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On 1st January 2020, NetComposites' media assets including netcomposites.com, newsletters and conferences were transferred to Composites World (Gardner Business Media).

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Composites Industry News


Owens Corning Operating Earnings Drop

18th July 2000 0 comments

Building materials maker Owens Corning on Thursday reported its operating earnings dropped nearly 20 percent as the housing market weakened and costs rose. Including a previously announced $1 billion charge to top off its asbestos litigation reserve and a $210 million pre-tax gain from an insurance settlement, the company showed a net loss for the second quarter of $425 million. Revenues in the latest quarter dipped to $1.295 billion from $1.310 billion in the year-ago quarter. The company said the decline reflected weaker demand in its roofing, siding and insulation businesses amid a slowdown in the housing market after a series of interest rate increases over the past year. The company affirmed that it expected earnings for the year, excluding special items, to come in about 20 percent below last year’s profit of $270 million.

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Boeing Announces Agreement to Commercialize Software

18th July 2000 0 comments

The Boeing Company has signed an agreement with Unigraphics Solutions Inc. to commercialize the Boeing Parametric Composite Knowledge System (PACKS). The agreement grants Unigraphics Solutions (NYSE: UGS) the right to enhance the Boeing-patented process with additional improvements, and to exclusively market and sell PACKS software. The tool will become the core of a new composite module that will be integrated with the Unigraphics high-end CAD/CAM/CAE application. “PACKS provides design consistency and embedded knowledge capturing proven engineering practice,” said John Coyle, Director of Lean Engineering, Boeing Military Aircraft and Missile Systems. “Unigraphics Solutions will combine this knowledge with their robust modeling system.” “Unigraphics Solutions’ technical expertise in the design, development and integration of CAD tools and Boeing’s composites expertise make this relationship a win-win for both,” Coyle added. PACKS was developed by Boeing as an affordability initiative to reduce the design cost of structural composites by at least 50 percent. Developing links to manufacturing early in the design cycle exceeded the goals of the initiative. Studies conducted by Boeing have found that promotion of concurrent engineering improves quality while reducing cost and time to release. The tool’s versatility allows it to be customized to fit individual product needs or locked-in to ensure consistency throughout the design of the entire vehicle and/or subsystem. “Unigraphics Solutions’ new composite module embodying the Boeing PACKS will be effective for any composite structure, aerospace and non-aerospace,” said George Peters, Director, Aerospace Region at UGS. “And since the process is generic, it applies to a wide variety of applications. Savings metrics are directly proportional to part difficulty; the greater the part thickness and complexity, the greater the savings. Future enhancements of the composite module will take advantage of Knowledge Based Engineering and include a flattener, laser projection and links to Finite Element Analysis software.”

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Programmed Composites, Inc. opens new composite satellite structure facility

18th July 2000 0 comments

Programmed Composites, Inc (PCI) has opened a new 100,950 square foot facility in Corona, CA. The company has outgrown its 50,000 square foot Anaheim facility where it has been since 1995. The new facility in Corona features high bay ceilings throughout the composite panel and spacecraft structure assembly area, and is fully air conditioned, permitting outstanding flexibility in work cell placement and floorspace allocation. The company is investing several million dollars in new capital equipment for the new facility to increase composite panel size manufacturing capacity by over 50%. The addition of larger autoclave and machining capability along with increased clean room area for thermal surface preparation are just a few of the flexible options that the new state of the art facility permits. PCI was founded in 1976, and specializes in the design and fabrication of precision, lightweight, advanced omposite structures for the space industry. PCI fabricates complete composite spacecraft bus and payload structure modules, composite solar array substrate panels, antenna reflectors, embedded heat pipe panels, and many other custom and high volume composite structural elements for the space industry.

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National Emission Standards for Boat Manufacturing

18th July 2000 0 comments

National emission standards are being proposed for hazardous air pollutants (NESHAP) for new and existing boat manufacturing facilities. The processes regulated include fiberglass resin and gel coat operations, carpet and fabric adhesive operations, and aluminum boat painting operations. The EPA has identified boat manufacturing as a major source of hazardous air pollutants (HAP), such as styrene, methyl methacrylate (MMA), methylene chloride (dichloromethane), toluene, xylenes, n-hexanes, methyl ethyl ketone (MEK), methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK), and methyl chloroform (1,1,1-trichloroethane). These proposed standards will implement section 112(d) of the Clean Air Act (CAA) by requiring all major sources to meet HAP emission standards reflecting the application of the maximum achievable control technology (MACT).

