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Composites Industry News

News for 19 November 2007


Manufacturing and Environment a Priority at JEC 2008

19th November 2007 0 comments

Manufacturing and Environmental issues will be the central subjects of the 2008 Show (April 1-3, Paris, Porte de Versailles), which will feature all the current processes. There will be a special focus on the least expensive and most flexible techniques. Cost optimization at all steps in the production chain will be scrutinized. The 2008 session will highlight the main developments in R&D, analysis, engineering, design, CAD/CAM, simulation, prototyping, stereolithography, testing, non-destructive testing, process industrialisation and nanocomposites. The 2008 Show will also present the full range of design tools and resources that contribute to the development of a sector that is constantly innovating, with a focus on equipment, machines, tooling, machine tools, automation, quality assurance, surface treatment, coatings, software and hardware, ancillary equipment, fillers, and additives. Mould manufacturing is still an active area when it comes to the materials used and the concerns with reducing cycle times while saving on energy and raw materials. This year, special attention will be paid to bonding techniques and the latest adhesive innovations. The composite industry now prioritizes environmental improvements as much as other composite properties. The environment is taken into account across the board, for example with the reduction of weight to achieve energy savings, with mould heating techniques, and the increased concern for noise attenuation. The 2008 Show will gather together more and more “Green” exhibitors around biocomposites that either have plant-polymer matrices or are reinforced with natural fibres such as flax, sisal, cotton, kenaf, palm, bamboo, wood or abaca. “The composite industry has good growth and the prospects are excellent”, commented Frédérique Mutel, JEC Group President and CEO. “In terms of global value, the composite industry grew an average 8% per year from 2002 to 2005, reaching €53 billion compared to €42 billion in 2002 – for two principal reasons, which are the increase in volume and the impact of steadily rising oil prices. In terms of volume, the global market is 8.2 million metric tons (MT), distributed among North America with 2.2 million MT, Europe (Western Europe, Eastern Europe and Russia) with 3 million MT, and Asia/the rest of the world with 3 million MT. The industry employs some 550,000 professionals throughout the world, distributed almost equally among North America, Europe and Asia.” As for the future, according to Ms. Mutel, “our studies indicate that the sector’s growth in volume could be 4.9% per year between 2005 and 2015. Because the composite industry is a mature one, its growth in volume will more or less match the GDP’s annual growth. The above 4.9% annual growth rate breaks down to 3.3% for the emerging Asian market, 1.2% for Europe and North America, and 0.3% of additional growth due to the increasing penetration of composites.” She went on to say that “globally, the segments that are growing the fastest are wind energy (9%) and aviation (7%). Growth is also boosted by industrial applications in electricity and electronics, pipes and tanks. And building and construction, more particularly in Asia.”

