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Composites Industry News

News for May 2011


JD Lincoln Relocates to Cater for Business Growth

6th May 2011 0 comments

J.D. Lincoln is relocating its Costa Mesa, CA prepreg and adhesives operations to a new, purpose-built manufacturing facility in Huntington Beach, California. The new facility will be more than double Costa Mesa’s location in size, and will include a significant investment in new processing and testing equipment to accommodate the future growth in the prepreg industry, particularly the aviation segment. Manufacturing operations at the new location are scheduled to commence in the third quarter of 2011, and phasing out of operations in Costa Mesa will start in early 2012.

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JEC 2011 Successful for Airtech Advanced Materials Group

6th May 2011 0 comments

Airtech have declared that their participation at the JEC Composite show was a big success, as the number of visitors at the Airtech booth increased by 40% related to 2010. “”The number of new business opportunities was substantially higher than in the last two years”” Wolfgang Stratmann, the plant manager of Airtech Europe in Luxembourg said. “”The enquiries presented from our customers show that the FRP-materials are on its way to be established in almost all industrial areas. It further shows that Airtech could reinforce its position as a leader in vacuum bagging and composite tooling technology by investing in the right material developments and production methods.”” he continued. Highlight of Airtech’s latest products at the JEC show included innovations such as Beta Prepreg, finalist in the JEC Innovation Awards, based on Benzoxazine resin and toughening technology. For Airtech Europe it was a special participation to the JEC this year as it was a good opportunity to celebrate together with its partners another milestone: 20th Anniversary of Airtech Europe in Luxembourg. In his speech, Bill Dahlgren, the founder of AAMG reaffirmed the commitment of Airtech in the composite market: “”We honour the past, but we always launch the future!””

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Quickstep Secures AD$17.3 Million Funding

6th May 2011 0 comments

Quickstep has secured approximately AU$17.3 million through a Convertible Note Facility with US financier, La Jolla Cove Investors, Inc., together with a share placement to sophisticated and professional investors. Quickstep has entered into the agreement for the issue of convertible notes to the value of US$15 million (approximately AU$14.0 million on current exchange rates) to US-based small-cap financier, La Jolla Cove Investors, Inc. (“”La Jolla””) along with a share placement to sophisticated and professional investors of AU$3.3 million at AU$0.32 per share, including La Jolla and Washington H Soul Pattinson & Co, its largest shareholder. Mr Mark Jenkins, Quickstep’s Chairman, said that “”the Company believes that it needs a mixture of short, medium and long term facilities to meet its financing needs. We have therefore raised AU$3.3 million in immediate equity; US$15 million in medium term equity, to be drawn down over a period of time; and we are currently negotiating a debt facility to support the ongoing needs of our JSF production project. In addition, the NSW Government has, as previously announced, agreed to provide a grant to the Company to assist us to set up our new facility in that State. The funds are slated for the completion of the move to Boeing’s former Bankstown facility; preparation and start of production under the Memorandum of Understanding signed in November 2009 with Northrop Grumman/Lockheed Martin and Marand/Bae Systems, covering 22 years and some AU$700 million of production and commercialisation; and further development of the Quickstep Process for use in the global automotive and aerospace industries. Managing Director of Quickstep, Mr Philippe Odouard, added “”We are confident that our position as the largest independent aerospace composite manufacturer in Australia puts us in an outstanding position to win further substantial defence contracts as demonstrated by the recent signing of the Memorandum of Understanding with Sikorsky.”” On the subject of the Quickstep Process, Quickstep said that they continue to have confidence that the process will play an important and profitable role in the aerospace industry, where they continue to work with global aerospace companies to demonstrate and introduce the benefits of the process.

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Thermoplastic Carbon Fibre Composites Enhance Medical Components

6th May 2011 0 comments

Ensinger has launched a series of highly loaded thermoplastic carbon fibre composites designed for medical components. Stock shapes made using the new Tecatec product series consist of a thermoplastic matrix and a woven fabric of carbon fibre. Ensinger say that the lightweight materials offer good mechanical performance and chemical resistance, and are also radiolucent, making them suited for external fixation devices. Tecatec PEEK CW50 is manufactured using Victrex PEEK, which is then compressed with laminated woven carbon fabric mats, the result of close co-operation between the Ensinger Group and Victrex Polymer Solutions. The two companies have agreed to work closely together on the development and marketing of new applications for PEEK products. The other composite material offered within the Ensinger portfolio is Tecatec PEKK CW60, which consists of a polyetherketoneketone matrix (PEKK), laminated with a 60 per cent carbon fibre fabric. The proprietary manufacturing process is claimed to achieve excellent fibre and matrix integration. Because of its high glass transition point (165C), PEKK is resistant to repeated steam sterilization cycles, while its enhanced carbon fibre component ensures even higher dimensional stability and stiffness. Tecatec is available in plate thicknesses of 3 to 40 mm, with larger dimensions available on request.

