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Innovations at JEC Composites Show 2004

  • Monday, 1st March 2004
  • Reading time: about 8 minutes

A range of new products and applications are set to be shown at the JEC Composites Show 2004.

Flame-retardant profiles from GDP Composites

Available for the building industry, these profiles are flame retardant for at least an hour with no release of toxic fumes, allowing people to be evacuated safely during a fire.

The GDP Composites stand will present fire door* made in a material based on modified phenolic resin. The material was developed by GDP Composites and can be used to make composite profiles that are flame retardant for at least an hour, with no ignition of gases or release of halogen-based toxic chemicals. In case of fire on public premises, for example, the glass-fibre-based profiles make it possible to continue evacuating the premises safely for at least one hour – and, contrasting with more traditional materials, the profiles maintain their stiffness, preventing the composite structures from collapsing on the people trapped or on firemen.

Another new feature at the stand: intricately shaped, co-extruded compression seals that do not require the user to insert them manually. This means greater productivity, a guarantee of quality for the finished product (the continuous seal is already included with the profile), and no release of material (for example, spray sealing compounds such as silicon). The application presented here is a composite gripper profile**. * Patent application filed by S.M.S.L ** Reynaers Aluminium patented concept

IVW: innovation as a philosophy

Each year the Institut für Verbundwerkstoffe arrives at Jec Composites Show with a store of innovative applications, and this year is no exception. The 2004 yield notably includes a hurley and wind-turbine components.

This year, visitors to the Institut für Verbundwerkstoffe stand will be able to discover three applications. First, a 100%-composite sandwich hurley* with the same dimensions, weight and mechanical properties as a traditional ash-wood hurley. Developed jointly by the Institut für Verbundwerkstoffe GmbH and Killarney Plastics Ltd., the composite hurley is cheaper than a wooden one. This composite application has bright prospects for the future, given the annual demand of more than 100,000 hurleys and the short supply of natural ash wood. The one-piece hurley made of EPP and PP-GMT resin is easily recycled at the end of its service life.

The second new development is an integrated composite rotor hub and shaft for wind turbines. This part eliminates the disadvantages of the cast-iron version, and especially the need for a bolted connection, by combining hub and shaft in one integral composite component. The use of anisotropic composite materials with higher specific strength and stiffness allows the direction-dependent tailoring of material properties. This leads to a significant reduction in the part’s weight and cost, and in the overall cost of the wind turbine. The weight reduction also makes it possible to increase the size of the turbine.

The third innovation is a highly rigid but lightweight stiffness enhancement structure for linear guiding systems, used in gantry-based milling or positioning applications. The structure is manufactured via the Preform-RTM process, using an NCF (Non Crimped Fabric) carbon-fibre reinforcement in combination with an epoxy resin system. The anisotropic material properties result in a weight reduction of over 50% compared to a steel construction of similar stiffness. The unit cell approach allows adapting the structure to the desired mechanical requirements by simply increasing the number of elements. An additional advantage is the fact that the length of the structure can be any multiple of the unit cell length (1 m), which adds to the versatility of this approach. An 11-m-long prototype structure will be validated during the summer of 2004.

CCM’s smart system for vacuum infusion moulding

The Center for Composite Materials, USA, presents a system that automates the vacuum infusion process, allowing repeat and low-cost manufacturing of liquid moulded parts.

SMARTMolding is an intelligent vacuum infusion process developed by the University of Delaware’s Center for Advanced Composite Materials. The process improves quality through repeat-manufacturing, reduces the learning curve of untrained personnel, and lowers costs. The system is based on software and hardware components that guide the operator through the material lay-up, infusion, and cure process. This allows intelligent process control, repeat manufacturing and full QA/QC of the process. The software enables automated leak check, resin mixing, and infusion of composite parts. All process variables and sensor information are stored in the QA/QC database. Other software components allow statistical analysis, process-data review and automated recipe definition to add new part definitions into the control system. A production queue, connected plant-wide through an Intranet, enables the supervisor to add/delete parts into/from the process and monitor their progress. Any composite manufacturer using vacuum infusion processing can benefit from this system, as it increases quality and reduces scrap and labour costs through automation.

Gear-pump metering from Isojet Equipements

A machine that delivers, meters, and mixes the components for application to a substrate? That is just what Isojet Equipements proposes.

