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Composites Industry News

News for June 2011


SAMPE 2011 Breaks All Attendance Records

2nd June 2011 0 comments

SAMPE 2011 closed last week having seen the largest attendance records yet.

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A350XWB to Use ACG Out-of Autoclave Prepreg

7th June 2011 0 comments

MTM44-1 prepreg from Advanced Composites Group (ACG) will now be used for the manufacture of wing panels on the Airbus A350 XWB jetliner, marking the first use of OoA processing in a commercial aircraft structure. Manufacture is presently at the ramp up stage and full production is expected to begin in late 2011. MTM44-1 was extensively used in the EU funded ‘ALCAS’ (Advanced Low Cost Aircraft Structures) program. Led by Airbus and Dassault Aviation, this programme was aimed at defining the design and technologies for low cost aircraft structures. MTM45-1 and MTM46 are widely used for the manufacture of structural components in military aircraft, UAV’s and general aviation. MTM47, ACG’s latest OoA prepreg development, is said to offer enhanced compression performance comparable with 180°C autoclave systems, combined with excellent hot/wet open-hole compression behaviour. ACG will feature its Out-of-Autoclave (OoA) technology for aerospace structures at the Paris Air Show between the 20th and 26th June 2011.

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Momentive Specialty Chemicals Completes Sale of North American Composites and Coatings Business

7th June 2011 0 comments

Momentive Specialty Chemicals has completed the sale of its North American composites and coating resins business to PCCR USA, a subsidiary of Investindustrial, a European investment group with operations in specialty chemicals, resins and intermediates. The business includes manufacturing locations in Carpentersville, Illinois, Ennis, Texas, Forest Park, Georgia, and Lynwood, California. The business has annual sales of approximately $230 million and employs 225 associates.

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Quickstep Commissions First Plant

7th June 2011 0 comments

Quickstep has commissioned its first industrialised production-ready manufacturing plant that will be available for customers to purchase as a ‘turn-key’ off-the-shelf product. The new plant, called a QS-E250, represents Quickstep’s first commercial production-ready machine, and has been designed with a number of key enhancements to provide customers with a standardised product that offers a streamlined automated manufacturing solution as well as enabling high-level craftsmanship; high reliability; ease of use and maintenance; as well as lower costs and faster cycle times. Managing Director of Quickstep, Mr Philippe Odouard, said the machine is expected to bring significant cost efficiencies and enhanced performance characteristics for aerospace, defence, automotive and ballistics manufacturing. “Quickstep’s patented out-of-autoclave technology has been demonstrated to deliver a number of significant benefits in composites manufacturing, including low capital cost for set-up, significantly faster and more energy-efficient manufacturing, improved material properties of the end product, and the ability to produce complex parts as one integrated unit , which could offer major cost savings by eliminating bolts and rivets,” he said. “This new QS-E250 machine provides customers with the ability to purchase a ready-made industrialised Quickstep plant that can then be coupled to a Quickstep tooling solution to suit individual customer needs. The new machine is cheaper, has a significantly simpler operating system and offers increased flexibility for different processing applications and cure cycles than earlier plants. Customers can order multiple machines that have a standardised interface and operating profile to deliver a consistent and reliable manufacturing solution across their operations. “ “This machine represents the coming of age of Quickstep’s manufacturing technology, enabling it to be introduced into manufacturing facilities around the world in a ‘turn-key’ form ready to connect to the many Quickstep tool solutions. In essence, we aim to provide a machine that offers a range of proven manufacturing ‘recipes’ or formulas our customers can follow to meet their specific manufacturing requirements,” Mr Odouard continued. The patented Quickstep Process is an ‘out-of-autoclave’ composites manufacturing technique that uses a unique fluid-based technology for the curing or even partial curing and joining of composite materials. It works by trapping the laminate between a free floating rigid or semi-rigid mould that floats in a Heat Transfer Fluid (HTF). The mould and laminate are separated from the circulating HTF by a flexible membrane or bladder. The HTF can then be rapidly heated and then cooled to cure the laminate. The new machine operates on the same technical principles and has the same basic features as past models, however key enhancements include more precise control over the ramp rates and a faster response to exothermic reaction.

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AGY Increase Price of E-Glass Yarn

7th June 2011 0 comments

AGY are increasing the price of its E-Glass yarn products by 5% for any shipments on or after the 1st July 2011. “We have always invested in new product development and more efficient processing technologies. We take this step to ensure that AGY can continue to invest in the resources necessary to service customer requirements, not only today but also in the future,” said Drew Walker, AGY Vice President of Sales and Marketing.

