites underpinning step changes in the economics, sustainability and structural performance of road bridges. The project is supported by the Highways Agency, the Institution of Civil Engineers, Network Rail, Mouchel, Tarmac and Weber.

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