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Composites Industry News

News for June 2006


Matrix Introduce Composite Repair Training Courses

18th June 2006 0 comments

Adding further to their existing portfolio of services and to compliment the introduction of their portable composite repair kits, Matrix will be running composite repair training courses from July 2006. The courses are designed to give sufficient information, knowledge and practical experience to enable the attendees to undertake competent repairs to non structural composite components out in the field, or workshop. There will be a choice of one and two day courses dealing with the repair of non structural parts including bodywork and ducting.

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LM Glasfiber Invests DKK 25 Million in New Wind Tunnel

18th June 2006 0 comments

At LM Glasfiber in Lunderskov, Helge Sander, the Danish Minister of Science, has inaugurated the world’s first wind tunnel custom-designed for research and testing of the aerodynamic properties of rotor blades. During the past 20 years, we have managed to double the capacity of wind turbines about every four years. As a result, the price of wind power has been reduced by approximately 80% during the same period. This development is best illustrated by LM Glasfiber’s largest rotor blade, which is also the world’s largest at 61.5 metres. A wind turbine with three of these blades is able to generate power sufficient to cover the annual consumption of 5,000 households. Ten years ago, four of the most advanced turbines at the time were required to cover the same power consumption. The challenge lies in the fact that wind technology has reached such an advanced stage that decisive new knowledge is required if we are to continue to achieve similar efficiency improvements. This is the kind of knowledge the new wind tunnel is to provide. The wind tunnel will give LM Glasfiber’s team of aerodynamic scientists and engineers a world-exclusive opportunity to conduct tests, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to develop the optimum aerodynamic blade design. This design consistently balances on a compromise in which the objective is to extract as much power from the wind as possible while at the same time minimising the load on the wind turbine. The optimum solution cannot be based on theory alone. It must be tested under conditions identical to those in the real world. This is the kind of tests performed in the new wind tunnel, and its design will allow LM Glasfiber to recreate the operating conditions of the rotor blades with a higher degree of precision than previously. ”In fact, efficiency is now so high that we have started to operate with margins when we speak of efficiency,” says Frank V. Nielsen, LM Glasfiber’s R&D Director. ”But the margins are very important. If our blade design can help boost the annual power production by a mere 2% during its 20-year lifetime, it will generate so much more power that, in financial terms, it will offset the financing cost of the wind turbine. We are confident that our new wind tunnel can contribute with the know-how required for us to achieve this higher efficiency.” ”It is paramount that the industry as well as the public sector make research and development investments to reduce our reliance on coal, gas and oil to the greatest extent possible, providing us with a sustainable source of energy that also offers socio-economic benefits,” says Ronald Sundén, CEO of LM Glasfiber. ”Inexpensive and clean energy is not a utopia. Therefore, it is important that we make investments in alternative forms of energy that are as effective as possible. We hope that we at LM Glasfiber will help to lead the way forward in this process.” “”When LM Glasfiber invests in infrastructure for research, naturally this provides access to new knowledge, but it also makes it easier to attract highly qualified professionals, and it will strengthen the collaboration with the scientists at Risø and other research institutions. Consequently, the company’s new wind tunnel is an excellent starting point for the strong research and innovation collaboration, which is the government’s strategy for securing Danish workplaces, earnings, and welfare,”” says Helge Sander, Minister for Science, Technology, and Innovation.

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Reichhold, DSM and Scott Bader Announce Price Increase

18th June 2006 0 comments

Reichhold, DSM and Scott Bader have all announced additional price increases of between €70 and €100 per tonne on polyester systems. Europe’s largest UP resins and gel coat producer, DSM Composite Resins AG, has announced a further price increase on all of its resin and gel coat products of € 70.00 (Euro) per metric tonne with effect from 1st July 2006. This is in addition to the €70.00 increase that was implemented on May 1st 2006. Scott Bader is increasing the prices of all Crystic unsaturated polyester, DCPD and vinyl ester resins, plus all gelcoats and its Crystic Crestomer structural adhesive range by 90 €/t on all deliveries from its European sites from July 3rd 2006. Reichhold has announced a price increase of 100 € (Euro) per metric ton (0.10€ / Kg) on all of its products sold to the composites industry in the EMEA region (Europe / Middle East / Africa). This increase is in addition to the one announced in March and is effective for all orders shipped on or after July 1, 2006. “This increase is a necessary response to the escalating cost of key raw materials,” explained Reichhold’s EMEA Vice President of Sales Alberto Piccinotti. “Increased and sustained crude oil prices have consistently driven up benzene pricing with a direct effect on the cost of styrene.” “Maleic anhydride prices have risen sharply due to extremely tight availability as a consequence of both planned and unplanned shut-downs by maleic producers in the region,” Piccinotti continued. “We appreciate our customers’ patience as all of the composites industry must contend with volatile raw material pricing,” Piccinotti said. “As a key component of our customers’ business, Reichhold continues to invest in research and development so that we can provide technical solutions to the needs of our customers,” he concluded.