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FRP Based Research Project for Industrialised Transport Infrastructures

6th May 2011 0 comments

The Trans-IND project is a European Commission funded 4 year programme dedicated to enabling the industrialisation of components for transport infrastructure using fibre reinforced (FRP) based materials.

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Maine Composites Alliance Awarded Grant from Maine Technology Institute

6th May 2011 0 comments

The Maine Composites Alliance (MCA) has been selected by the Maine Technology Institute (MTI) to receive an award of $489,468 in collaboration with the Maine Wind Industry Initiative and the E2Tech Council to organize, promote and expand Maine’s ocean and wind energy cluster. “”This award will help Maine industries participate in the supply chain to service the on-shore and off-shore wind and hydrokinetic ocean energy development that’s taking place throughout the northeastern United States and Atlantic Canada,”” stated Steve Von Vogt, Executive Director of MCA. MCA and its partners also raised $660,781 as a cash contribution and $107,593 in in-kind contributions in order to qualify for the MTI grant. Over the past decade, Maine has made concerted efforts to build upon its core composites capabilities through investments in research and development via its academic institutions and support for its industries innovating in the development and use of new building materials. “”We congratulate the Maine Composites Alliance on this award,”” added Betsy Biemann, President of Maine Technology Institute. “”MTI’s Cluster Initiative Program works across Maine with industry to help companies and organizations within a particular industry sector come together to create scale and help the whole industry grow. We look forward to seeing the progress of this industry cluster as they work on promoting and expanding Maine’s ocean and wind energy cluster nationally and internationally and by doing so, create good jobs across Maine.”” Von Vogt states, “”The key challenge in many of these efforts is bringing together assets into an efficiently coordinated supply chain. The MTI award will support MCA’s effort to address immediate unmet needs in the ocean and wind energy cluster and expand the lessons and solutions developed through other composite dependent sectors.””

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Focus on Light Weight at VDI Plastics in Automobile Construction Forum

6th May 2011 0 comments

This year’s VDI Plastics in Automobile Construction International Forum took place in Mannheim on April 6 & 7 2011 at the Rosengarten Congress Centre. Some 1300 participants were present and 90 exhibitors showed their companies’ products and services. Some 30 presentations covering a wide variety of topics related to the development and use of plastics and composites in the automobile sector were given. Weight reduction was more than ever a key topic on the automotive industry mind this year. Cars with traditional engines need lower weight to continue the reduction in emissions while the electric cars under development, such as BMW’s Megacity, need significant weight saving to compensate for additional battery weight, sometimes as much as 600kg. The press conference at the VDI Forum this year focused on carbon fibre in the context of light weight vehicle construction. An interesting panel made up of senior managers from SGL, BASF and Audi presented their various perspectives on the way forward for lightweight construction. Dr Jger, Senior Vice President of SGL, spoke of the reasons for SGL’s choice of the State of Washington as the location of their new carbon fibre plant was the cheap cost of hydro-electric power and that it would have been unfeasible for energy cost reasons to put such a plant in Europe. He estimates current global carbon fibre consumption at around 35,000 tons with effective capacity of somewhere around 42,000 tons. Global consumption is expected to rise to some 60-65,000 tons by 2015 of which some 5-6,000 tons will be in automotive applications. SGL expect industrial grade carbon fibre pricing to be some 15/kg. The Audi panel member, Gnter Deinzer, Leader of Audi’s Composite Technology and Property Development, indicated that the car industry needs carbon fibre to be half the level indicated by SGL and processing costs need to be slashed by 90%. He later gave a presentation of the development of carbon fibre composites at Audi. Dr. Willy Hoven-Nievelstein, Senior Vice President Engineering Plastics Europe, talked about some of the resin matrix developments involving caprolactam, which has lower viscosity than epoxy that would help increase the speed of processing of carbon fibre based parts for automotive made via the RTM process. The industry needs cycle times of the order of one minute for the process to be viable. Mr Deinzer indicated that although there have been many claims that cycle times have been significantly reduced, he had yet to see any real industrially proven progress and cycle times are typically still of the order of thirty minutes. In addition to these cost and processing aspects, there were many papers covering a wide range of topics related to future design needs of cars as well as conference sessions on car interiors and exteriors. Dr. Thiemo Erb of Porsche gave an interesting overview of the history of the use of carbon fibre based composites at Porsche. There were also sessions on the use of plastics in engine-related applications as well as a session on trucks which included an overview presentation by Hartmut Hberle of MAN on the use of composites in trucks and buses. Overall this annual conference is a useful and effective way to keep up to date with all the trends in plastics and composites, mainly in the German vehicle industry although there are also presentations by some of the US companies as well. Most papers are in German but simultaneous translation into English is provided. Apart from the conferences, there are numerous opportunities to network during the decent size breaks and the exhibition also provides opportunities to get into more depth on some of the products and services. Without a doubt the global automotive industry is set for many changes in the near future and the German automotive sector with its history of innovation in the use of composite materials is clearly one to watch.

