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Composites Industry News

News for February 2011


ISO Develops Nanoparticle Toxicity Testing

8th February 2011 0 comments

The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) has published a new international standard to support the inhalation toxicity testing of nanoparticles. This standard was developed in response to concern from researchers and manufacturers about the safety and environmental impact of these particles, following the rapid growth of nanotechnology-based products. Entitled ‘Nanotechnologies – characterisation of nanoparticles in inhalation exposure chambers for inhalation toxicity testing,’ the ISO 10808:2010 standard is intended to ensure tests used to establish the inhalation toxicity of airborne nanoparticles are reliable and consistent worldwide. Dr Peter Hatto, chair of the committee responsible for developing the standard, said: “”With the rapid expansion of nanotechnology applications comes a growing risk of exposure to potentially toxic substances, especially for workers in nanotechnology-based industries. “”Moreover, if airborne nanoparticles were liberated from products, the general public could also be affected. Ensuring the safety of these particles is therefore paramount for the well-being of workers and consumers.”” ISO 10808 establishes a variety of methods for monitoring the inhalation toxicity testing chamber, including a differential mobility analysing system (DMAS). This system is intended to determine particle number, size, size-distribution, surface area and estimated mass dose. The ISO standard also establishes morphological examination using transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM), equipped with an energy dispersive X-ray analyser (EDXA) for chemical composition. “”In order to test inhalation toxicity it is necessary to monitor concentration, size and size-distribution of nanoscale particles in an inhalation chamber,”” said Dr Hatto. “”Traditional methods used in other areas are considered insufficient for testing nanoparticles since parameters specific to them like particle surface area or number, might be crucial determinants of toxicity. ISO 10808 takes into account the particular characteristics and potential risks of nanoparticles and is thus an important asset to the industry.””

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Teijin to Reorganize Carbon Fibres Business

8th February 2011 0 comments

Teijin will integrate its business units for carbon fibres and composite materials into the new Carbon Fibers and Composites Business Group, aiming to accelerate expansion of advanced composite materials business, one of the main components of Teijin’s long-term growth strategy. Operating under the direct management of President and CEO Shigeo Ohyagi, Teijin expect the integrated group to develop the composite materials business more strategically, and strengthen both sales and profitability of its carbon fibre and composite materials businesses. The Carbon Fibers and Composites Business Group will comprise Toho Tenax and its subsidiary companies now in the current Carbon Fibers Business Group, the Teijin Composites Innovation Center and GH Craft Ltd.

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Quickstep Poised to Supply F-35 JSF Components