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Composites Europe Takes Off

19th November 2007 0 comments

The second Composites Europe show took place on 6 to 8 November, attracting 200 exhibitors from 20 countries to the New Messe Stuttgart exhibition centre. With 4100 trade visitors Composites Europe is now established as an important international event in the composites industry. More than one third of this year’s visitors came from outside of Germany, and of the international visitors one in ten was from outside of Europe. “The increase in the total number of visitors is great, but an even bigger success is the number of visitors coming from the application industries,” said Britta Wirtz, Director of Composites Europe, towards the end of the three-day show. The trade show grew specifically in the main end-use industries of reinforced plastics, such as automotive (with visitors from Daimler, Porsche, Mitsubishi and Skoda), aerospace (visitors from EADS, Boeing, DLR and Bombardier), as well as in the building and construction, and sports and leisure sectors. These results demonstrate that the show successfully reached its industrial target groups. Organiser Reed Exhibitions also reports success in attracting visitors from small and medium-sized companies which manufacture products for the marine, electronics, and wind energy sectors. Of these visitors, around one third were interested in raw materials, one third in semi-finished and finished products, and one third in the technology and services on display in Stuttgart. A significant percentage of visitors (60%) comprised engineers involved in R&D and managing directors. The economic outlook for the composites industry is good. Nearly 65% of the companies surveyed during Composites Europe expect growth in the industry overall, and 80% expect growth in their company`s business. These are the same results shown by the AVK`s statistics for 2007. The German Federation for Reinforced Plastics expects an average growth in production of 6% in the European composites industry. Growth is also reported for natural fibre materials. The prelude to Composites Europe was the International AVK Conference, Europe`s largest technical conference on thermoset and thermoplastic composites, which attracted 500 international attendees. As part of this annual meeting AVK presented its Innovation Awards for 2007. With these, the association rewards outstanding developments in the categories of Industry, Environmental Protection, and University. The winner of the Industry category was BMW for the development of a self-supporting CRP motorbike tail, and Möller Tech GmbH for the AquaCell process, which allows the production of foamed plastic components on conventional injection moulding machines using water as an economical blowing agent. In the Environment category the winner was Caverion GmbH for an energy-efficient process for a thermal exhaust air cleaning unit. The University prize was presented to the University of Erlangen/Nürnberg for the In-Mould-Forming (IMF) for the integrated manufacture of hybrid structures by an abbreviated process. For the very first time, Composites Europe and its partners EuCIA, AVK and Reinforced Plastics honoured two pioneers in the field of composites. Prof. Dr. Richard Eppler and Rudolf Lindner developed the first composite glider exactly 50 years ago and so laid the foundation for the application of reinforced plastics in the aircraft industry. Good marks for Composites Europe were given by both exhibitors and visitors. More than 83% of visitors rated the show as “good” or “very good.” The biggest compliment came from was the exhibitors; at the end of the show 80% of the 2007 exhibition space had been rebooked for the next show. “It is our aim to grow the exhibition space again significantly next year,” says Hans-Joachim Erbel, Managing Director of Reed Exhibitions Deutschland GmbH. “Composites Europe is now established in the arena of European industry shows. Because of this growth, we have reserved halls 10/11 and 12 for Composites Europe 2008, which takes place on 23 to 25 September alongside ALUMINIUM 2008 in Essen, Germany.”

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Composites & Polycon 2007 Attracts Nearly 4,000 Attendees

19th November 2007 0 comments

The American Composites Manufacturers Association’s (ACMA) Composites & Polycon 2007, held October 17-19 in Tampa, Fla., was one the organization’s largest conference and trade shows. With nearly 4,000 registered attendees, this year’s show saw a nearly 6 percent increase (237 more attendees) from last year’s show. The annual three-day show drew people from 49 states and 60 countries. Of the total number of show attendees, 14 percent were international. There were 232 exhibitors. “The significant increase in attendance this year underscores the importance of Composites & Polycon to the business objectives of our members and others in the composites industry, especially now, when facing a downturn in markets such as building and construction,” says ACMA’s Executive Director Tom Dobbins. Entries for ACMA’s Awards for Composites Excellence (ACE), sponsored by AOC and Composites One, were on display on the trade show floor during exhibit hall hours. These awards are to recognize technology advancements in the composites industry. The entries for the Pinnacle awards competition, sponsored by Reichhold, also were on display during the trade show. This award competition is designed to salute creativity and innovation in the cast polymer industry. Both the ACE and Pinnacle awards were presented at the show’s Awards Luncheon. In addition to various ACMA committee meetings and business sessions, there were more than 60 educational sessions and 41 technical paper presentations that were heavily attended. This year, Tampa area Boy Scouts had a chance to visit the exhibition floor, talk to industry professionals and participate in a hands-on model rocket lamination activity in the demonstration tent –all earning credit toward the Boy Scouts’ Composites Materials Merit Badge. Just as the trade show was getting ready to close, crowds gathered to hear who would win the 2007 Malibu Wakesetter VTX Powerboat being raffled that afternoon. One composites manufacturer, Gary Leininger of Swimcraft Inc., Angola, IN, was the lucky recipient. “We have been attending ACMA’s annual meetings for 19 years and are extremely excited to have won this year’s raffle,” said Gary Leininger, of Swimcraft. “It is a beautiful boat and another example of the exciting work being undertaken in our industry. I want to thank Jeanne Mendelson at ACMA, Paul Colonna at CCP, and John Sisson at Malibu Boats.” The powerboat, raffled off through the generous sponsorship of Cook Composites & Polymers (CCP), features the company’s Imedge Series polymer coating technologies. Valued at more than $50,000, the Malibu Wakesetter VTX Powerboat was on display at CCP’s booth during Composites & Polycon 2007. In response to member and attendee feedback, ACMA announced that it will move the Composites & Polycon show to a winter schedule, pushing forward the next show to early 2009. The association will soon announce the specific dates and location of Composties & Polycon 2009. “Exhibitors and attendees pleased with the outcome of this year’s show have indicated enthusiasm for ACMA moving our next show to early 2009. ACMA believes that moving the show to a winter timeframe, will improve Composites & Polycon for exhibitors as well as attendees, ultimately maximizing opportunities for the success of its members,” says Dobbins.

