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Composites Industry News

News for April 2008


Plasan Delivers Armour for MRAP Vehicles

14th April 2008 0 comments

Plasan has delivered armour for the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle (MRAP) during the last seven months, meeting its contractual commitments, and new orders for an additional 2,500 units will also be armoured by Plasan. Plasan was originally chosen by Navistar International Corporation’s military subsidiary, International Military and Government LLC (IMG), to provide armour for 1,955 vehicles to the U.S. Marine Corps for delivery by the end of February 2008. According to the U.S. Department of Defense, MRAP vehicles are required to increase survivability and mobility of troops operating in hazardous fire zone areas. To meet the ever increasing demand for more armoured vehicles in the field, Plasan has expanded its manufacturing facility in Vermont, increasing employment nearly fourfold to more than 200 jobs while adding new, larger capacity equipment. Additionally, Plasan is licensing its intellectual property to IMG, which is now sharing Plasan’s design, technology and assembly with its other suppliers – greatly expanding the global supply chain’s ability to deliver quickly.

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New ASTM Composites Standard Focuses on Glass Transition Temperature

14th April 2008 0 comments

A new ASTM International standard will enable composite end users and materials suppliers within the aerospace industry to perform an important test for polymer matrix composites within guidelines set by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration. The standard, D7028, Test Method for Glass Transition Temperature (DMA Tg) of Polymer Matrix Composites by Dynamic Mechanical Analysis (DMA), is under the jurisdiction of Subcommittee D30.04 on Lamina and Laminate Test Methods, part of ASTM Committee D30 on Composite Materials. According to Michael Stuart, D30 member and senior technical service engineer, Cytec Engineered Materials Inc., the new test method provides instructions on how to measure the glass transition temperature of continuous fiber reinforced composites to determine whether the material falls within FAA guidelines. The DMA Tg value is frequently used to indicate the upper use temperature of composite materials, as well as for quality control of these materials. Stuart says that ASTM D7028 will be used for research, material characterization and screening and other programs. In addition, the standard will allow for greater and more effective use of glass transition temperature testing. “Many different instruments and analysis methods, which can produce profoundly different values, are used for glass transition temperature measurements,” says Stuart. “A standard was needed to define the test procedure and protocol for Tg measurements to facilitate broader usage within the composites industry.” Stuart says that the subcommittee welcomes new members to address future revisions of D7028 and related standards, as well as to work on the development of proposed new standards.

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New High Performance Tougheners for Cyanate Ester Resins from Nanoresins

14th April 2008 0 comments

Based on the established Albidur technology, which is widely used to improve epoxy resins, AG has now developed a new range of products for cyanate ester resins. Albidur XP 1/669, a low viscosity core-shell elastomer concentrate in a cyanate ester resin, is especially designed to be used in composites applications. Nanoresins say that the toughness and flexibility are increased considerably without sacrificing any other resin property.

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Alenia Aeronautica Completes Ultimate Load Tests on Boeing 787 Horizontal Stabilizer

14th April 2008 0 comments

Alenia Aeronautica has successfully completed the ultimate load testing of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner horizontal stabilizer. The test has been carried out at the Laboratory of Structural Tests at Alenia’s Pomigliano plant in Naples in the presence of Boeing engineers. The test is a fundamental step as part of Boeing’s 787 certification efforts, and is key to clearing the Dreamliner for first flight. During the test, the stabilizer is subjected to the aerodynamic loads that could be experienced by the aircraft during flight in the most severe circumstances. Using a complex system of hydraulic jacks activated by specifically developed software, the test proves that the 787’s horizontal stabilizer is capable of withstanding 150 percent of the load it is expected to see in its lifetime. “”Our entire 787 team is fully committed to safety and reliability as demonstrated by this robust test program,”” said Mark Jenks, Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice president of Development for the 787 Program. “”The successful testing of the horizontal stabilizer proves the capability of the composite material, design and construction.”” “”Thanks to this test, the last of a series that has shown the compliance with the project’s parameters,”” commented Nazario Cauceglia, Alenia Aeronautica’s chief technical officer, “”we have once again verified the effectiveness of the innovative structural and technological solution adopted for the 787 stabilizer. This is a testament to our company’s capability of managing the whole process of design, development, production and testing of complex composite material components.”” Over the past three months, static tests in the laboratory at Pomigliano have successfully bent the 787 stabilizer up and down and asymmetrically at maximum load, simulating three critical design conditions for the stabilizer. Designed and manufactured by Alenia Aeronautica at its Foggia facility, the horizontal stabilizer is made of two monolithic co-cured side pieces and one central element, is 20 meters long and, like the 787 fuselage and wings, is made of carbon fibre materials. The co-cured box of the 787’s horizontal stabilizer is, to date, one of the biggest composite monolithic structures ever built for a commercial airplane; and is manufactured in a one-shot autoclave cure cycle starting from 27 uncured components. This process was developed from Alenia Aeronautica’s proprietary technology and represents an innovative production process, making the Foggia facility one of the most important plants in the world for composite material production. The first production horizontal stabilizer was shipped to Boeing in April 2007.

