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Composites Industry News

News for May 2011


6 million to Develop a New Generation of Composites

12th May 2011 0 comments

6 million to Develop a New Generation of Composites A team from the University of Bristols Advanced Composites Centre for Innovation and Science and The Composites Centre at Imperial College London have been awarded a 6 million six-year programme grant by EPSRC to create a new generation of high performance, ductile fibre reinforced polymer composites capable of sustaining large deformations without breaking.

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Trek Implements Carbon Recycling Programme

20th May 2011 0 comments

Trek, the US bicycle manufacturer, has instituted a full-scale carbon recycling programme at its Waterloo, US manufacturing facility and is now recycling all scrap carbon fibre, the material primarily used in its domestic production. Through a partnership with Materials Innovation Technologies (MIT LLC) and its subsidiary MIT-RCF, a South Carolina carbon reclamation facility that is revolutionising carbon recycling processes, Trek completed a three month trial period to determine the viability of adopting the step as an official part of the manufacturing process. “Throughout the trial period we worked with Trek to show them how beneficial carbon recycling can be to their overall business practices.” Said Jim Stike, MIT President and CEO. ”Working with a world leader like Trek to help them become the first bicycle company to begin recycling carbon fibre is very exciting for us.” Throughout the manufacturing process, Trek collects excess trimmings, non-compliant moulded parts and combines it with select reclaimed warranty frames to send to MIT’s facility to begin their reclamation process. Reclaimed carbon fibre is currently being used in reinforced thermoplastic applications while research and development is ongoing for use in automotive, aerospace, medical, and recreational applications. “One of the company’s major initiatives is that we will work to drive more eco-friendly processes into everything that we do,” said James Colegrove, Trek Senior Composites Manufacturing Engineer. “Carbon fibre recycling holds massive potential not just for Trek, but the entire industry.”

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UPS Tests New Composite Vehicles

20th May 2011 0 comments

UPS is testing five new CV-23 composite-bodied prototype vehicles from Utilimaster/Isuzu to see if they can meet their operating needs. The vehicle testing began in April 2011 and is expected to conclude in December this year. UPS are performing tests to establish whether the CV-23 withstands the rigours of UPS’s daily delivery routes while achieving a 40% increase in fuel efficiency over the UPS P70 diesel package vehicle. The 150 horsepower vehicle utilises an Isuzu four-cylinder diesel engine and a six-speed Aisin automatic transmission, an engine that is smaller than a traditional UPS diesel engine which UPS hope will use less fuel during daily operations. UPS suggest this is possible because the CV-23 is approximately 1,000lbs lighter than the P70 due to the composite body panels.

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Rapid Prototype Composite Tooling

20th May 2011 0 comments

The Mechanical Engineering Technology department (MET) at Red River College have developed a new means of making dissolvable mandrels and patterns. Leon Fainstein and Serge Broeska have developed rapid prototype composite tooling in an effort to make composite manufacturing more economical by eradicating the need for CNC machines as well as special machinery to make the mould. Broeska says that rapid prototype composite tooling involves only a 3D printer, to make dissolvable mandrels and patterns and it can make complex wet layup or prepreg composite parts at any scale of commercial operation. He goes on to explain that a Computer Aided Design (CAD) model must be imported into the 3D printer software which will print virtually any shape in approximately 4 to 8 hours to meet the capacity of the build tray, although the mandrels or patterns can be divided in sections and assembled afterwards. The media the 3D printer uses is a dissolvable plaster with a binder mixture. Broeska describes making complex composite parts using dissolvable mandrels as a simple process whereby first the mandrel is designed, printed and coated with polyvinyl acetate (an agent that prevents mandrel integration into the carbon fibre), then the mandrel is then laid up with wet layup or prepreg, vacuum bagged and cured. After curing the mandrel can be dissolved and broken away by submerging it in water. To demonstrate the complexity of the composite parts that can be produced using this technique, the MET made a pair of “time trial” bicycle handlebars in the lab at Red River College using CAD software, the 3D printer, vacuum bagging materials, curing supplies and a kitchen oven. “Where manufacturers require a permanent composite mould for short production runs they can make them with dissolvable patterns. These composite moulds can be very complex, have smooth surfaces and are comparable to metal moulds with the notable exception that they are much cheaper. In the Red River College lab a bicycle waterbottle cage composite mould was made along with a two part composite tool for an airfoil shaped bicycle down tube” said Broeska. Rapid prototype composite tooling has been designed to allow production parts to be changed just as easily as the CAD model meaning parts can be readily fabricated and tested for physical properties or functional use until they reach acceptable properties, subsequently lowering the cost of research and development. This allows manufacturers to make smaller production runs, or specialty parts without the need to invest in traditionally made and expensive composite tooling.