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Quickstep Secures Key US Patent for Melding Aspect of Quickstep Process

19th November 2007 0 comments

Quickstep Holdings’ patent application No. 10/204938 in the United States covering the melding aspect of the Quickstep Process for composites manufacture has been awarded. Melding is one of the most important features of Quickstep’s technology, allowing multiple composite components to be effectively ‘melted and welded’ together without the use of adhesives, bolts or rivets. The resultant structure has no physical difference or separating surface between the two joined parts and is homogeneous with the surrounding composite creating a new integrated part. Quickstep say that as a result, the process confers greater flexibility of design and potentially greatly reduced processing costs for the manufacturer. . Quickstep’s CEO, Mr Nick Noble, said patent protection for the melding aspect of the Quickstep Process in the US represented an important expansion of the Company’s intellectual property portfolio. “If melding can be developed to its fullest potential there could be opportunities for Quickstep’s Melding process to create integrated structures such as aircraft wings, bridges or cars with no secondary bonding or additional fasteners.” “North America has the world’s largest aerospace manufacturing sector, as well as being the largest global producer of composite materials,” he said. “This patent will ensure we have commercially effective patent protection in place.” Quickstep has been working with a number of key North American companies through its ‘North American Quickstep Center of Excellence’ located at Dayton, Ohio, including development work for a number of aerospace groups. The patent application covering the “melding” production process was formally granted by the Australian Patent Office in 2006 and is now in force in Australia, and the equivalent patent has also been issued in China. Corresponding patent applications have been made and are currently undergoing examination in Europe, South Korea, Brazil and Israel, while a patent application has also been made in Japan and is awaiting examination.

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Milliken’s Tegris Composite Rides the Waves of Success

19th November 2007 0 comments

Milliken’s Tegris composite is riding the waves of success as the material behind one of the lightest, toughest personal watercraft available on the kayak market.

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Chicago Transit Authority Chooses TieTek Composite Crossties