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ACMAs New Thermoset Molders Committee Working to Grow Market

6th May 2011 0 comments

The new Thermoset Molders Committee of the American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA) has been created give thermoset molders, one of the core components of the composites industry, a unified voice and representation working on their behalf. This newest Composites Growth Initiative (CGI) committee will allow compression molders to work together with their suppliers and through ACMA to grow their markets. Marketing, codes and standards and political advocacy are just a few of the initiatives that will benefit member companies of the Thermoset Molders Committee. Thomas J. Meola, chief operating office of Premix, Inc., in North Kingsville, Ohio, and Kevin L. Barnett, president and CEO of Core Molding Technologies, Inc., headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, have volunteered to be co-chairs of this CGI committee. Meola said, “”The Thermoset Molders Committee will provide a great opportunity to bring many thermoset molders together to collaborate on key industry initiatives that will help to strengthen our presence and expand our reach in many markets.”” A strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis of thermoset molding was recently completed at a meeting of the committee in Chicago. The Thermoset Molders Committee will be reconvening in the near future to develop strategies as a result of this SWOT analysis. Important areas that the committee will be focusing on are improving capabilities through materials and process innovation, regulatory issues, thermoset education and communication, marketing and market growth and other significant topics. “”The new Thermoset Molders Committee is an example of how the initiative of ACMA’s members will help to strengthen and grow the entire composites industry through the Composites Growth Initiative,”” said Lori Luchak, president of Miles Fiberglass & Composites and ACMA’s president-elect and treasurer. “”ACMA’s greatest resource is our membership. Because of dynamic and proactive members, we are able to respond to market changes and opportunities that affect all of us. “”

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VN Composites Achieves Weight Reductions Using ACG Prepregs

6th May 2011 0 comments

Prepreg material from Advanced Composites Group Ltd (ACG) is being used by VN Composites to manufacture composite connectors for a Thales Alenia Space satellite application. As part of a continuous programme of development, and increased composite materials uptake, Thales Alenia Space recently replaced metallic rod connectors to further reduce the structural weight of a satellite, thereby allowing an increased payload for the same launch weight. VN Composites developed a special short fibre compression moulding process for the manufacture of these connectors, and have adapted ACGs MTM46 prepreg materials for their production method. VN Composites connectors are now qualified on two Thales Alenia Space telecom satellites.

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Lewcott Corp to Change Name to Barrday Composite Solutions

6th May 2011 0 comments

Barrday Advanced Material Solutions is reorganizing the company into three separate operating divisions, focussing on the Protective products, Composite materials and renewable Energy markets. As part if this, Lewcott Corporation will be changing its name to Barrday Composite Solutions. The headquarters for the Composite Solutions business unit will remain in Millbury Massachusetts. Michael Buck has been named president of the Composite Solutions business unit. Composite Solutions supplies high performance structural and interior materials for aircraft, marine and rail, ablatives, carbon/carbon, radomes, antennae, and a variety of industrial and commercial markets. The new structure is designed to help the company focus more directly and efficiently on supporting its targeted customers needs. Michael Buckstein, Owner and CEO of Barrday, Inc. explains, The new organization is designed to ensure that our targeted industries and customers receive our undiluted attention and effort. It also helps us better integrate Lewcott Corporation and meet our diversification goals. Barrday has a suite of advanced materials and processing technologies from technical fabrics, to advanced prepregs and coatings, to innovative new core materials. We want to focus on those capabilities to help solve technical challenges within our three major targeted markets.

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