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The American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA) announced the “Best of Show” and other Awards for Composites Excellence (ACE) at Composites+Polycon 2009 during the show’s awards luncheon.
The highest composites industry award, as determined by a panel of industry judges, The Best of Show Award was presented to Berry Plastics Corporation, Tapes and Coatings Division, Franklin, Mass., for its X-Flex Composite Blast Protection System. An advanced composite film tape, in widths up to 48 inches wide, X-Flex is used on interior surfaces of external walls to protect occupants from catastrophic events such as a bomb blast or flying debris from hurricanes or tornados. It is constructed of an aramid scrim fabric sandwiched between two layers of an extruded polyurethane film and features a peel-and-stick adhesive. X-Flex was developed through a research and development partnership between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (ERDC) and the Engineered Protective Systems group of Berry Plastics Corporation.
“”This is the first elastomeric peel and stick composite material system for application to exterior brick and concrete block walls of buildings to protect our troops by giving the walls ductility and strength to mitigate debris hazards resulting from a blast event,”” says Gordon Brown, consultant to Berry Plastics, who accepted the ACE award for the company. “”The precursor to developing this product can be traced back to the ACMA’s earlier research with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that demonstrated the suitability of composite materials for seismic retrofit applications of unreinforced brick and concrete block walls. My involvement in that project led me to work more recently with the Army Corps of Engineers (ERDC) and Berry Plastics in developing this new composite material system for blast resistance.””
Lighter weight and more flexible than traditional materials, the tape has the ability to move with and remain adhered to walls and provides the tensile strength necessary to contain pressures and minimize wall deflection during a blast. The peel-in-stick feature enables easy installation— without the need for electricity, complicated application equipment or any safety gear, allowing for existing structures to be retrofitted at a reasonable cost and in a timely fashion–ideal for the forward deployed war fighter. The award was sponsored by AOC and Composites One.
Selected by convention attendees, the highly popular People’s Choice Award, also sponsored by AOC and Composites One, was presented to Ashley Industrial Molding, Inc., Ashley, Ind., for its JDWW 8030 Hood Assembly. This John Deere tractor hood features a four-piece assembly compression molded from a soy-based SMC material. The SMC hood replaces an injection moulded hood that could not handle the heat of the Tier-3 Diesel engine. It offers lighter weight and greater styling capabilities than a hood made from metal and allows for a simpler, less time- consuming assembly. The SMC tractor hood provides farmers with a more stable tractor hood that does not warp or distort from the extreme heat of the modern diesel engine. The use of the soy-based composite material demonstrates that crops can be used in applications other than just food production.
Awards for outstanding merit were given in three categories sponsored by AOC and Composites One, including:
The Most Creative Application Award was presented to The AEWC Composites Center, University of Maine, Orono, Maine, for its Recyclable Composite Panel for Temporary Shelters. In their initial application, the wood, glass fibre and polymer panels provide blast and disaster protection in temporary structures. When the structure has outlived its planned useful life, the glass fibre-reinforced thermoplastic materials can be removed, chopped and formed into mouldable panels used to make new products, including personal protective equipment for military and civilian personnel. The thermoplastic polymer can be reprocessed with relatively low energy use, thus minimizing the environmental footprint of the process.
The Infinite Possibility Award, which demonstrates the potential to significantly increase the use of composites in existing or developing markets, was presented to Composites Advantage, Dayton, Ohio, for its Drop-In-Place FRP Bridges. This is the first integrated drop-in-place FRP bridge system. Unlike conventional FRP decks on steel or concrete beams, this bridge superstructure consists of prefabricated panels with integrally moulded beams and deck, using a proprietary infusion process. This system eliminates the connection joints between deck and beams, reducing potential structural problems. Because the system prefabricates more bridge components into one piece, cost premiums for composites are reduced. Road closure times and detour costs are reduced since the system can be delivered and placed more quickly. The system may be used for vehicular, pedestrian or portable bridges.
The Process Innovation Award was presented to Molded Fiber Glass Companies, Ashtabula, Ohio, for its 2009 Pontiac Solstice Coupe Rear Floor Assembly (trunk), the product that demonstrated the most innovative production method to increase production rate and volume while maintaining quality. This one-piece compression moulded composite trunk relies on proprietary nano technology to achieve a special SMC with a specific gravity of 1.5. It provides storage, attachments points for outer body panels, hardware attachments for electrical components and air ducts, replacing multiple metal stampings, thus reducing mass and tooling costs. Lower mass translates to improved fuel efficiency. Because it’s made from composite materials, the trunk is corrosion resistant, an important feature for the underside of the vehicle, which is exposed to environmental elements. All materials on this assembly were tested and approved to General Motors GMP-UP-032 specification.
Awards for outstanding merit were given in two categories sponsored by Ashland Specialty Chemical: The Award for Technical Innovation for Corrosion Application was awarded to Kenway Corporation, Augusta, Maine, for its FRP Abrasion/Corrosion Resistant Blind Flange. The composite flange, which is used in a flue gas desulfurization (FGD) project, demonstrates the effectiveness of using an innovative vacuum infusion technology to reduce manufacturing and labour costs associated with producing large components that can warp during open moulding. Using nano-technology additives to control the exotherm and vacuum infusion technology, Kenway showed it can manufacture significantly larger components, in length, width, and thickness, controlling the gel time until full laminate infusion has occurred, and then manage the cure process to avoid the traditional pitfalls of excessive exotherm. The manufacturing process for the flange not only eliminated the costly post-machining but reduced manufacturing labor by more than 65 percent. This innovation further enhances the advantages of composites for corrosion resistant applications and demonstrates the manufacturing and labor savings of using composites to replace other materials.
The Innovation in Green Composites Technology, the newest of the ACE Awards, was presented to the Bradley Corporation, Menomonee Falls, Wis., for its Bradley Express MG-2 Lavatory System. The award, given to the products that use green materials, demonstrate green processes or promote green performance, was awarded to Bradley for its “green” hand washing solution. Easy to install, use and clean, the lavatory has a no-touch infared activation sensor to promote water conservation and cleanliness. Its nDite technology uses photovoltaic cells to power the unit without batteries or electricity. Additionally, the moulded solid surface material, Terreon RE, is eco-friendly using 25 percent pre-consumer recycled material and bio-based resin.
The Awards for Excellence (ACE) are presented each year at Composites+Polycon, ACMA’s annual conference and trade show. ACE is the composites industry premier product award competition hosted by ACMA to recognize technology achievement, salute excellence in composites manufacturing, and advancements in product development.
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