19th November 2007 0 comments

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) has chosen to buy and install 7,000 TieTek composite railroad ties for transit installations. TieTek will supply the crossties as part of Menard’s Railroad Materials supply to CTA. The CTA operates more than 1,000 rapid transit cars over eight routes and provides 500,000 customer trips each day to 144 stations in Chicago and 40 surrounding suburbs. The TieTek ties will be used for maintenance and spot replacement along CTA’s 222 miles of track. “”TieTek composite crossties deliver significant performance and financial benefits,”” says Bob Menard, Owner and President of Menard’s Railroad Materials. “”They are a smart choice for transit rail applications and we look forward to working with them.”” The innovative crossties are made from 80% recycled materials and have a projected lifespan of more than 40 years. The resistance of TieTek ties to wear and harsh environmental conditions is a key factor in reducing rail maintenance costs by up to $48,000 per mile of track per year. New York City Transit also recently purchased 11,000 TieTek composite crossties in what has been a busy year for the company. TieTek recently announced a 200% revenue growth for the second quarter of 2006. In addition, Union Pacific railroad expanded their agreements with TieTek. “”Our partnership with the CTA is another exciting development for TieTek,”” says TieTek CEO Neal Kaufman. “”TieTek professionally engineered composite crossties are a great choice for our transit customers who want to improve performance and reduce operating costs for their entire system.”” TieTek has also opened a new 50,000 square foot production plant in Houston, Texas. The new facility complements their flagship manufacturing facility in Marshall, Texas, adding both capacity and product flexibility. TieTek expects the facility to increase the production of their innovative composite crossties by 50%. The improved manufacturing flexibility of the new plant allows for production of crossties and switch-ties up to 22 feet long. The new products are required to meet the need for both track maintenance and new construction. With three lines in production, each week TieTek will consume 500 tons of recycled plastic and rubber from over 15,000 used tyres to produce high- performance ties for use in railroads across the country. “”TieTek is executing its strategy, expanding its flexible manufacturing capacity, and strengthening its customer relationships,”” said TieTek CEO, Neal Kaufman. He adds, “”The growth in our customers’ businesses is leading to increased demand for high-value, high-performance, environmentally responsible TieTek composite crossties.””

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Carbon Nanotubes Could Go Antiballistic

19th November 2007 0 comments

CSIRO has been granted AUD $2 million under the Defence Capability and Technology Demonstrator (CTD) Program to demonstrate the capabilities of carbon nanotubes as strong, lightweight antiballistic materials. Principal Research Scientist with CSIRO Textile and Fibre Technology, Dr Stephen Hawkins, says currently available body armour is typically heavy, stiff and hot to wear. “Generations of polymers and ceramics have been developed to keep pace with the threat and lessen the burden of the armour but now a new material – carbon nanotubes or CNTs – is set to move ballistic protection into new territory,” he says. CSIRO’s Carbon Nanotubes for Ballistic Protection project was one of eight selected as part of the latest round of Defence CTD Program funding announced last night. Dr Hawkins says CNTs are amongst the first of the new wave of nano-structured materials and offer extraordinary properties of strength, stiffness and lightness. “The challenge is to capture the potential of these new materials at the macro level. CNTs are fibres of pure carbon that are only 1 to 100 nanometres in diameter but up to millimetres in length. Synthesising and manipulating these myriad tiny fibres into ordered structures requires a combination of novel processing skills coupled with a fundamental understanding of fibre behaviour, Dr Hawkins said. “To give a sense of scale, a human hair is typically 100 microns, or 100,000 nanometres in diameter. If hair had the same proportions as nanotubes, it would be from tens to hundreds of metres long, with a great capacity for tangling!” CSIRO Textile and Fibre Technology has established a capability to produce very highly specified CNTs with the unique characteristic of being able to be drawn directly into yarn. This in combination with other advanced materials will form the basis of the new antiballistic structures. “No single material has all of the properties required for ballistic protection, so a successful application of CNTs would see them as part of an integrated system with greater strength and flexibility and reduced weight,” Dr. Hawkins says. “CNTs are fibres of pure carbon that are only 1 to 100 nanometres in diameter but up to millimetres in length.”

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ACG Secures Large Materials Supply Contract from Thales Alenia Space

