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Composites Industry News

News for January 2010


Laminate Tools V4 Released

22nd January 2010 0 comments

Anaglyph has released version 4.0 of its Laminate Tools software application. The new version adds an additional element to Laminate Tools with the introduction of a new Geometry module, allowing direct import of CAD surface geometry and element set grouping of the imported surfaces. User-driven improvements have been made throughout the software, such as easy element set picking in graphics for the Design module, shell element extrusion to Nastran solid elements for the Analysis module, improved stiffness calculations for interactive results for the Check module and the capability to generate exact innermost / outermost layup surfaces in the Manufacture module. According to Anaglyph, Laminate Tools will complement existing CAD systems and/or FEA environments, and provides native support for Nastran and ANSYS.

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Gurit to Adjust Staffing Levels in Canadian Foam Production Plant

22nd January 2010 0 comments

Gurit is to temporarily reduce staffing levels at its Canadian structural foam plant in Magog by 125 people. The decision has been attributed to the fluctuating demand for Corecell structural foam products in the Marine and Wind Energy Market since the beginning of the financial crisis in 2008, which has caused a fluctuation within the workforce throughout this period. As with all previous temporary lay-offs in the Canadian structural foam plant, Gurit believes that the newly announced measures are transitory in nature and expects to call the first people back within two months and the majority within six months. These measures are not expected to cause any restructuring cost.

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AAR to Supply Composite Interiors for S-92 Helicopter

22nd January 2010 0 comments

AAR has signed a Memorandum of Agreement with Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation under which the two companies will work together to identify opportunities to expand their business relationship.

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Polystrand Introduces Green Series Reinforcements

28th January 2010 0 comments

The latest development at Polystrand will see the company release its “green series” reinforcing tape, which is said to reduce the environmental footprint of input material for reinforced thermoplastic processors. Polystrand reinforcing tape is available in unidirectional, bi-ply and tri-ply configurations, and uses recycled polyolefin as the matrix. The tape is made in a proprietary process that impregnates continuous fiber with a thermoplastic resin. The reinforcement has been made with a variety of polymer materials including virgin polypropylene. The company claims that its new green series provides a product with recycled content that approaches the physical properties of prime material at competitive prices. “This new series was developed to help composite fabricators reduce the environmental footprint of their products by reducing the footprint of the input material they use,” said Ed Pilpel, President of Polystrand. “As more end-users consider the environmental impact of products they buy, producers are reevaluating their processes,” he continued. “And we understand that sustainability extends far beyond our own operations, ranging from the original sourcing of raw materials to end-of-life recycling or disposal. “The recycled polyolefins we use are made from pre- and post-consumer material,” he continued. “According to industry estimates, only about 7 percent of all plastics are recycled. About 80 percent goes to landfills. Our use of recycled polyolefin helps increase the amount being recycled.” “Recycling plastic also reduces the consumption of non-renewable fossil fuels, energy and the amount of carbon emissions,” added Pilpel. “And because recycled thermoplastic polyolefin is a stiff, light and hard polymer, we can produce a reinforcement product with great physical properties. Products in the new green series provide consistent performance and can be tailored to customers’ needs.”

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“Sustainability Summit” to Introduce Zyvax Eco Product