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Airbus Announces Shift in A380 Production Programme

18th June 2006 0 comments

The A380 programme will undergo a shift of six to seven months due to production ramp-up issues, although certification and delivery of the first aircraft is expected by the end of the year. The new delays are caused by industrial issues, mainly traceable to bottlenecks formed in the definition, manufacturing and installation of electrical systems and resulting harnesses. The shift in the production ramp-up is likely to limit aircraft delivery to nine in 2007. A recent programme review has led Airbus to the conclusion that 2007 deliveries will likely be limited to nine, and that a shortfall of five to nine aircraft deliveries in 2008 and around five aircraft in 2009 could be expected, compared to initial delivery planning. The review also concluded that further actions are required to secure a ramp-up recovery in 2008 and 2009. Airbus continues to be very satisfied by the performance of the A380. The aircraft handles extremely well and airline pilots who have already flown the aircraft, report enthusiastically about it. Overall, the aircraft have performed more than 1,400 flight hours in over 430 flights. Since the first flight of the first A380 in Toulouse on 27th April 2005, four more aircraft have taken to the air. The first two are heavily involved in the flight test campaign, two more are used for cabin testing and the fifth one is currently undergoing customisation and cabin furnishing in Hamburg to be ready for first aircraft delivery at the end of 2006.

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Zyvex and Arkema Strengthen Partnership in Nanomaterials

18th June 2006 0 comments

Through a new licensing arrangement, Arkema will use Zyvex’s patented Kentera dispersion technology, in conjunction with its own Multi Wall Carbon Nanotubes (MWNTs).

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Oglaend Launch New GRP Cable Tray and Ladder

18th June 2006 0 comments

Oglaend System has launched a complete new Cable Support System manufactured from fibre reinforced plastic (FRP) for the Oil & Gas industry. The products are available in 3 resin systems, and PHF (ISO Polyester Class ll Halogen free) as the main stocked product which is fully complimented by accessories and connecting parts to offer a full system. Oglaend say that the FRP system is unique to the market with its innovative patented design and several improved details. The shape of the FOE150 ladder profile has been tested and approved to the current NEMA 20C standard which is the highest class for FRP cable ladder systems.

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British Engineer to Become First Non-US President of SAMPE

18th June 2006 0 comments

Former GKN Westland’s composites engineer Bob Griffiths has been elected Executive Vice-President of SAMPE International, the global Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering, and will follow on from Ray Miller to become International President of the Society in July 2007. He will make history as the first non-US citizen in the forty-year existence of SAMPE to take the top office. Griffiths, who was President of SAMPE Europe in 2000-2, is thrilled at the prospect: “It’s a great honour to be asked to do such an important and influential job and I am looking forward to the challenge with great enthusiasm but also with some trepidation as a Briton and a European in ‘uncharted’ territory. I am grateful to my colleagues in SAMPE Europe and particularly to my friends in the UK and Ireland Chapter for their unflagging support over the years. SAMPE continues to grow strongly, with steadily increasing membership throughout the world, and I sincerely hope to engineer positive change to address the growing multi-national character of the society and truly reflect the democratic wishes of the membership.” After more than 30 years service with Rolls-Royce, Smiths Aerospace, Westland Helicopters and GKN Aerospace, Bob Griffiths established his own specialist composites consultancy company, ERG Ltd, in 2001 and has been involved successfully in a range of individual projects for a variety of major clients, as well as playing a key role in the market development of a number of M&P product initiatives, particularly Quickstep and Aztec. UK and Ireland Chapter Chairman Andy Long is among the first to applaud Bob’s unique achievement: “I have absolutely no doubts that Bob will make an outstanding International President and really make a difference. All the members of the UK & Ireland Chapter join me in wishing him good luck and success, and trust that in the heady corridors of power he does not forget where his roots are.”