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Araldite Specified in Motor Cruiser Construction

7th June 2011 0 comments

Araldite 2015 has been exclusively specified in the construction of the Neptys First Life 27, a semi rigid power boat made from a vinyl ester infusion. Because of its length, 8.5m, and speed, 50 knots plus, the Neptys First Life 27 is subject to impact and vibrations and needs an adhesive combination that could withstand the stress of the environmental conditions at sea. One of the key objectives for the boat’s construction was to find a solution that would not involve the use of machinery in the dosing and application process. After prototypes were made with RenShape BM 5460, the project moved on to the assessment of adhesives and samples of the vinyl ester infusion to be bonded were sent to Huntsman’s laboratories at Basel in Switzerland, where the Material Testing Department took these along with the specified marine qualification criteria to conduct an extensive characterisation capabilities evaluation programme. Testing equipment was used to identify a formulation capable of providing good reactivity for the materials used in the boat’s construction and Araldite 2015 was recommended based on its ability to meet the performance characteristics. Araldite 2015 is a two component epoxy adhesive paste that cures at room temperature. According to Huntsman, the designers found that this adhesive provided better reactivity, efficiency and overall quality of design as well as offering resistance to water, humidity and chemicals. This allows the Neptys First Life 27 to withstand the impact of speeds up to 99 km per hour. Araldite 2015’s 25 minute work life at 23°C were appropriate for the necessary timescales the designer had set for bonding the deck to the hull, including the internal components. Particularly important in the decision making process was the need for a medium time for bonding application, low price and less odour during application and polymerisation. Commenting, Olivier Philippot, Engineer in Composite Materials, said, “Working closely with Huntsman’s laboratories, it soon became apparent that Araldite 2015 was the best product available for bonding vinyl ester, delivering guaranteed strength, optimum performance and increased durability. Following the efficient application of the adhesive, the quality of the bonds was tested under rigorous conditions to guarantee that the product could withstand high levels of force and impact whilst travelling at high speeds on the sea. It was at this juncture that Araldite 2015’s exceptional track record in marine applications shone through and we were more than satisfied with its performance.”

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Oxeon Aligns all Spread Tow Products under TeXtreme

7th June 2011 0 comments

Oxeon has consolidated all of its spread tow products under the brand TeXtreme. In the past, Oxeon has marketed its products separately as spread tow tapes and spread tow fabrics. Andreas Martsman, Vice President of Oxeon, says, “TeXtreme is used to make ultra light composites, no matter what kind of Spread Tow Reinforcement our customers are using. We have made this change to accentuate the point that TeXtreme enables us to offer an optimized reinforcement for each specific product, no matter which variant is chosen”.

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Saertex MultiCom Expands Production Capacities

7th June 2011 0 comments

Saertex MultiCom is expanding the facilities of its Saerbeck plant to meet with the increases in orders they have received in recent years. New operating premises are gradually being built on the Saertex-owned neighbouring property with its 25,000 square metres, including 11,000 square metres of manufacturing and office space. After the beginning of construction in September 2010, the first phase has now been completed, covering some 4,500 square metres. This first hall will focus on the impregnation of pipe liners and will have three impregnation lines. “The new, third impregnation line will be set up first. As well as gaining an enormous increase in production capacity, this new and larger facility will enable us to impregnate GRP pipe liners of up to DN 1500,” says Norbert Osterhoff, Operations Manager at Saertex MultiCom.

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VISTAGY’s FiberSIM Software Develops Composite Wind Turbine Blades

7th June 2011 0 comments

Nordex, a wind turbine manufacturer, has purchased FiberSIM to enhance the transfer of data between design and analysis of their wind turbine blades. Nordex is using FiberSIM to develop detailed ply designs, accurate flat patterns and manufacturing output, and complete documentation for the engineering release. The software will enable Nordex to enhance the automation of its product development process and optimize assembly glue gaps, as well as integrating with their existing CAD system to aid design and manufacturing. “Transferring data between design and analysis can be extremely time-consuming,” said Hendrik Klein, Chief Designer in the Nordex Rotor Blade Division. “But during the testing phase we recognized that if we had a design tool that had a seamless interface to our CAE analysis tools, it would enable us to significantly reduce the product development cycle. FiberSIM also enhances the automation of our development processes, helps us improve blade quality, and alleviates time-consuming reworks in the factory.” “We’re very pleased that Nordex, one of the premier names in wind energy, has recognized the value of FiberSIM,” said Dr. Olivier Guillermin, Director of Product & Market Strategy for Vistagy. “As the wind industry moves toward bigger and more complex blade designs, we’re seeing a maturation of the wind blade engineering process worldwide, and Vistagy’s products and services are playing a key role in that development.”

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Alpha Composites Secures AS9100 Revision C Certification

7th June 2011 0 comments

Alpha Composites have been awarded the AS9100 Revision C Certification, the quality management system specifically written to meet Aerospace industry production and manufacturing standards, by Lloyds Register Quality Assurance. Ian O’Dell, Joint Managing Director said: “This is excellent news for everyone at Alpha Composites. As a specialist company in the design and manufacture of high quality carbon composite components for global industries including defence, renewables, security, sports and leisure markets, the AS9100 certification does give a competitive edge to our marketing, allowing us to expand into the broader Aerospace sector.” Alpha Composites have also adopted the SC21 change management system which they believe will work in tandem with the AS9100 to help motivate staff by defining their key roles and responsibilities. Formal introduction to SC21 has already taken place with staff, and apart from cost savings through less waste and improved efficiency, Alpha Composites are optimistic that customers will also benefit from a more standardised approach to quality, delivery and service, with improved customer and supplier relationships building a team approach to meeting customers’ needs Kevin Higham, Joint Managing Director added: “There are clear indications that there are new market opportunities as the AS9100 and SC21 standards increasingly becomes a customer requirement in the Aerospace sector. Registration to AS9100 and SC21 demonstrates that we have an effective quality management system that satisfies the rigours of an independent, external audit and addresses the additional safety, reliability and quality concerns specific to the Aerospace industry”.

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