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Composites Industry News

News for November 2010


3B to distribute Tycor W Engineered Core Material

7th November 2010 0 comments

WebCore Technologies has appointed 3B as the exclusive distributor in Europe and Asia of Tycor W, WebCores innovative fibre-reinforced core material for utility scale wind blades.

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Alpha Corporation Celebrates 50 Years With Grand Opening of New Headquarters

7th November 2010 0 comments

The Alpha Corporation celebrated 50 years as a global enterprise with the Grand Opening of its new World Headquarters in Piperton, Tennessee. Through its flagship business, AOC, Alpha provides materials technology and service to the fibre-reinforced polymer (FRP) composite and cast polymer industries. AOC materials are produced in 12 facilities, strategically located in nine countries throughout North America, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. The Alpha Corporation and AOC are proud to celebrate this milestone as a business in Western Tennessee, said Randy Weghorst, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. For fifty years, we have provided jobs, paid taxes and encouraged community participation for the benefit of the Greater Memphis area. Many of our employees volunteer time and financially support local universities, schools, places of worship, and charitable organizations. We look forward to being a corporate citizen of this region for many more years to come. Fred Norman, President and Chief Operating Officer, added, Building the new headquarters here reaffirms our commitment to the future of Western Tennessee. Because of the way the building incorporates green solutions, it has been certified under the Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) system of the U.S. Green Building Council. These actions recognize how we strive to be a responsible business neighbor of this region as well as a model environmental steward.

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UH Receives $1.2 Million Grant for Alternative Energy Research

7th November 2010 0 comments

The University of Houston has received a $1.2 million grant from the Office of Naval Research to help design the next generation of technologies for the alternative energy industry. Curran’s team will be working on developing nanosensors for wind turbine systems. These sensors could be embedded in offshore wind turbines, making it possible to monitor the system’s structural “”health”” from a distance. The nanosensors are based on polymer-nanotube composites, using their electrical properties as a way to detect changes in environmental conditions. In 1998, Curran published the first nanotube-polymer composite paper in Advanced Materials dealing with the electronic nature of such materials. That evolutionary step has taken over a decade to come to fruition. Along the way, Curran reported high conductivity composites in 2009 in the Journal of Applied Physics, and the next stage is to build the embedded sensors. In all, the ONR awarded a total of $1.5 million to UH, the Naval Research Laboratory and the University of New Mexico to develop new thin-film solar cells, thin-film batteries and nano-sensors for wind turbine blades. “”This is a great opportunity to develop technologies that will strengthen and expand the use of alternative sources of energy globally. With energy demand increasing, considerable effort and investment is going into new energy generation and storage,”” said physics professor Seamus “”Shay”” Curran, the lead researcher on the UH project and director of UH’s Institute for NanoEnergy. “”This project also falls right in line with the university’s education and research goals and its mission to become a Tier One institution.””

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Price Increase on AGY Glass Fibre Yarns and Rovings

7th November 2010 0 comments

AGY will raise pricing up to 10% on most of its glass fibreyarns and rovings effective January 1, 2011. The company said the increase was necessary to offset rising costs. According to Drew Walker, VP of Sales and Marketing, Over the last several years, we have experienced significant increases in our costs of raw materials, precious metals, freight and packaging. We have now reached a point where we can no longer offset rising costs and need to adjust our pricing. We have always invested in new product development and more efficient processing technologies. A price increase at this time will ensure that we can continue to invest in the resources necessary to provide our customers with the products and services they have come to expect from AGY, said Walker. AGY will be communicating directly with its customers regarding details of the price increase.

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New Composite Shear Range Developed