At Jec Composites Show 2004, Isojet Equipements will present its new HV (DPE HV) gear-pump metering concept for applying synthetic resins. The unit deliver and extrudes paste compounds for metering, all in the same tool. The machine regulates the dispensing rate, meters out, and mixes the components to be to cast or injected onto a substrate. Other advantages of the process are the choice of continuous or sequential dispensing of the final mix and electronic control of the metering ratios. The highly reliable equipment is available at an attractive cost/price ratio and should be of interest in industries where bonding is an issue for plastic parts or structures –aeronautics, automotive, railway, electronics, among others. It should be borne in mind that the technology can also be used for in situ sealing. An RTM piston injection unit for the manufacture of high-strength carbon-epoxy parts will also be displayed on Isojet Equipements’ stand.

Glas-Craft, Inc. introduces a new RTM injection system

The new computer-controlled RTM injection system exhibited on GlasCraft’s stand controls injection pressure and adjusts catalyst percentage during injection.

Spartan 2 PAC is a new computer-controlled RTM injection system developed by Glas-Craft, Inc. The system has several innovative features for RTM and RTM Light manufacturing. For each part, an injection program including the volume of resin and catalyst and the catalyst percentage is entered. The program can then be accessed with the touch of a button. RFID – Radio Frequency Identification tags – are programmed with the information. Spartan PAC scans the information and sets the machine for the injection requirements. Moreover, an automatic system allows the catalyst percentage to gradually increase during the injection sequence for quicker demoulding of the part, resulting in more parts per day.

The system, which allows an infinite number of mould presettings through the use of Radio Frequency identification tags, is particularly suitable for the boat-building and automotive industries, where the first applications have already been implemented.

Globally approved aircraft repair material

At Jec Composites Show 2004, Hunstman Advanced Materials is introducing Epocast® 52 A/B, the first composite repair material to be globally approved by the CACRC (Commercial Aircraft Composite Repair Committee).

Epocast® 52 A/B is the first material of its type that can be used for composite repairs across airline fleets that include both Boeing and Airbus aircraft. This low-viscosity epoxy laminating system is designed for the impregnation of carbon and other fabrics. Its good hot/wet strength and excellent resistance to aircraft fluids and moisture make it ideal for the structural repair of composite substrates.

Other new developments: Epocast 54 A/B, a flame-retarded laminating system designed for the impregnation of substrates employed in aircraft interiors, and Epocast 1633 A/B, a complementary low-density syntactic material also suitable for the repair of aircraft interior structures.

Lonza AG: new resin for high-temperature applications

Lonza AG has developed a resin for high-temperature applications where epoxy and polyimide cannot be used.

Primaset PT-15 is a multifunctional low-viscosity, high-temperature cyanate ester suitable for pultrusion, filament winding and RTM (Resin Transfer Moulding).

With a glass transition temperature over 300°C and excellent processing characteristics (similar to epoxy resins), the product is intended for high-temperature applications where epoxy and polyimide resins cannot be used. Its excellent flame-retardant properties make it particularly suitable for applications where vinylester resins are not applicable. The first application is a muffler for racing motorbikes, and several other applications are being considered in the aeronautical, construction and electrical insulation sectors.

Oxeon AB’s braided-tape carbon reinforcement

The braiding process developed by Oxeon AB produces a fibre architecture that offers remarkable structural properties.

At Jec Composites Show 2004, Swedish company Oxeon will introduce Oxeon TeXtreme™, an innovative carbon reinforcement that is achieved by braiding stabilized unidirectional tapes that are 20-50 mm wide. The resulting fibre architecture combines the structural performance of unidirectional fibres with the handling benefits of a woven textile. Oxeon TeXtreme™ offers improved mechanical properties, lower production costs and improved surface smoothness. The material is currently available in 0,90° orientation and will soon be available in ±45° orientation. The main applications are in the automotive, aeronautics, and boat-building sectors.

During the Show, visitors will also be able to discover Oxeon’s new aramid and carbon fabrics with a ±45°orientation.

Kevlar/aramid fabrics for rounded shapes

Zhediang Jinda New Materials Co. will introduce new Kevlar/aramid fabrics that are more suitable than woven rovings for the manufacture of rounded shapes. These brand-new materials are used as reinforcements in car bumpers, skis and bullet-proof helmets. The fabrics are available with or without bonding yarn, the innovation being the absence of stitching yarn.

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