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Center Researchers Receive CMA/SME’s Outstanding Paper Award

18th July 2000 0 comments

The 2000 CMA/SME TOP (The Outstanding Paper) was awarded to the University of Delaware’s CCM-affiliated team of postdoc E. Murat Sozer, Simon Bickerton (99PhDME–now on the faculty at the University of Auckland, New Zealand), and CCM Associate Director and Prof. Suresh G. Advani for “Use of Sensors and Simulations for Strategic Control of Liquid Composite Mold Filling Process.” The “TOP” Award was created in 1999 to recognize “knowledge and outstanding contributions of an individual in the composites manufacturing industry by preparing and presenting a paper at the Composites Manufacturing & Tooling Conference, CMA/SME’s flagship event.” Papers are judged on their technical contribution, application of engineering principles, originality, innovation, contribution to composites industry or technology, practical value and potential for implementation. The paper is featured on the SME website and can be viewed in pdf format at www.sme.org/cma/toppaper2000.pdf.

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Legal Actions to Halt Infringement of Cobra and Shelby Trademarks

18th July 2000 0 comments

With backing from Shelby American Inc., its equity partner, Venture Nevada, and together with Ford Motor Company, automotive manufacturing and racing legend Carroll Shelby has launched an aggressive lawsuit in Massachusetts Federal Court against Wareham-based Factory Five Racing, Inc., asserting trademark infringement, dilution and unfair competition claims. Ford has also filed a parallel lawsuit in the same court. The suit charges Factory Five with unlawful use of Ford and Shelby trademarks and other intellectual property rights. Factory Five, a rapidly growing, five year-old company, has manufactured and sold more than 1,000 counterfeit copies of the famous Shelby 427 S/C, according to the suit. Shelby contends that several large replica manufacturers, including Factory Five, seem determined to continue their counterfeiting operations, unless they are stopped by Federal Courts. The suit claims that Factory Five and others sell packages featuring bodies that copy Shelby’s famous roadster. Of critical importance to Shelby, the suit seeks an order to seize and destroy Factory Five’s fiberglass molds, which it uses to fabricate the 427 S/C knockoff. “According to Shelby, this lawsuit is the first of several which will target the largest knock-off manufacturers.

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DaimlerChrysler to Expand Use of Natural Fibers in Automotive Components

18th July 2000 0 comments

DaimlerChrysler Corporation will equip the new Mercedes-Benz Travego travel coach with a natural fiber-reinforced engine and transmission cover as standard equipment, the first natural fiber-reinforced exterior vehicle component to go into series production. Use of natural fibers reduces weight by 10 percent and lowers the energy needed for production by 80 percent, while the cost of the component is five percent lower than the comparable fiberglass-reinforced component, according to Professor Heinrich Flegel, director of Production Technology at the DaimlerChrysler Research Center in Ulm, Germany. Professor Flegel made the announcement during a press conference for release of DaimlerChrysler Corporation’s 2000 Environmental Report. Over the last 10 years, DaimlerChrysler has continually developed new applications for natural fibers in vehicle production. Until now, use of flax, sisal, coconut fiber, otton and hemp has been limited to the interiors of DaimlerChrysler vehicles — in upholstery, door panelling or the rear panel shelf. DaimlerChrysler will also use natural fiber-reinforced materials in the Mercedes-Benz C-Class to be built in East London, South Africa, beginning in August. The vehicle will be equipped with a sisal-reinforced rear panel shelf made of environmentally friendly raw materials from local suppliers. By combining sisal and cotton, the share of natural fibers in the component has been increased to more than 70 percent. Natural fibers are used in many automobiles produced by the Chrysler Group in the United States. Future uses of natural fibers were explored in the Concepts for Advanced Recycling and Environmental (CARE) Car project. Working with major suppliers, DaimlerChrysler developed new concepts with the goal of making new vehicles 95 percent recyclable in the next five years. In that project, natural fibers were used in door trim panel components, including the arm rest and map pocket. The new applications of natural fibers build on DaimlerChrysler’s experience in a project in Belem, Brazil. That project, which began in 1991, provides the local population with a stable, long-term source of income through the use of natural fibers, while reducing destruction of the rain forest. Since 1996, residents of the Amazon island of Marajo have been supplying headrests made of coconut fiber to Mercedes-Benz do Brasil. Today, the cooperative supplies approximately 2,500 headrests per month.