28th January 2010 0 comments

Zyvax is to launch their new Nano-Line, which they believe will have industry-changing implications for composite moulders, at the company’s very first world training summit. The company says that Nano-Line will expand support of environmental requirements for all types of advance composites moulding. The launch of Zyvax’s Nano-Line will take place at an invitation-only event, held over three days. A selected line of distributors will receive an orientation and be trained how to use this new range of products. Some 30 technicians representing 19 countries are to receive the training, which will be conducted at fully equipped facility in Lyon, France. Attendees will receive hands-on experience in application procedures and will produce moulded parts using RTM, infusion and adhesive bonding, hand lay-up, with additional instruction in rotational moulding. Training will be provided by staff from Zyvax R&D department, as well as staff instructors from Australia, Europe and the US Nancy Layman, CEO, Zyvax, believes the program is just the beginning of a new way of looking at the moulding process. “We’re at the front end of a change that is sweeping the planet-the requirements for pollution control and emission-free manufacturing today pale in comparison to what’s coming in the future.” “Every moulding operation – indeed every manufacturing operation – is at the same crossroads. Minimizing pollution and saving resources are no longer options, and companies that recognize the sea change that is occurring right now are ahead of the curve,” add Layman. Zyvax say their latest nano-technology products can help moulders to exceed the expectations of the current generation mould sealer and release results without sacrificing quality or workplace safety. “Everyone wins – our customers, the industry, the planet – we intend to incorporate this objective into our operation from the R&D lab right out to the production floor, and this training program is just the first step,” concludes Layman.

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Composite Space Capsule Concept Passes Tests

28th January 2010 0 comments

A NASA team looking into design concepts for future space capsules believe they have successfully demonstrated that an all-composite structure is a feasible alternative to traditional metal capsules for carrying astronauts into space and returning them safely to Earth. Engineers say that these composite materials promise potential benefits over traditional metal structures, one significant benefit being that they can easily be formed into complex shapes that may be more structurally efficient. A team led by the NASA Engineering and Safety Center (NESC) developed and tested the capsule – called a crew module – in a series of full scale structural tests at NASA’s Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va., over a several month period. “”Our tests showed that a composite module can ‘achieve the mission’ with damage that is likely to occur but could go undetected,”” said Mike Kirsch, manager of the Composite Crew Module (CCM) project. “”The test article withstood twice the design internal pressures with known damage and then was subjected to cyclic testing to four times the design life with no detrimental damage growth,”” he added. A follow-on round of impact assessments is planned to study the effects of higher impact energies. “”We are very pleased with the entire test series. Throughout testing, there were no anomalies and performance aligned amazingly well with analytical predictions,”” Kirsch said. The composite crew module was designed, manufactured, inspected and tested in a collaborative partnership between NASA and industry. Partners include subject matter experts from nine of ten NASA centres, the Air Force Research Laboratories, Alcore Corporation, Alliant Techsystems (ATK), Bally Ribbon Mills, Collier Corporation, Genesis Engineering, Janicki Industries, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. One of the many collaboration success stories was realized with the help of recently developed carbon fibre tooling provided by Janicki. The tooling technology produced large (approximate 12 foot diameter) precision cure tools that enabled joining of major subassemblies outside of an autoclave. This feature would allow for large or cumbersome internal components to be installed and integrated at the subcomponent stage for easier access and for parallel work flow prior to assembly of the system. The technology also demonstrates possible approaches for assembling components too big for autoclaves, such as a heavy lift vehicle shroud. Kirsch believes work on the CCM Project will enable more informed decisions about structural materials for future NASA spacecraft. “”One of the primary project objectives was to gain hands-on experience for NASA with our contract partners by designing, building and testing a full scale complex structure such as this, then communicate lessons learned to engineers working composites across the agency,”” said Kirsch. “”There have been many lessons learned, including the challenge of keeping weight down while meeting design requirements for a human-rated spacecraft,”” he said. NESC sponsored the three-year CCM project as part of its mission to solve technical problems related to spaceflight and to make spaceflight safer. The CCM is an all-composite representation of the part-metal, part-composite flight crew module Orion, which is part of NASA’s Constellation Program to return man to the moon and/or Mars.