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Nike Bauer’s New Goalie Stick Features TeXtreme Fabric

14th April 2008 0 comments

Nike Bauer Hockey’s latest goal stick – the all-composite, patented One95 – is exceptionally lightweight and durable thanks to TeXtreme Spread Tow carbon fibre fabric. In collaboration with Oxeon, Nike Bauer has developed a unique design that features technically-advanced fabric for enhanced performance and aesthetics. TeXtreme Spread Tow carbon fibre fabric is available in extremely low areal weights, thus reducing the weight of the new One95 over that of a traditional stick. Currently used by elite athletes in the NHL, and just recently launched globally at the retail level, the One95 goalie stick by Nike Bauer and Oxeon is said to be the most technically advanced goal stick in the world. “We were drawn to the material because of its weight” explained Adam Gans, Director of Reasearch & Development for Nike Bauer Hockey’s Stick Category, “The 160gsm TeXtreme material allowed us to take substantial weight out of the blade and paddle areas. This, in turn, gave us a better balanced stick. At the same time, the look has been extremely well received. The look really fits the geometry.” The Nike Bauer One95 goalie stick exemplifies the benefits of TeXtreme Spread Tow fabric. According to Andreas Josefsson, Vice-President of Business Development at Oxeon AB, “By combining NBH’s great hockey stick expertise with TeXtreme® technology, we were able to produce a stick that really stands out from its competitors.”

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Industry and Academia Meet at ACMA’s ‘Breaking New Ground’ Conference

14th April 2008 0 comments

More than 260 composites industry leaders, 50 students and 20 faculty members participated in a highly successful ACMA conference at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, March 4 – 6, 2008. The conference, “Breaking New Ground: Structural Composites Applications in Defense, Infrastructure, Transportation, Corrosion Prevention and Power Industry,” provided a forum for the composites industry and academia to come together. “The high level of interest shown by both industry and academic participants is good news for the composites industry,” says ACMA President John Tickle. “The continuing partnership between our industry and the academic world promises steady growth and a bright future.” Tickle, who attended the conference, opened one of the morning sessions by addressing the attendees, thanking all involved and encouraging participation and membership in ACMA. On the last day of the conference, ACMA recognized all poster session participants and presented awards to the top three student competitors. The awards were sponsored by Strongwell Corporation, Beetle Plastics, Technical Fibre Products, and Reichhold. This was the second time ACMA had partnered with University of Alabama at Birmingham to organize a conference.

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PPG Increases Fibreglass Price for Americas

22nd April 2008 0 comments

PPG Industries’ fibreglass business is raising prices effective from May 1, or as permissible by contract, for products in the Americas. “Rising costs for energy, transportation, raw materials and precious metals create an economic hardship for our business and our industry that is affecting our ability to reinvest for the future,” said Greg Benckart, PPG general manager, fibreglass. “PPG has invested significant capital to support the industry, with furnace rebuilds in our wholly-owned assets as well as new capacity in Asia. While we want to continue to invest in technology and capacity, we find ourselves in a position where current economics will not justify these necessary investments.” PPG’s price increases will affect all reinforcements for thermoset and thermoplastic resins as well as yarn products. Sales representatives will communicate price-increase details to their customers in these markets.

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Two Dissimilar Compounds Combine to Make One Strong Clamp

22nd April 2008 0 comments

When Too Kool Recreation wanted to develop a portable shade system that would allow a canopy umbrella to stand anywhere, even in a swimming pool, they chose a high-impact compound and a thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) from RTP.

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Truss Weave Produced by 3D-Weaving

22nd April 2008 0 comments

Biteam has applied its 3D-weaving technologies to demonstrate the direct production a 3D woven truss structure. The 3D-weaving process’ high flexibility allows engineering trusses directly in both horizontal and vertical directions of a profiled cross-section. Trusses are created using required number and size of vertical and horizontal wefts that interlace with warps. Such a 3D woven construction produced using carbon fibres is aimed to lend bending stiffness in two mutually-perpendicular directions. Profiled 3D woven beams having cross-sectional shapes such as H, I, T and square, together with trusses in horizontal and vertical directions, hold the potential to further lower the weight of composite materials in load-bearing applications. The 3D-weaving process allows controlled placement of required number of yarns and in desired truss angle to meet different application needs.

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LM Glasfiber Starts Construction of New Blade Manufacturing Facility in Poland

22nd April 2008 0 comments

Construction has just started on what is envisioned to become LM Glasfiber’s largest blade factory in Northern Europe. The new factory – their third in Northern Europe – will supply blades for the fast growing multi-MW turbine segment and will be suitable for manufacturing blades of more than 60 metres in length. Located in Goleniów, in northwest Poland, the site itself offers logistical options by road or sea enabling flexible delivery of large blades to the key markets in Northern, Central and Eastern Europe, and to the offshore market. The factory will be built on an area of 280,000 m2 using LM Glasfiber’s modular factory concept. In the initial phase, the factory should provide work for more than 250 employees and an annual manufacturing capacity of 750MW. The first teams of employees are already being trained and qualified in Denmark. Supply from the new factory is expected to begin at the end of 2008, when it will start supplying blades for Nordex wind farms in Poland and the rest of Europe. Dr. Hansjörg Müller, COO Operations of Nordex said: “”We are very pleased to be able to secure new blade supply capacity in Poland. Nordex has recently successfully entered the Polish market.. In addition, the new factory provides a competitive supply option for large blades for our other European projects strongly supporting our ambitious growth strategy.”” Søren F. Knudsen, VP & Chief Commercial Officer of LM Glasfiber said: “”With the new Polish factory we continue our global capacity expansion programme, enabling us to better respond in a timely manner to the needs of our customers. I am very happy that we will soon be able to offer Nordex and our other strategic customers new blade supply capacity that significantly adds value to their business in a fast growing wind power market.””

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