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Composites Industry News

News for 2002


Hexcel Appoints new Director

1st February 2002 0 comments

Hexcel has appointed Sandra L. Derickson to its board of directors. Ms. Derickson is the Chief Executive Officer of Household Retail Services, the private label credit card business of Household International. Prior to joining Household, Ms. Derickson had been with GE Capital for twenty-four years, eight years of which were as an officer of GE. Most recently at GE Capital she served as president and general manager of GE Capital Auto Financial Services, the largest non-captive auto leasing business in the world. Mr. David E. Berges, Hexcel’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer said, “”We are delighted that Sandy is joining our board. She brings to Hexcel a wealth of managerial, marketing and financial experience that will be greatly valued.”” Hexcel Corporation designs, manufactures and markets lightweight, high performance reinforcement products, composite materials and engineered products for use in commercial aerospace, space and defense, electronics, general industrial, and recreation applications.

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Aerovac a Forum on Process Consumables

1st February 2002 0 comments

Aerovac has been invited to lead a workshop on Process Consumables run by the Composite Processing Association (CPA).

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GKN Opens New Connecticut Engineering Development Center

1st February 2002 0 comments

GKN Aerospace Services will open a new center for the design and development of high-performance aerospace components in central Connecticut. The center is expected to employ approximately 25 people initially, mostly engineers who will transfer to the new center from the company’s Wallingford, Connecticut, manufacturing facility. The Wallingford manufacturing operations are being transferred to St. Louis, Missouri, as part of the company’s consolidation of similar composites manufacturing at that location. The St. Louis facility, which employs approximately 1,200 people, was acquired from Boeing one year ago. Individual aircraft components as well as complete subassemblies for high performance military aircraft are manufactured at that location. Until a specific site is selected for the engineering development center, the company will use space now occupied by the Wallingford manufacturing operations. The company selected Central Connecticut for the new center to continue the development of the RTM process with the experienced group that have supported GKN’s numerous customers over the last ten years. Initially, work at the center will focus on the design, development, and tool definition for composite components using advanced resin transfer molding (RTM). In addition, development work such as material qualification, processing of new resin systems, and structural test sub-elements will be fabricated at the new site. The facility will contain design office space utilizing Catia and Unigraphics CAD systems as well as a development fabrication cell and advanced materials lab.

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RSI Secures Large Purchase Order

1st February 2002 0 comments

Resin Systems Inc. has received a purchase order from a U.S. based construction supply company, which has a minimum annual quantity commitment of $500,000 (CDN).

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ADS Lands Several Contracts for its Pultrusion Division

1st February 2002 0 comments

ADS Inc. has won some major contracts in the composite materials sector for its Pultrall division, securing substantial orders for bracing bars for use in military track vehicles. Also, orders for two parts were landed for the motor coach market, one of which is already in production. The two customers are MCI Mexico and Volvo Bus. These annual and renewable orders represent sales of just over $1 million. The potential outlook for these new applications is more than promising given the advantages of the reduced weight and the quality of the resulting finished surfaces. ADS Inc., based in Beauce, near Quebec City, is a company involved primarily in the manufacturing sector through its subsidiaries operating in the technical textiles and composite materials sector.

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A160 Hummingbird UAV Poised For First Flight

1st February 2002 0 comments

The first of Frontier Systems’ two A160 rotary-wing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) is ready to conduct its first flight as soon as weather conditions become favorable and final ground runs are complete. “”They are looking to conduct our first flight in the next month,”” a program official told Defense Daily last week. “”Our main issue is the wind. Sometimes it gets up to 30 knots during the day, and that is not good for a first flight,”” The goal of the A160 program is to develop a surveillance rotorcraft capable of carrying a 300 to 500 pound payload with an endurance of over 40 hours, an unrefueled range of more than 2,300 miles and a top speed of about 160 mph. The A160 UAV uses a new rotor system that utilizes a patented hingeless, rigid three-blade rotor with low tip speeds and low disk loading for increased endurance. Its carbon composite blades are stiff and tapered from the rotor head to their tips. Conventional helicopters are fitted with flexible blades and must operate at 100 percent of their revolutions per minute in all flight regimes. As a result, the aircraft can be fuel inefficient at certain speeds. The A160, on the other hand, can slow down its rotor to as little as 40 percent of its maximum RPM, making the UAV much more fuel efficient. The lower tip speeds also make the UAV very quiet. The A160’s airframe is very aerodynamic in shape and fitted with retractable landing gear to aid in signature reduction.Given the projected long range, high endurance, vertical takeoff and landing capability and stealthy characteristics of the A160, a number of services as well as other government agencies have taken a hard look at the program.