8th February 2011 0 comments

Australian advanced materials company Quickstep has signed a Long Term Agreement (LTA) to manufacture parts for the international F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program over the next 20 years. Under the framework established in the LTA, first JSF parts and first cash flow will be delivered in 2012. The LTA is the first of several agreements which will implement the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that was signed in November 2009 Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. Under the MOU, Quickstep will supply up to 16 different JSF components, including lower side skins, maintenance access panels, fuel tank covers, lower skins and in-board weapons bay doors, projected to amount to some 36,000+ parts over the life of the program and could generate annual turnover of around $50 million by 2015. The total value of the work over the life of the aircraft could be up to $700M. With this large-scale manufacturing agreement now in place, Quickstep also today announced plans to establish a major new aerospace manufacturing facility at Bankstown Airport in south-west Sydney, signing a 10-year lease over 4,200sqm of buildings that were previously used by US aerospace giant Boeing, in a move that will secure the Company’s long-term aerospace manufacturing capabilities. Quickstep Chief Executive, Mr Philippe Odouard, said it was an historic day for the Company, marking the culmination of many years of hard work in promoting Quickstep’s aerospace manufacturing capabilities and demonstrating its ability to meet the high standards required under the JSF program requirements. “”The signing of this LTA signals a genuine quantum shift in Quickstep’s development. The international defence industry has perhaps one of the highest barriers to entry of any industry in the world, but, for companies that are successful, the contracts are generally large scale and long term. Quickstep has now earned its place as a supplier for JSF, and we hope many additional aerospace and defence contracts will soon follow,”” Mr Odouard commented. “”In addition, our success in securing specific sections of Boeing’s former manufacturing site in Sydney will provide Quickstep with a long-term lease over a manufacturing facility that offers the scale, resources and utilities necessary to undertake large-scale aerospace and defence manufacturing.”” “”The facility at Bankstown Airport was previously a substantial aerospace manufacturing facility with a workforce with aerospace industry skill-sets in place. This represents an absolutely outstanding opportunity for Quickstep to lock-in the manufacturing capacity required for the delivery of first JSF parts in 2012 and support further contracts as they are secured.”” Dr Ram Ramkumar, Director of F-35 International Programs at Northrop Grumman’s Aerospace Systems sector, said: “”This LTA gets us a step closer to meeting our F-35 industrial participation commitment to the government of Australia. We look forward to Quickstep’s involvement in the JSF program, and their production of F-35 composites subassemblies that will be delivered to our assembly operations in Palmdale, California.”” The move to Bankstown is expected to provide Quickstep with the manufacturing capacity to become the largest independent aerospace composites manufacturer in Australia, with the Company actively seeking further manufacturing contracts. The decision to establish a new manufacturing hub in NSW was underpinned by strong support from the NSW Government and the ability to access an existing workforce with the specialist skill sets required to deliver such a large scale defence program, together with access to the large network of suppliers located in NSW and on the east coast of Australia. “”The NSW Government has provided invaluable assistance to facilitate this move and we are extremely pleased to be working with them to ensure that State’s proud reputation for aerospace manufacturing continues long into the future,”” Mr Odouard said. Quickstep’s move to Bankstown will include the transfer of R&D programs relating to the Company’s proprietary composites manufacturing technology the Quickstep Process – which will form a key component of Quickstep’s future licensing and export capabilities from Australia. New South Wales Treasurer and Minister for State & Regional Development, the Hon. Eric Roozendaal MLC said the State was actively working to attract new manufacturing ventures. “”The New South Wales Government recognises the importance of manufacturing to the State economy particularly large-scale export-based manufacturing such as that seen in the international aerospace and defence industries, and we are delighted to welcome Quickstep as one of the new wave of Australian manufacturing companies that have the potential to significantly contribute to the State’s long-term growth. We are particularly interested in Quickstep’s R&D capabilities which will continue to build the intellectual property of Australian companies and their export capacity.”” The Minister for Defence Materiel the Hon. Jason Clare said, “”The F-35 Joint Strike Fighter forms a key element of Australia’s future defence program, and the Government is actively working to ensure Australian businesses have an opportunity to tender for JSF contracts. Today’s signing of a Long Term Agreement between Quickstep and Northrop Grumman demonstrates how Australian businesses can participate in this major international development initiative.”” Quickstep intends to undertake a staged transition from its existing facility in Western Australia, with all Western Australian employees to be offered the opportunity to relocate to Sydney. The Company plans to move some initial staff members to Bankstown in early 2011 and plans to be ready for aerospace manufacturing by the end of 2011.

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Hexcel Promotes Rapid Curing Prepreg at ISPO 2011

8th February 2011 0 comments

Hexcel will be promoting the very fast curing HexPly M77 epoxy prepreg resin system at the ISPO winter sports exhibition, taking place in Munich, 6-9 February (stand no. 347, Hall A4). This product cures under 5 minutes and is designed to provide a very efficient composite manufacturing process for ski and snowboards. Curing in only 2 minutes at 300F/150C, HexPly M77 also has a shelf life of 6 weeks at 23C. The material has a Tg of 120C/250F and good adhesive properties (for example when bonding to honeycombs or aluminium), intended to make HexPly M77 suitable for large volume production. Based on HexPly M77 resin system, Hexcel has launched a range of prepregs with glass or carbon reinforcements in multiaxial form as well as woven fabrics and UD tapes.