8th November 2010 0 comments

William Whiteley’s have been collaborating with the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Sheffield University to develop the next generation of shears for composite fabrics. This has involved developing unique coatings and improved shear designs that offer a number of critical properties required to enhance the performance and cutting life of the shear, with financial support from a NAMTEC / Yorkshire Forward capacity-building project on surface engineering. Development and evaluation work carried out by Prof Allan Matthews and Dr Adrian Leyland at the University, has allowed them to specify and provide selected high-performance ceramic coatings for trials on William Whiteleys existing shear designs. In-field testing of these coated shears by the company, together with electron microscope evaluation by the University, has helped streamline the blade manufacturing route and in fine-tune the design for optimum coating performance in specific applications. During trials it has been reconfirmed that cross-usage of the shears between different fibre types and weaves can dramatically shorten blade life in some instances; to counter this William Whiteleys has introduced several variants to the Wilkinson Composite range to complement the most commonly used materials. The new range continues the principle of using coated blade surfaces with a very low coefficient of friction whilst also incorporating significantly enhanced surface hardness to ensure maximum working life. Initial preproduction trials in industry have provided very positive feedback (with a several-fold improvement in performance seen in some cases); the company is now about to start running comparison trials with existing products whilst the Sheffield University team continues to provide underpinning technical expertise and data to support the evolution of new shear designs. Recent investment in laser marking technology has also enabled the company to provide permanent product identification for the first time including specific material descriptions and coding to ensure fail-safe shear selection in different cutting applications. The company will also be launching an e-commerce website in the New Year with these product expected to be added to the range by late January.

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ACG VTM Prepregs used for Grand Prix Racing Yacht

12th November 2010 0 comments

Prepreg materials from Advanced Composites Group have been used by Hakes Marine Limited to build the new 54ft grand prix racing yacht Oystercatcher XXVIII, designed by Tom Humphreys of Humphreys Yacht Design. Launched in Wellington, New Zealand in mid-October, Oystercatcher XXVIII represents the second Humphreys-designed racing yacht for owner Richard Matthews. The hull and deck of Oystercatcher XXVIII were constructed from ACGs Lloyds Register of Shipping approved VTM260 Series carbon prepregs direct from female moulds, a technique adopted by world-class designers and builders of ocean-going craft. This technique offers optimum surface finish and minimal material usage, thus delivering the race-winning performance demanded by yachts in this class. The hull utilises a foam-core to provide the requisite toughness for offshore racing while the deck and internal structures employ Nomex honeycomb cores to reduce the overall weight. Central to the design is a hydraulically operated lifting keel, which effectively reduces the draft from 3.65 to 2.5m. The rig, supplied by Southern Spars, has been manufactured using ACGs MTM57 Series ultra-high modulus carbon fibre prepregs. Oystercatcher XXVIII is heading off to compete in a gruelling race program encompassing Cowes Week, the Key West Race Week, Rolex Fastnet, the RORC Caribbean 600 and Ocean Races.

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BMW Makes 400m Investment in Carbon Fibre Megacity Vehicle Production

12th November 2010 0 comments

The BMW Group is investing around 400 million will be invested in new buildings and machinery at its plant in Leipzig for the production of the Megacity Vehicle (MCV). Some 800 jobs will be created in the process. The plant expansion was launched on Friday by German Chancellor Dr Angela Merkel and Dr Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG, together with the Prime Minister of the German state of Saxony, Stanislaw Tillich, and the Governor of Washington state in the US, Chris Gregoire. By producing the Megacity Vehicle in Germany the BMW Group is demonstrating a clear commitment to Germany as a high-tech location. With this vehicle we are revolutionising automotive design and production, and offering our customers the first purpose-built electric vehicle for urban areas. This will be the worlds first volume-produced car with a passenger compartment made from lightweight CFRP, as less weight enables a longer range, explained Reithofer. We made a conscious decision to produce the car in Germany, at our plant in Leipzig our newest and most cutting-edge facility with the most flexible structures, he added. Including production of components, the BMW Group and the joint venture set up with the SGL Group for the manufacture of carbon fibres are investing a total of 530 million in the project. The beneficiaries of this investment are the BMW plants in Leipzig and Landshut and the joint venture facilities in Wackersdorf and Moses Lake (Washington state, USA). A total of over 1,000 jobs will be created as a result of the investment. The BMW plant in Dingolfing will produce important components for the drive system and chassis of the MCV.

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Composite Propeller for Dutch Minehunter