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Axion Begins Construction on Recycled Plastic Railroad Bridges

28th January 2010 0 comments

Axion International has begun a demolition project at Ft. Eustis Army Transportation Corp. military base in Virginia, with the aim to replace its old wooden spans with two new railroad bridges made almost entirely from Axion’s 100% recycled plastic structural products. “By utilizing recycled plastic, not only will these bridges not rot, rust or corrode like traditional building materials, they will also help divert literally tons of recycled products that would normally be destined for landfills. This includes household items such as milk jugs, detergent bottles, and car bumpers,” said Axion CEO, Jim Kerstein. The US Army commissioned these bridges last year and construction is expected to last four months. Axion is providing all parts for the two Recycled Structural Composite (RSC) bridges, including pilings, I-beams for pile caps and main girders, and crossties/curbing. All parts of the bridges will be made from Axion products except the steel fasteners and bolts. The new short span bridges will extend approximately 40 feet and 80 feet respectively. Each of these bridges are designed to achieve a high-load rating of 130 tons (i.e. 260,000 pounds) in order to transport locomotives and freight traffic for military movement and base exercises and achieve a Cooper E60 Rating.

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Dual Laser and Blade Cutting System Enters Market

28th January 2010 0 comments

Eastman Machine Company has released its latest generation laser cutting system, designed for use within the aerospace, automotive, composite and industrial fabrics industries. Several enhancements were developed for the 2010 release as compared to laser cutting systems previously available from Eastman (circa 1995). Eastman’s Buffalo-based engineering team has designed a dual configuration laser system equipped with a three-tool cutting head. The availability of a laser plus three tool spindles is thought to be the first system of its kind to enter the market. Laser cutting is beneficial for fabrics that require fused edges to prevent fraying. The tool head features a 200 watt gas assist laser (100 watt optional) and three individually aligned and calibrated tool spindles that may be equipped with any combination of rotary and straight knife blades, notches or punches. The tool head is also equipped with a pneumatic pen/marker holder for labelling pieces. Other new features include an industrial size fume extractor; an on-board chiller; touch screen operator control; linear rack and rail drive system; and a diagnostic control cabinet. The new dual system from Eastman will offer all cutting capabilities of Eastman’s CNC static cutting table. The Eastman static table is a single to low-ply cutting system that provides superior cutting performance and increased throughput. This fully automated cutter plotter is capable of marking, drilling and punching virtually any flexible material at speeds of up to 60 inches per second (152.4 cm/s). Automated cutting systems offer optimum material yields while reducing labour and operating costs.

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Composites One and SIKA Partner on New Epoxy Resin Products

28th January 2010 0 comments

Composites One will soon be introducing a new line of Formulated Epoxy Resin products to the U.S. market, manufactured by SIKA Corporation. The product line will include epoxies for hand lamination, filament winding, and closed mould processes like infusion and RTM, and will offer options to emerging markets like wind energy, light aircraft, and defence. Other core composites markets like marine and underground construction will be able to take advantage of the formulated epoxies as well. “These new SIKA products further enhance our ability to serve our customers with emerging market opportunities,” said Composites One Vice President of Marketing, Greg Shymske. “SIKA is a great fit for our organization and we are pleased to be among the first to offer these new epoxies to the composites market.”

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Tesla $465 Million DOE Loan to Create 1600 Jobs

28th January 2010 0 comments

This week, Tesla Motors secured financing to build a manufacturing facility in southern California, which will be used to produce the Model S electric sedan. The $465 million loan deal was negotiated and signed by the Department’s Loan Programs Office, which supports the development of innovative, advanced vehicle technologies to create thousands of clean energy jobs while helping reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil. “This is an investment in our clean energy future that will create jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil,” said Secretary of Energy Steven Chu. “It will help build a customer base and begin laying the foundation for American leadership in the growing electric vehicles industry. This is part of a sustained effort to develop and commercialize technologies that will be broadly deployed throughout the American auto industry.” Tesla’s planned Model S will be an all-electric vehicle, producing zero tailpipe emissions. It is being designed to offer a variety of range options depending on the battery pack used, from 160 to 300 miles on a single charge. Volume production of the Model S is planned to begin in 2012 with a target production capacity of 20,000 vehicles per year by the end of 2013. According to Tesla, the Model S project and power-train manufacturing facility are expected to create over 1,600 jobs.

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