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New FR Resin Guide Covers 18 Different Standards

20th May 2011 0 comments

AOC have launched their new Fire Retardant Resin Guide which is designed to help composite specifiers and manufacturers choose the optimum resin for 18 different fire and smoke standards from around the world.

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Armacell Manufactures PET Foam Core for the Composite Materials Industry

20th May 2011 0 comments

Armacell are now able to manufacture foam cores, which are used in trans¬port, wind turbine construction or shipbuilding, from the recyclate of PET bottles. PET is 100% recyclable and is fed back into the economic cycle as a high-quality resource which means that Armacell are now able to offer a product which is manufactured entirely from a recycled raw material. Armacell explain that the recyclability is not the only advantage of the polymer and that it is also an ideal material for lightweight construction applications. It also said that ArmaFORM PET foams have high mechanical strength in combination with residual flexibility and excellent fatigue resistance and that they are high-temperature resistant and withstand short-term curing temperatures of up to +180 °C. Intended areas of application for ArmaFORM PET are marine (boat hulls, cabin interiors), transport (carriage body, interior panelling in trains, buses, trucks and cars) and wind turbine construction (rotor blades, nacelles).

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NYSERDA Grant Powers ESF Centre to Aid Manufacturing

20th May 2011 0 comments

New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) are providing $900,000 USD to develop environmentally friendly ways to make coatings and resins cure more quickly.

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Tods Aerospace Design Structural Lightweight Composite Flooring Plinths for Boeing

20th May 2011 0 comments

The first delivery of the new B747-8 Intercontinental aircraft to Boeing’s launch commercial customer will incorporate a series of structural lightweight composite flooring plinths for the first class seating area, which have been specially designed and produced by UK’s Tods Aerospace. The contract for the seating plinths has been placed by B/E Aerospace Super First Class and builds on an on-going partnership between B/E and Tods following the successful design and build of plinths for United and Cathay Pacific seating programmes. On announcing the contract Colin Faulkner, Tods Aerospace Limited Business Development Manager said: “Tods have developed a professional working relationship with B/E Aerospace, who are one of the world’s leading manufacturers of aircraft seating. Each new type of aircraft launch requires even more design creativity and higher structural standards to meet premium class travellers’ cabin seating expectations. With the new B747-8i the seating is even more sophisticated and the design specification for the flooring plinth has been very complex.” Tods Aerospace is also cooperating with B/E Aerospace for seating plinths and flooring structures for the refit of 57 A330 and A340 aircraft.

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Composite Resources Invests in New Equipment

20th May 2011 0 comments

Composite Resources has acquired several new technologies to support its composite product development demands allowing them to increase precision work. They have invested in coordinate Measuring Machines (CMM), used for precision measurements, as they are critical for product inspection as well as reverse engineering. They have acquired a FaroArm Platinum, 8ft, 7-axis measuring arm with integrated Laser Line Scanner which uses FARO’s CAM 2 Q software for ball probe measurements and GEO Magic Studio & Qualify with the Laser Scanner for measuring complex geometry and for Reverse Engineering work. They have also acquired a ZEISS Contura G2 AKTIV 700/1000/600 CMM which uses ZEISS’s Calypso software and Variable Accuracy and Speed Technology (VAST) scanning probes for accurate measuring. “Our clients are asking for tremendous precision in the products we manufacture”, said Kevin Bialas, Composite Resources Composite Engineering and Product Development Manager. “Whether it is aerospace, motorsports, medical or industrial use, customers have come to expect rigid specifications and you need to invest in these types of tools to maximise that precision”. Composite Resources have also added an ASC Process Systems Autoclave utilising ASC’s Composite Processing Control (CPC) Software for high pressure curing of composite laminates, which allows control of more than one autoclave from a single PC, an Onsrud 5- Axis CNC machine capable of producing large scale, detailed prototypes, moulds or production parts, a second Engel e-motion 110 Injection Moulding Machine all to improve their technology for precision injection moulding and several technologies for precision machining made by Haas Automation. “While there are more and more carbon fibre fabrication shops opening around the globe, there are still very few that can do the precision design, prototype and manufacture that we offer”, said Lisa Bennett, Composite Resources Vice President and Operations Director. “These investments are part of what differentiates us from most other composite shops”.

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SPE Call for Scholarships in Automotive Composites Research

20th May 2011 0 comments

The organising committee for the SPE Automotive Composites Conference & Exhibition (SPE ACCE) will award two $2,000 USD scholarships for graduate-level research in polymer composites that has impact on ground transportation.

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