The JEC Composites Awards – presented by the JEC Group – have been listed which reward “innovation partners” in the sectors of Aeronautics & Space, Ground Mass Transportation, Marine, Construction, Energy & Industry, and Sports & Leisure.
Once again this year, the jury selected the best processes, applications and products – in terms of quality, innovation or market openings – that utilise composite solutions.
In 2005, the trend is towards more widespread use of carbon fibre, with applications in Transport and Civil Engineering for large parts. Natural fibres are being used more and more, in designs based on sustainable development issues. Surface quality is on the rise, as progress is made with gelcoats and processes that eliminate the need for subsequent paint operations.
The wide-ranging profiles of the companies nominated and their partners (from the small- or medium-sized company to the multinational, and from the architect to the materials producer) show the diversity contained in the composite industry. In eight years, about 850 companies from the world over have become involved in the competition. In 2005, the JEC Composites Awards will reward successful partnerships selected among the following finalists:
AERONAUTICS & SPACE
Galorath Inc. (USA) and their partner Airbus (UK), for the SEER-DFM cost-analysis software for manufacturing composite parts. The software is designed for engineers who work in concurrent engineering projects, helping them select a manufacturing process and optimise cost-prices (integrating a large number of manufacturing scenarios). The field of composites has a need for this type of tools. SEER-DFM is equally applicable to short-run and mass production, and should help bring products to market faster at optimised cost.
EADS Casa Espacio (Spain) and their partners Shikibo Ltd (Japan) and Hexcel Composites (Spain), for a structure for the fuselage of a recoverable launcher. This 2mx2m part is made using a Z-shaped carbon preform (D3D process with multidirectional fibre) and RTM. The process gives a practically finished part that requires very little touching up. Thanks to the automated operations and one-piece construction, the part comes with weight and cost savings.
Plastiremo (F) , a member of the Zodiac Group, and their partners Hurel Hispano (Snecma Group) (F) and Cytec Engineered Materials (USA) , for a cascade for fan jet engine thrust reverser. This carbon composite part with complex geometry is designed to deflect the secondary airflow from a turbojet engine upon thrust reversal during landing procedures. A monolithic carbon part (800mmx40mmx80mm) weighing 2.5 kg. The part is lighter and stronger than a cast or stamped metal part and offers a very high fatigue resistance, in terms of acoustic fatigue especially. Part accuracy is high, with dimensional tolerances under 1mm (and less than 2° for angles). The part is obtained with tight tolerances, in a single curing process.
GROUND MASS TRANSPORTATION
Ford Motor Company (USA) and their partners Aston Martin (UK) and Sotira, (F) for the integration of the F3P and RTM processes for an eight-panel, Class A application for the Aston Martin DB9. The robotized F3P Ford Programmable Preforming Process is used with cut fibres to produce the preforms. The process leaves very little scrap. The preforms are then used in an RTM process to obtain Class A parts directly. The robots are programmable off-line, which saves time and avoids collisions. VOC emissions are reduced. Some of the panels integrate several different functions, generating very little scrap (under 1%). Sotira currently produces about 15,000 parts per year and plans to reach 34,000 parts per year.
Peguform France (F) and their partners Venture Industries (USA), Eleison (USA) and Plascore (USA), for the application of the Sandwiform process to the Jeep Grand Cherokee MY 2005. The Sandwiform process involves a fully recyclable thermoplastic sandwich. A one-step thermocompression process is used to form the panels. The application for the Jeep Grand Cherokee offers a number of advantages: a choice of different surface finishes, fully recyclable parts (one material), high mechanical strength, automated process, short cycle times (1 minute), low-cost process.
Rieter Automotive System (CH) and their partners Daimler Chrysler AG (Germany) and Manila Cordage Co. (Philippines), for a PP thermoplastic reinforced with abaca natural fibre. The natural fibre is used as a replacement for glass fibre. The challenge was to adapt the LFT process for natural fibres while maintaining fibre length and correct distribution of fibre in the matrix. This highly competitive solution takes sustainable development into account.
New-York Hamburger Gummi-Waaren (NYH GW) Compagnie AG (Germany) and their partners TecKnit (Germany) and Technische Universität Hamburg-Harburg (Germany), for a handrail for escalators and moving walkways (replacing conventional handrails made of rubber and reinforced steel cables). By switching to thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) and reinforcement in the form of a warp-knitted envelope, NYH GW was able to use a direct-extrusion process, thereby boosting its production from 5m/h to 60m/h. The solution is recyclable. The handrail’s flexibility means that it consumes less energy in use, its contact with the hand is more pleasant, and its surface accumulates much less dirt. It may be manufactured in a range of colours and the service life is longer.
Diatex (F) and their partner Multiplast (F) , for the Vacuopeel composite fabric used in the vacuum-moulded construction of hulls and other types of large structures. Three functions are combined in a single product (breather felt, separator film, and peel ply), saving time for the user since a single application provides consistent quality over the entire laying surface and good resin distribution.
Devold AMT (Norway) and their partner Brœdrene Aa (Norway) , for boats built entirely in carbon fibre and vinylester-sandwich composite. The hulls are made using closed-mould methods. Three types of boats were developed: an ambulance boat, a harbour shuttle boat (64 passengers), and a medium-capacity ferry (97-passenger catamaran). Using carbon fibre reduces structural mass by 40% compared to fibreglass reinforcement and the additional cost is less than 10%. The new hulls contribute to greater passenger comfort.