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Cambridge Sells Assets, Shifts Focus to Completing Bankruptcy Proceedings

18th July 2000 0 comments

Cambridge Industries’, Inc. Board of Directors confirmed yesterday that it has closed on the sale of substantially all of the company’s assets to Meridian Automotive Systems, Inc. of Dearborn, Michigan. This action clears the way for Cambridge to transfer ownership of the purchased assets to Meridian and to finalize all bankruptcy-related proceedings. Cambridge has been operating under bankruptcy protection since May 10, when the company voluntarily filed petitions under Chapter 11 to facilitate completion of the sale process. Following today’s closing, a small core of Cambridge management led by Don Campion, the company’s chief financial officer, will continue to oversee completion of remaining bankruptcy proceedings, including court-approved payments of secured and unsecured debt to Cambridge creditors. It is expected that most of the bankruptcy proceedings will be completed by the end of the year. Pepper Hamilton LLP will continue to serve the estate as bankruptcy counsel. “We are on track to obtain approval of our plan sometime during the 4th quarter,” said Don Campion. “Following that, we will begin making payments to each of the various classes of Cambridge creditors in accordance with our plan and with input from the creditors’ committee. We hope to pay the appropriate distributions to most of our creditors by yearend.” Headquartered in Madison Heights, Mich., Cambridge Industries was a Tier 1 plastic composites supplier to the automotive, light and commercial truck, and industrial products markets with facilities in the U.S., Canada, and South America. Meridian Automotive Systems is headquartered in Dearborn, Mich. and has 13 locations in Michigan, Indiana, Kansas and Tennessee. Meridian is a leading supplier of technologically advanced front and rear end modules, signal lighting, console modules, instrument panels and other interior systems to Ford, GM, DaimlerChrysler, Toyota and other major Tier 1 parts suppliers.

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Class Action Lawsuit against Manufacturers of High Pressure Laminates

18th July 2000 0 comments

A class action lawsuit was filed on July 14, 2000 in Davidson County, Tennessee against Premark International, Inc., Wilsonart International, Inc., International Paper Company, Panolam Industries International, Inc., and Pioneer Plastics Corporation,harging the companies with price fixing in the high pressure laminate industry (HPL). HPL’s are used to make durable and impact-resistant decorative surfacing products, such as kitchen and ath countertops, eating surfaces, doors, lavatory dividers, desktops and work surfaces. The complaint alleges the defendants violated the Tennessee Trade Practices Act (“Antitrust statute”) and the Tennessee Consumer Protection Act of 1977. The lawsuit is one of several which have been filed around the country against these companies, however, unlike those suits filed in federal courts on behalf only of “direct purchasers” of HDL, this suit is also brought on behalf of consumers in 16 states who have antitrust statutes similar to Tennessee which allow consumers, who are defined by law as “indirect purchasers” to bring suit for violations of those states’ antitrust laws. The lawsuit charges that the companies conspired to fix the prices for HPL’s causing consumers to pay supra-competitive prices.

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Nigerian Master License Closes

18th July 2000 0 comments

Composite Automobile Research Ltd. through its wholly owned subsidiary World Transport Authority Inc. (WTA), today announced that pursuant to the company’s news release of June 22, 2000, all documentation regarding the purchase of the Master License for the country of Nigeria has been signed by WTA and IMR Motors respectively. Upon signing of the Master License, SIGWA Motors Ltd. of Nigeria has agreed to purchase the first factory; scheduled for delivery early in the fourth quarter of 2000. The balance of payment for the purchase of this factory is in process. Production of the first WorldStar(R) vehicles is expected to occur in an expedited manner once the factory and components arrive on site in Nigeria. It is expected that this first factory will be used as a showcase and training facility for rapid expansion throughout Nigeria. Presently, WTA engineers and sales personnel are compiling a Nigerian vehicle specification list for approval and purchase by the Nigerian partners. Composite Automobile Research Ltd. and World Transport Authority Inc. serve the emerging world’s transportation needs through in country manufacturing facilities, utilizing local semi-skilled labour to produce the WorldStar(R) line of utility vehicles.

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