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BMCI Gains Advantage with AOC Resin

18th June 2006 0 comments

Bulk Molding Compounds have used unsaturated polyester from AOC in the first commercial application of their Gas Evacuation Technology – a refrigerator handle. The handle is injection moulded in BMC 310, an appliance grade, fibreglass-reinforced bulk moulding compound which meets Underwriters Laboratory 5-V standard at a 0.070-inch (1.8-centimetre) thickness. BMC 310 is pigmentable in a range of colours and can be injection, compression or transfer moulded. “AOC supplies the base resin for our BMC 310 appliance grade product,” says Len Nunnery, BMCI’s Director of Sales and Marketing. “The AOC resin component is a very consistent, high quality product that we have noted as a ‘go to’ for more demanding, aesthetically critical molding applications. This resin allows our molding customers to achieve the gloss, food stain and heat resistance necessary to meet the difficult surface requirements imposed by major appliance OEMs.” BMCI claim that the Gas Evacuation Technology (GET) process results in parts that use up to 40% less material and are moulded in up to 60% less time. The technology allows thermoset composites to regain a cost advantage that was temporarily lost to thermoplastic parts that were gas-assist injection moulded. Gas-assist moulding consumes less material by leaving a hollow cavity in elongated sections. The hollow core design results in stiffness properties that are equal to or greater than those of a solid part. Len Nunnery and Fran Zappitelli, Executive Vice President Corporate for BMCI, felt they could regain the cost advantage for thermosets by developing a cavity-forming technology for that family of polymers, and developed GET which combines a special fibreglass-reinforced thermoset polyester bulk moulding compound (BMC) with pressurized gas. With GET, the BMC is injected into the cavity or cavities of a heated mold and held under pressure until a “skin” of material has cured to produce the desired net shape of the part. Pressurized gas is then introduced into the centre of the material at the end of flow. The pressure forces the uncured BMC back through the part and runner/manifold, and into the barrel of the moulding machine. The gas-evacuated material is effectively reclaimed and positioned in front of the injection screw check ring as part of the next moulded shot. The recovery of uncured material for reuse is the key to making GET competitive with gas-assist injection moulded thermoplastics which, unlike thermosets, do not crosslink under heat. In the commercial debut of GET, custom moulder Dickten & Masch, Nashotah, Wisconsin, uses AOC resin-based BMC 310 to injection mold a 42-inch (107-centimeter) long refrigerator handle. The handle is roughly 1.5-inches (3.8 centimeters) in diameter at its largest cross-section and weighs about 2 pounds (0.9 kilogram). “Gas assist processing with BMC is drawing the attention of the composite manufacturing community,” Nunnery states. “This is a solid advancement for thermosets.”

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PlastiComp to Introduce New Pushtrusion Direct In-Line Compounding Platforms at NPE.

18th June 2006 0 comments

PlastiComp will unveil two commercial platforms for Pushtrusion Direct In-Line Compounding technology at NPE 2006 – as an original equipment option on new moulding machines and as a portable unit that can easily be retrofit to an existing moulding machine. Engel Machinery will make Pushtrusion technology available as an option on their “Combi” series injection moulding machines. These introductory machines are based upon the 300 ton press and may include the added advantage of injection compression. The Engel “plug and play” integration of Pushtrusion technology enables moulders with flexibility to choose between pre-compounded pellets and direct in-line compounding on the same machine. MGS Mfg. Group has developed portable Pushtrusion units that can connect to an installed injection machine for added versatility of an existing asset. These portable, self contained Pushtrusion compounding units may be designed to include a range of shot sizes from 3 – 160 ounces. An example of a commercial Pushtrusion unit will be on display in the MGS Mfg. Group booth at NPE. “We project a very large market potential for Pushtrusion, and we are confident that our customers will appreciate the flexibility to choose between either of these platforms to best suit their circumstances and business practices” said Steve Bowen, President and CEO of PlastiComp LLC

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Composites Europe Meeting with Strong Approval from Industry

18th June 2006 0 comments

The Composites Europe show is steadily taking shape and bookings for the specialist trade fair and forum are firming up nicely. Over 130 well-known companies, institutions and organisations from over 20 countries have already booked a stand at the Composites Europe. These include industry leaders such as the Finnish Exel group, Huntsman, Quadrant, Lorenz Kunststofftechnik, Airtech and the Röchling group. Composites Europe is nearly fully booked. Above all, the Composites Europe is going down very well with the national groups of the European Composites Industry Association (EuCIA). 13 national associations are supporting the new trade fair for composites. “”The Composites Europe represents a unique platform where the member companies of the European association can showcase their products and services,”” says EuCIA Vice President Jan Verhaeghe. “”Small and medium-size companies stand to gain in particular from the fair, which is specifically designed to meet their needs. The format is just right,”” Verhaeghe continued. Composites Europe is also being strengthened as a meeting place for the European composites industry by the 9th International AVK Conference. The AVK – the German Federation of Reinforced Plastics – will be holding its annual conference in 2006 during the Composites Europe. The AVK is expecting roughly 500 international participants at its event in the South Conference Centre of the Essen Exhibition Centre on 19 and 20 September.

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