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GThurm Windows Feature Pultruded Polyurethane Composite technology

22nd February 2011 0 comments

Graham Architectural Products has launched GThurm a line of high-efficiency windows that use pultruded polyurethane composites for the lineals. The first commercial installation of the GThurm windows took place in late 2010 at the Bayer CropScience LP Clayton (N.C.) Development and Training Facility. A total of 76 windows were replaced at the building, which is roughly 50 years old. The before/after difference was immediately noticeable, according to John Rock, who was the site manager at Clayton during the time of the installation. “”I could actually feel a breeze on a windy day when I stood next to the old windows,”” said Rock. “”The new windows have greatly increased the comfort of the people who work in this facility. Furthermore, we expect to realize energy savings of roughly 12 percent, which is significant,”” he continued. Graham Architectural Products’ GThurm high-efficiency window products are said to be the first American-made architecturally rated (AW) windows to feature thermal transmission measures as low as U 0.18 (R 5.5), using readily available insulating glass. GThurm windows feature a unique polyurethane resin supplied by Bayer MaterialScience LLC that contains no volatile organic compounds (VOCs). According to Graham Architectural Products, 80 percent continuous stranded glass content is combined with 20 percent resin to produce window lineals using the pultrusion process. Having the Bayer facility in Clayton, N.C., as Graham Architectural Products’ first commercial application for our GThurm windows made perfect sense, according to Jim Eisenbeis, director of marketing, Graham Architectural Products. “”Bayer MaterialScience LLC has been a strategic partner in this venture from the beginning, and we are pleased to be able to cite the Clayton project as a benchmark for all future applications of our high-efficiency GThurm windows.””

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Audi and Voith Form Development Partnership

22nd February 2011 0 comments

Audi AG and Voith GmbH have signed a letter of intent regarding a development partnership to promote industrialization of fibre-reinforced materials, particularly through developing a highly automated process chain for high-volume automotive production. The planned long-term and exclusive partnership between Audi and Voith is to focus on the further development and highly automated production of fibre-reinforced materials for use in future automotive projects. This is intended to use the high potential of this innovative material to benefit lightweight construction and efficiency. With a focus on implementation in volume production, Audi and Voith are looking to apply themselves to developing new, innovative high-tech materials, in addition to industrialization and process engineering for conventional fibre-reinforced polymers. One approach involves environmentally-compatible fibre composite materials that offer ideal properties for use in the automotive industry as a complement to existing materials, with respect to both total energy balance and process engineering. “”Fibre-reinforced polymers offer weight and strength advantages, which we have already put to use in the Audi R8 and the Audi RS 3, for instance. We want to use these advantages for high-volume production as well, and therefore the focus of our partnership with Voith is on specific car projects,”” said Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of Management of Audi AG. “”We are concentrating on the manufacturing and recyclability of fibre-reinforced materials in the interest of a sustainable material cycle. After all, part of our corporate responsibility is to face the challenge of harmonizing economic and environmental interests as we move toward using fibre-reinforced polymers in high-volume production. With Audi and Voith, the right partners have come together to handle these challenges.”” For several years now, Voith GmbH has been intensively involved with the use of CFRP (carbon fibre-reinforced polymer) in industrial plant design, such as in lightweight construction components in paper machines or in drive engineering. With the help of the development partnership being announced today, the company will now be able to apply its technological know-how to the automotive sector as well. Voith sees major potential for growth in the use of fibre-reinforced polymers in high-volume production, especially in this market. “”For Voith, technologies for the use of fibre-composite materials in industrial production are a key strategic competence. Given the ever-greater requirements for efficiency, coupled with the need to protect the environment and conserve resources, we are certain that this competence will be demanded by more and more markets in the future,”” said Dr. Hubert Lienhard, CEO of Voith GmbH. In Audi, Voith has found an attractive partner that already possesses solid experience in lightweight construction and that has successfully introduced new materials into high-volume production.

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Global Nanocarbon Production to Reach Nearly $1.3 Billion By 2015

22nd February 2011 0 comments

According to a recently published report from iRAP, the production capacity for carbon nanotubes, carbon nanofibers, fullerenes, graphene and nanodiamonds was 4,065 tons in 2010, and is expected to exceed 12,300 tons in 2015. The actual production was less than 25% of the capacity in 2010 and about 50% of the capacity in 2015. Total production value is estimated at about $435 million in 2010 and is expected reach a value of $1.3 billion in 2015. Major Findings of this report – ET-113: Production and Application of Carbon Nanotubes, Carbon Nanofibers, Fullerenes, Graphene and Nanodiamonds: A Global Technology Survey and Market Analysis -are:

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Nano-Reinforced Polymer Could Reduce Carbon Footprint

