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Excellence & Innovation Award Winners at Composites & Polycon 2007

  • Wednesday, 24th October 2007
  • Reading time: about 5 minutes

Composites Manufacturing (CM) magazine and the American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA) announced the 2007 Excellence & Innovation Award winners at Composites & Polycon 2007, partly sponsored by NetComposites.

The awards recognize outstanding achievements by individuals as well as companies in seven separate categories, including: plant or project management, production supervisor, manufacturing employee, composites engineering, environmental health and safety, community stewardship, and manufacturing process.

Winners of the award for Excellence in Plant/Project Management were the leaders of the team that developed the new 2008 Yamaha WaveRunner NanoXcel hull, deck and liner. Terry VanHyfte of the Molding Products Division of the Interplastic Corporation, South Bend, IN, and Harold Wallace of Yamaha Motors Corporation, Newnan, Ga., assembled a team that created compression moulded WaveRunner parts using low-density SMC that could satisfy performance needs (scratch resistance, durability, longevity, colour) yet be moulded and processed on existing equipment.

Tim Vanek, production supervisor for Dynamic Fabricators, Rathdrum, Idaho, received the E&I for Excellence as a Production Supervisor based on his years of committed service and professional growth for a company that has seen many changes, including a successful ownership transition and compliance and enforcement issues. As a team leader, he played a significant role in establishing and upholding a high standard for safety, recently celebrating a one-year anniversary for no time lost among workers.

For Excellence as a Manufacturing Employee, the award went to Mark Becker and Stahlin Non-Metallic Enclosures Hand Layup Group, Belding, Mich., Lead manufacturing employee, Becker was first to detect a design defect in the initial production runs of a new free-standing large industrial enclosure, noticing that the enclosure could tip forward if the doors were opened prior to its installation. He assisted the engineering staff in developing a stabilizing method and stickers for the outside of the doors to warn customers and avert potential safety risks.

The Air Force Research Laboratory, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, took the E&I for Innovation in Composites Engineering for successfully leading the Composites Affordability Initiative (CAI), the largest composites program in the Department of Defense (DoD), launched to reduce the cost and risk of applying composites to military aircraft. A multi-disciplinary team led by Dr. John Russell, Mr. Richard Holzwarth, Dr. Frances Abrams, and Dr. Stephen Clay , demonstrated that large integrated and bonded composite structures can be applied for primary load bearing structures. CAI hardware is now flying on the C-17 main landing gear doors, and CAI analysis tools are being used to size several commercial and military aircraft.

This year’s E&I for Excellence in Environmental, Health and Safety Practices went to Alcan Baltek’s Northvale, N.J. manufacturing team for their success at reducing workplace injuries and ensuring a safe and healthy environment for all stakeholders. The Northvale location, acquired by Alcan Baltak in 2003, quickly met aggressive targets for reducing safety risks and incidents by establishing and implementing training programs, policies and workplace incentives. The team coordinated periodic internal and external audits, defined and put in place personal protection equipment and training, and established safety committees. At the time of its nomination for the award, the Northvale facility had already recorded 251 days with no lost time accidents, demonstrating its dedication and successful implementation of Alcan Baltak’s EHS First program.

Gruber Systems Inc., Valencia, Calif., garnered the E&I for Community Stewardship for its civic pride and many years of dedicated service to Los Angeles County. From its president and CEO and Chairman John Hoskinson, to its Gruber Go-Getters (as the employees like to refer to themselves), Gruber Systems continue to serve its community. Its president has served on the board of local universities, community centres, and local hospitals, as well as spearheaded numerous local United Way campaigns. Employees have whole heartedly participated in several annual activities, including Red Cross blood drives, fundraisers for the American Cancer Society, the Boys & Girls Club, and the local United Way campaign, for which they raise more than $50,000 each year—matched by an additional corporate contribution.

For Innovation in Manufacturing Process, the E&I was awarded to LRM Industries, for its production of large, long-fibre-reinforced structural thermoplastic parts. LRM developed an innovative manufacturing process known as TPF Thermoplastic Flowforming technology that can produce intricately detailed unitary parts with non-constant cross sections at scales up to 100 square feet and 200 pounds. The technology already is being used in commercial and military applications, including prototype thermoplastic composite shelters for the U.S. Air Force. The beam, one of the world’s largest unitary thermoplastic composite parts, earned LRM the 2006 Building & Construction Award from the Alliance of Plastics Processors (APP) and the Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI).

“We are grateful to the following ACMA member companies for their generous sponsorship of this year’s E&I awards program: AOC, Arkema, Ashland, Composites One, Norac, PLA, and NetComposites,” said Tom Dobbins, ACMA’s Chief Staff Executive. “We also wish to thank our panel of expert judges, and all those who submitted nominations, as well as those who were nominated for their contributions to the composites industry,”

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