12th November 2010 0 comments

Airborne Composites has supplied the Royal Netherlands Navy with a composite main propeller for an Alkmaar-class minehunter. Airborne say that this is the first time in the world that composite materials have been used for a maritime main propeller of such power (about 1400 kW). The propellers were delivered to the Navy in September 2010 and test runs will start at the end of 2010, continuing throughout 2011. The Royal Netherlands Navy has ten Alkmaar-class minehunters, developed in the 1970s by the Navy in cooperation with its French and Belgian counterparts. Erosion is a big problem in bronze ships propellers, explained Wiard Leenders, Managing Director of Airborne Composites. It interferes with the geometry of the blade surface, giving rise to turbulence and hence to vibration and noise. This effect on the acoustic signature of the vessels is particularly undesirable in minehunters, which have to operate very silently in order not to trigger the mines they are hunting. Frequent inspection and maintenance is the only way of ensuring a safe working environment in this case. The necessary maintenance is very expensive, and reduces the operational availability of these vessels. The use of composite materials for the ships propellers offers a way out of this impasse, Wiard Leenders stated. Hydrodynamic tests at the Marin maritime research institute in Wageningen were so promising that the Royal Netherlands Navy commissioned a follow-up study at Airborne. This focused on the possibility of using the orientation of the fibres reinforcing the composite material in order to get propeller blades that adjust their position in response to the load on them, thus obtaining a hydroelastic propeller. These propellers are more quiet in use, and have a higher efficiency which may lead to fuel savings of a few per cent. These fuel savings have generated increasing interest in these flexible composite propellers in civilian shipping circles, Wiard Leenders went on. The composites used for this purpose are carbon-fibre-reinforced epoxy resins.

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Seco Tools Introduces First Product Line for Composites Machining

12th November 2010 0 comments

Seco Tools has launched its new line of Jabro routers specifically developed for the machining of composite materials, featuring five different solid carbide styles with cylindrical shank diameters that range from 3.0 to 20.0mm. We are excited to enter this new area of material application, said Seco Jabro product manager Bill Bogue. Our efforts in R&D have created a high-performing choice of solutions that addresses the problems inherent in composite machining to help shops improve both the quality and productivity of their operations. Each of the routers features a DURA high performance CVD diamond coating, which is thicker than traditional CVD coatings. The DURA coating provides an outstanding thermal and abrasive barrier to effectively manufacture composite materials. The JC840 Left-Right Helix Router handles slotting operations in carbon- and/or glass-fiber composites. The JC850 Light Helix Ballnose Router is for 3D copy milling of components such as landing gear and is suitable for carbon fibre PEEK type materials. The JC860 Honeycomb Router perform slotting/side milling of honeycomb materials with carbon and/or glass top layers and paper and or/aluminium honeycomb. The JC870 Diamond Cut Router acts as a trouble shooter in slotting applications in various layered carbon and/or glass fibre materials. And, the JC880 Light Helix Router is for maximum material removal in slotting and side milling of carbon fibre and PEEK-type materials.

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FiberSIM 2010 Released to Include Advancements in Composite Materials and Processes

12th November 2010 0 comments

Vistagy has released FiberSIM 2010, the latest version of its engineering software for designing and manufacturing innovative, durable and lightweight composite structures. Many features of the new software were inspired by the adoption of composites in a growing number of industries and Vistagy say that the new version of FiberSIM includes the following features: – Advanced features for preserving composite design intent, which capture the critical inputs that drive the composite part design at the earliest stages of development. – Enhanced ability to design for manufacture of advanced materials and processes, including new Multi-Layer Material Simulation that provides insight into the drapeability of non-crimp fabrics (NCF) and other advanced materials,. – An improved connection between design and analysis to enable more efficient transfer of composite design requirements. – The industrys first standardized 3D model-based representation of the composite part definition. – New functionality for validating that the as-built part is representative of the as-designed/analyzed part, ensuring adherence to design specifications. – An improved user experience through a redesigned interface tailored to specific use cases, which puts key functionality at the users fingertips. “”FiberSIM has been the cornerstone of our composites engineering process for the last eight years,”” stated Ian Goddard, senior CAE engineer for Renault F1 Team. “”Its the only comprehensive software product that addresses the entire composites engineering process, meeting challenges from conception to deployment of the vehicles on the track. New functionally in FiberSIM 2010 makes it possible for us to exploit the advantages of the newest materials and processes in an effort to get the most optimized and competitive race cars to the starting line as quickly as possible. “” “”FiberSIM 2010 continues to strengthen our solutions for composites engineering by meeting the growing needs of OEMs and suppliers that are designing and building composite parts within the aerospace, automotive, wind energy, and various other industries,”” said Steve Peck, director of product and market strategy at VISTAGY. “”These manufacturers acknowledge that to take full advantage of the latest advancements in composite materials and processes, they need to focus on optimizing designs to achieve the ideal balance between cost, performance, quality, manufacturability, reliability, and maintainability. FiberSIM 2010 gives them the tools to meet that objective.””

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