22nd February 2011 0 comments

Using a processing method licensed from NRC, Nova Scotia biotech firm Bio Vision Technology Inc. is now supplying a high-grade nanocrystalline cellulose to research institutions and companies that are exploring high-value applications for this material. Nanocrystalline cellulose, or NCC, can be used as a performance enhancer in everything from automotive panels and aircraft parts to medical products. “”Bio Vision is interested in developing new bioproducts to replace or supplement petrochemical supplies,”” says Stephen Allen, Vice-President of Technology. “”By replacing just two percent of the polymers that are now made from petrochemicals, we could significantly reduce our carbon footprint.”” Another potential benefit is that NCC offers a way of harnessing the waste products from agriculture and forestry. Nanocrystalline cellulose is a fundamental building block of cellulose, the most abundant organic polymer on earth. Cellulose contains both crystalline and non-crystalline (amorphous) regions NCC is obtained by chemically removing the amorphous cellulose, leaving behind tiny, nano-scale needles. Simplifying the production process The first methods that were developed for extracting NCC used sulphuric acid to dissolve amorphous cellulose. However, this approach is costly, less environmentally friendly and difficult to scale up, so scientists at the NRC Biotechnology Research Institute (NRC-BRI) in Montral sought to simplify the production process. The result: a single-step procedure that uses an oxidizer to produce a higher quality fibre called “”carboxylated NCC.”” “”NRC’s approach is less expensive, cleaner, simpler and more amenable to scale up,”” says Allen. “”What’s more, the final product is more uniform each fibre is about 150 nanometres long and 5 nanometres wide and therefore better suited for industrial applications.”” “”Carboxylated NCC is also easier to work with than the NCC made using sulphuric acid because it provides a chemical handle that you can use to attach other chemicals in order to produce tailor-made NCC suitable for various applications as a performance enhancer.””

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Blast Chimney for Armoured Vehicles Uses Dyneema

22nd February 2011 0 comments

Composite armour systems specialist Hardwire LLC has developed and successfully demonstrated a blast protection system that utilizes Dyneema ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) fibre to improves the ability of light military vehicles to protect occupants.

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Price Increases from Reichhold, AOC, DSM, Interplastic and Scott Bader

22nd February 2011 0 comments

Five of the major resin suppliers have all announced price increases this week across a range of products and geographical areas. AOC will increase prices on all polyester resin, gel coat, pigments and additive products US$0.06 per pound in the United States, and CN$0.13 per kilo in Canada. Both price increases are effective for shipments on and after March 7, 2011. AOC will also make a price increase for all products, including polyester resins, vinyl ester resins, gel coats and pigments of US$0.06 per pound for all shipments to, from and within Mexico. The implementation date for that increase is February 24, 2011. Interplastic Corporation’s Thermoset Resins Division is raising the price of CoREZYN and Silmar brand products $.06 per pound on all polyester and vinyl ester resins, gel coats, colorants and putties. This increase will take effect on all shipments on or after March 5, 2011. DSM Composite Resins is increasing the price of its complete unsaturated polyester resin portfolio and Neoxil sizings & binders by 150 EUR/ton with effect of March 1, 2011. For specific resins, the increase will be higher than the latter, depending on the availability of the raw material. Scott Bader is increasing prices by 120/te for all Crystic unsaturated polyester, DCPD, Crestapol and vinyl ester resins, all gelcoats, pigments, bonding pastes and Crystic Crestomer structural adhesive products, effective from March 14th 2011 at the latest. Reichhold has also announced a price increase of $0.06 per pound on all unsaturated polyester and vinyl ester resins sold in North America for the composites industry. This increase is effective for all orders shipped on or after March 7. “”Raw material prices and freight rates continue to escalate beyond our ability to absorb these additional costs and a price increase is necessary,”” said Al Naser, Reichhold commercial vice president, Composites North America. “”Global supply and demand, certain feedstock restrictions, and the price spread between crude oil and natural gas, have all combined to drive up the prices of our key raw materials,”” Naser continued. “”We appreciate the understanding of our customers as we work to limit the impact of rising costs upon product pricing,”” Naser added. “”At the same time we are making the investments necessary to continue the supply of innovative and high quality products and services which add value for our customers and increase their competitiveness in the markets they serve,”” he concluded.

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