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Cincinnati Machine Names Executive Senior Vice President

1st February 2002 0 comments

John Judge has been appointed executive senior vice president at Cincinnati Machine. He will be responsible for high impact new business opportunities, strategic alliances, customer relationship management, and partnerships worldwide serving original equipment manufacturers in aerospace, heavy equipment, fluid power and automotive markets. Judge has been with Cincinnati Machine for 33 years. Most recently, he served as senior vice president of sales for Cincinnati Machine’s Advanced Systems and Services Business. He also has held numerous positions in sales and marketing throughout his machine tool career. Cincinnati Machine is a global manufacturer and supplier of CNC machine tools, such as turning centers, vertical machining centers, horizontal machining centers/cells, 5-axis machining centers, universal machining centers, profilers, routers and composite processing equipment. Additionally, Cincinnati PLUS(SM) provides the most comprehensive package of service and support available in the industry today. Industries served include aerospace, heavy equipment, fluid power and automotive, as well as small job shops.

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Boat Ambulance Donation to Essau Health Centre

1st February 2002 0 comments

A boat for a river ambulance service, manufactured by Fibre Glass Company based in Brikama, in the Western Division was presented to the vice president, Mrs Isatou Njie-Saidy at State House on Wednesday, January 16, 2002. The boat was donated to the Essau health centre by the Dutch Foundation for the children of The Gambia to serve as a river ambulance. According to Mr Lamin Sarr, a representative of the Dutch Foundation for children in The Gambia, founded in 1995, they received a request from Essau for a river ambulance. ‘They gave us a specification of what they wanted and we took it to Mr Abdou Jawneh, (Construction Engineer of Fibre Glass) and manufactured it,”” noting that the manufacturers consequently completed work on the boat in due course and handed it over to them. The sum of D126, 360.00 was spent on the boat. “”We’ve been shown statistics of deaths due to the fact that they couldn’t get to RVH on time, that’s why the ambulance is donated to Essau to be servicing between Barra and Banjul. The boat is faster than the ferry. It can take 5-10 minutes from Barra to Banjul,”” Mr Sarr noted. Commenting on the good work of the manufactures of the boat, the vice president said Mr Abdou Jawneh, construction engineer of Fibre Glass was leading the way for other youths to follow. She urged Mr Jawneh to encourage other disable persons like him to take advantage of the skills in fibre glass production.

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Las Vegas Basalt Fiber Manufacturing Plant

8th February 2002 0 comments

Hightec, Inc. announced that it’s subsidiary, Basalt Fiber Industries, Inc. has been formed to commercialize the development of basalt fiber products in America. Basalt Fiber Industries, Inc. will serve as a sister subsidiary to U.S. Cement Company that is also wholly owned by Hightec, Inc. Forty percent of the subsidiary will be sold to strategic partners to finance the new venture. $5 million in equity financing and 15 million in debt financing will be finalized during the next month. Company President, Larry Stockett, stated that announcements of new management team members are expected to be made next week. The composite fiber industry and steel rebar industry will be impressed with the high level executives that are joining a start up company that has the potential to revolutionize the fiberglass, polypropylene fiber, nylon fiber, steel fiber, mineral wool, geotextile, chemical resistant pipeline and steel rebar industries. Over the past month the company has announced plans to import basalt fibers from Russia and the Ukraine, and to build a new manufacturing plant with 10 million ton capacity (per year) of basalt fiber rebar and other basalt fiber products. The company also announced today that it had selected its contractor and executed a contract for a commercial feasibility study for the innovative basalt fiber manufacturing plant to be built entirely out of imported basalt fiber products. Monolithic Dome Institute, of Italy, Texas was selected as the contractor because of its innovative, energy efficient, futuristic domed building concepts. According to Stockett, the dome construction process lends itself entirely to replacement of conventional building materials with the revolutionary new basalt fiber building materials of the future. The company has also selected Wright Engineers, of Las Vegas, Nevada as its civil engineering, mining engineering, and structural engineering firm to develop the master site plan, mining plan, and building plan for the project.