Diab AB (Sweden) and their partner Azimut Yachts (It) , for improvements to the vacuum-moulding process: consumable materials are eliminated and the core is used as the transfer medium for the resin (but standard procedures have not been upset). The cores are pre-grooved, thus eliminating the need for sacrificial materials, which cuts down on cost and logistics. The working conditions are improved. The impregnation process is more efficient and mould cycle times are reduced by 50%. The process is compatible with all types of resins.
ACG Advanced Composites Group Ltd (UK) and their partner Necso Entrecanales Cubiertas SA (Spain) , for a road bridge with carbon composite beams, an innovation developed for the Spanish Ministry of Infrastructure and Public Works and the Spanish Ministry of Science and Technology. The bridge has a fibreglass composite permanent shuttering over which the concrete decking can be poured directly (bridge dimensions: 46mx8.1m). The beams are made off-site using VTM (Variable Temperature Moulding) prepregs. The parts obtained are stiffer (less deflection) and eight times more lightweight than reinforced concrete. Installation costs are reduced and lead times are shorter. There is much less maintenance, due to the corrosion resistance.
Holland Composites Industrials BV (NL), De Vijf (NL), Solico (NL) and Gebroedern van Riemsdijk (NL) for the Spacebox, a new concept for quickly installable, semi-permanent dwellings. The inhabitable “boxes” or modules can be assembled side-by-side and/or stacked (ground floor +3). Each 18m2 module, which comes equipped with kitchenette and bathroom (shower + toilet), contains a volume of 45m3 and weighs 2,500 kg.
MVC Componentes Plasticos Ltda (Brazil), Usiminas (Brazil), Owens Corning (Brazil), Perfipar Manufaturados de Aço Ltda (Brazil), Henkel Loctite Adesivos Ltda (Brazil) and Elekeiroz (Brazil) for the Wall System, a pre-fabricated building system that uses composite panels assembled on a metal framework. This system is suitable for dwellings, industrial buildings, and hospitals. The system features rapid construction (three days for a 36m2 house), good sanitary conditions, resistance to tropical environments, ease of cleaning, and requires no skilled labour for assembly. ENERGY & INDUSTRY
Icotec (CH) and their partners Zünd AG (CH) and APM Technica AG (CH) , for an oscillating rod in the cutter head of a plotter, a small, 15-cm-long part to which the cutter head is attached. Cutting involves oscillation at 300 Hz and the composite design, with its high reinforcement content (62%), meets all mechanical and fatigue requirements. The type of construction made it possible to integrate three parts into a single one.
Roctool (F), Upstart Ingénierie (F) and Menzolit (F) , for a composite protective shell. The housing consists of a shell in composite material that provides mechanical protection. The assembly becomes a capacitor whose capacitance value is read by an electronic circuit. Any attempt to intrude (by blows, cutting, or flame) results in a specific identifiable signal that sets off an alarm. The detection takes place over the entire surface of the composite. The manufacturing method is simple, and can be used for mass production. A wide range of potential applications.
Huntsman Advanced Materials SA (CH) and their partners Pôle de Plasturgie de l’Est (F) and Bruker Biospin SA (F) , for a field gradient system for a nuclear magnetic resonance instrument (medical applications). This required developing both a prepreg resin system to meet strict insulation, adhesion, elasticity and flexibility criteria, and a low-viscosity resin casting process. The instruments perform much better, producing the highly detailed images that are indispensable for medical research.
SPORTS & LEISURE
Prince Sports Srl (Italy) and their partner Topkey Corporation (Taiwan) , for the O3 process for making tennis racquets. The process is simplified, because there is no longer a need to bore holes. The string tension is distributed more equally, which greatly enlarges the working surface of the strung area. Fewer vibrations mean greater player comfort, and the larger holes make restringing easier. The racquet weighs less, so swing speed is greater, and the production process is more cost-effective.
DJP (F) and their partners UCPA (F), Create (the Ecole Centrale in Paris) (F), Crittmeca (F) and SPL Mécatronic Seine Amont (F) , for a transportable climbing wall that consists of 2mx2m composite panels with artificial climbing holds. The panels are assembled on an aluminium structure that can be folded up automatically with hydraulic jacks. The total height is 8 metres (four panels) and the width, 6 metres (three panels). Composite materials contribute their low weight and high strength, along with an attractive surface finish.
TSL Sport Equipment (F) and their partners Comitech (F), Chamoniarde de Secours en Montagne (F) and Saint Gobain Vetrotex (F) , for the Franco Garda stretcher for mountain rescue (high mountain, skiing, canyoning, etc.). The stretcher is made of vacuum-moulded Twintex thermoplastic composite. It can be taken apart for easier transport in three parcels. It is lightweight and easily assembled and offers high stiffness and sliding properties, so that the person being rescued benefits from greater comfort and safety.
The JEC Composites Awards 2005 will be presented on Tuesday, April 5 from 5:00 p.m. at the Parc des Expositions in Paris (Porte de Versailles, Hall 1) as part of the JEC Composites Show 2005. For the first time, the ceremony will be open to the Show’s visitors.
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