19th November 2007 0 comments

After several years of collaborative development and testing, ACG will supply materials for the manufacture of at least 25 ground-based antennas destined for a location high in the Chilean Andes. The value of the contract is estimated to be in the region of 7m Euro over a 3-year period. ALMA, the Atacama Large Millimeter Array, is one of the largest ever ground-based astronomy projects. It will provide scientists with exceptionally detailed images of objects right out to the very edge of the Universe, where galaxies will be observed as they were some 10 billion years ago, right at the point of their formation. The ALMA project is an international collaboration between Europe and North America, in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. It is funded by the US National Science Foundation, the National Research Council of Canada, the European Southern Observatory, and the Ministries of Science and Technology and of Public Works of Spain. Thales Alenia Space, which heads up the ALMA European Consortium, has been tasked with providing up to 32 antennas. It is within this element of the project that the ACG and Thales Alenia Space agreement was reached. It is anticipated up to eighty high-precision antennas will be located on the Chajnantor Plain in the Chilean Andes, some 5000m above sea level. Initially, fifty 12m antennas are targeted for commissioning around 2011 and 2012. For the last 3 years, ACG has worked closely with Thales Alenia Space, and their chosen manufacturing sub-contractors, in the development and optimisation of advanced composite materials capable of producing such large, high precision structures in a variety of manufacturing environments. Key performance parameters include the requirement for extremely low thermal expansion and moisture resistance characteristics, combined with robust manufacturing processes that provide highly accurate laminate thicknesses. These laminates will remain stable over a wide temperature range and resistant to relatively high levels of UV radiation. A key factor for Thales Alenia Space in choosing ACG as their materials supplier for the ALMA project is the Group’s ability to manufacture large structures ‘out-of-autoclave’; several critical antenna will be produced using this technique. ACG will be supplying a range of MTM prepreg and ZPREG product formats to Thales Alenia Space’ chosen sub-contractors. These products have been developed to provide consistent, low void levels, even in extremely thick composite laminates. Jon Mabbitt, Managing Director of ACG said: “We are delighted to have secured this contract with Thales Alenia Space to assist them in this landmark programme. It highlights our continuing progress in research and development of new materials and products and our market leading proposition.”

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Chicago Transit Authority Chooses TieTek Composite Crossties (1)

19th November 2007 0 comments

The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) has chosen to buy and install 7,000 TieTek composite railroad ties for transit installations. TieTek will supply the crossties as part of Menard’s Railroad Materials supply to CTA. The CTA operates more than 1,000 rapid transit cars over eight routes and provides 500,000 customer trips each day to 144 stations in Chicago and 40 surrounding suburbs. The TieTek ties will be used for maintenance and spot replacement along CTA’s 222 miles of track. “TieTek composite crossties deliver significant performance and financial benefits,” says Bob Menard, Owner and President of Menard’s Railroad Materials. “They are a smart choice for transit rail applications and we look forward to working with them.” The innovative crossties are made from 80% recycled materials and have a projected lifespan of more than 40 years. The resistance of TieTek ties to wear and harsh environmental conditions is a key factor in reducing rail maintenance costs by up to $48,000 per mile of track per year. New York City Transit also recently purchased 11,000 TieTek composite crossties in what has been a busy year for the company. TieTek recently announced a 200% revenue growth for the second quarter of 2006. In addition, Union Pacific railroad expanded their agreements with TieTek. “Our partnership with the CTA is another exciting development for TieTek,” says TieTek CEO Neal Kaufman. “TieTek professionally engineered composite crossties are a great choice for our transit customers who want to improve performance and reduce operating costs for their entire system.” TieTek has also opened a new 50,000 square foot production plant in Houston, Texas. The new facility complements their flagship manufacturing facility in Marshall, Texas, adding both capacity and product flexibility. TieTek expects the facility to increase the production of their innovative composite crossties by 50%. The improved manufacturing flexibility of the new plant allows for production of crossties and switch-ties up to 22 feet long. The new products are required to meet the need for both track maintenance and new construction. With three lines in production, each week TieTek will consume 500 tons of recycled plastic and rubber from over 15,000 used tyres to produce high- performance ties for use in railroads across the country. “TieTek is executing its strategy, expanding its flexible manufacturing capacity, and strengthening its customer relationships,” said TieTek CEO, Neal Kaufman. He adds, “The growth in our customers’ businesses is leading to increased demand for high-value, high-performance, environmentally responsible TieTek composite crossties.”

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