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Wings for X-37 Spaceplane Shipped

8th February 2002 0 comments

Boeing has recently completed the composite wings for the X-37 reusable spaceplane at its Huntington Beach, Calif., facility and delivered them to the High Desert Assembly Integration & Test facility in Palmdale, Calif. The wings of this next-generation Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) technology demonstrator are now co-located with the fuselage, produced by the Boeing Phantom Works prototyping center in St. Louis. “This is the type of significant milestone we get excited about,” said Ron Prosser, vice president of Advanced Space & Communications for Boeing Phantom Works. “The delivery of the wings indicates we are on track and one step closer to getting an autonomous RLV demonstrator built, flying and demonstrating new technologies for making space transportation significantly safer, more reliable and more affordable than is possible today.” “The completion of the wings finishes one of the many complex tasks in building a Reuseable Launch Vehicle (RLV) technology demonstrator,” said Jeff Sexton, NASA’s X-37 program manager at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. “Advancing RLV technology from the research environment to the real world of manufacturing, assembly and flight testing comes with great challenges. The manufacture and assembly of the wings are no exception,” he added. Marshall Space Flight Center’s 2nd Generation RLV Program manages the NASA-wide Space Launch Initiative (SLI) which is developing cost effective and safety enhanced alternatives for accessing space. The X-37 program manager commented, “I am proud of the X-37 team and their commitment in clearing another hurdle. Many more challenges are ahead of us as we pursue the goals of the SLI program to demonstrate 2nd Generation RLV technologies. Accomplishments like this are a motivation to the entire SLI team.” The complex wings were produced by a Phantom Works composite development team at Huntington Beach using sophisticated, highly controlled machining and bonding processes. When attached to the 27.5 ft.-long X-37 fuselage, the wings will have a span of 15 feet. The fuselage is constructed of Graphite Bismaleimide (GrBMI), which is a high temperature composite ideally suited for reusable vehicles returning from orbit. GrBMI operates at 450oF, 100F higher than the current aluminum structure of the Space Shuttle, allowing for a thinner and lighter thermal protection system. In addition, the fuselage is primarily bonded together to minimize weight. “Ever since the low altitude flight dynamics of the X-37 were verified by last year’s seven successful test flights of the sub-scale X-40A, we’ve been looking forward to the final assembly of major components,” said, Kevin Neifert, director of Next Generation Launch Systems for Boeing. “A great team is at work here, and witnessing the main elements of the X-37 taking shape is very gratifying. The advances in technology and expertise that we have acquired are directly applicable to the development of next generation space vehicles. Additionally, X-37 has strong synergy with our work on NASA’s Space Launch Initiative, a key program leading to the next generation of crewed, reusable launch systems.” During the final assembly process the wings will be mated to the fuselage this June, with completion of the X-37 targeted for late 2003. The first unpowered drop test from a NASA B-52 is slated for early 2004 at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. NASA and Boeing continue to discuss plans for boosting X-37 into orbit. The X-37 government team, led by the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala., also includes NASA’s Ames Research Center, Mountain View, Calif.; Kennedy Space Center, Fla.; Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.; Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va.; and Dryden Flight Research Center and the U.S. Air Force Flight Test Center, Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The Boeing Company is the largest aerospace company in the world and the United States’ leading exporter. It is NASA’s largest contractor and the largest manufacturer of commercial jetliners and military aircraft. The company’s capabilities in aerospace also include rotorcraft, electronic and defense systems, missiles, rocket engines, launch vehicles, satellites, and advanced information and communication systems. The company has an extensive global reach with customers in 145 countries. The Phantom Works advanced research and development division serves as the catalyst of innovation for the Boeing enterprise. By working together with all the business units, it provides the innovative, breakthrough technologies they seek to reduce the cycle time and cost while improving the quality and performance of their aerospace products and services.

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