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Composites Industry News

News for May 2006


Composite & Plastic Lumber Demand to Reach $3.5 Billion in 2009

30th May 2006 0 comments

Demand for wood-plastic composite and plastic lumber in the US is forecast to expand eleven percent per annum through 2009 to $3.5 billion. Advances will result from increasing market penetration of these alternative building materials, particularly in decking applications, which are expected to account for almost 40 percent of value demand in 2009. Gains for these materials in decking will be attributable to performance characteristics, such as high durability and low maintenance requirements. Advances for composite decking will also be driven by increasing consumer and contractor familiarity, a widening distribution network, and product improvements that enhance appearance. These and other trends including market share, market leaders and company profiles are presented in “”Composite & Plastic Lumber,”” a new study from The Freedonia Group, Inc., the Cleveland-based industry market research firm. Plastic lumber will benefit from growing use in fencing installations, while wood-plastic composites will achieve rising penetration in newer applications, such as fencing, window and door components, and railroad ties. Demand for both composite and plastic lumber will be aided by consumer efforts to reduce maintenance associated with construction materials. Moulding and trim was the largest end use for composite and plastic lumber in 2004, at 46 percent of the total. Through 2009, demand for composite and plastic lumber in moulding and trim applications is forecast to rise more than six percent per year to $1.3 billion, almost all of which will be plastic lumber. Gains will be slower than for most composite and plastic lumber applications, a result of the relative maturity of the overall moulding and trim market, but will be significantly faster than those for wood moulding and trim materials. Among the major product categories, window and door applications, although rising from a small base, are anticipated to post the fastest gains through 2009, with demand expected to exceed $200 million. As with other applications, composite window and door components are making inroads against wood, metal and plastic materials because of their lower maintenance requirements and similarities to wood. Other applications, such as playground equipment, site and leisure furniture, hot tub cladding, porches and railroad ties, will see above-average gains through 2009 as well, albeit from small bases.

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Price Increases from DSM, AOC and Reichhold

30th May 2006 0 comments

DSM will be increasing the prices of all its unsaturated polyester resin and gelcoat products, whilst AOC and Reichhold will increase the prices of their isophthalic-based products.

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Modern Composite Materials Keep Centuries-old Buildings Young

30th May 2006 0 comments

The vaulted roofs and the walls of the basilica in Padua, Italy, and the monastery attached to it, have been reinforced with Twaron and a combination of Twaron and carbon fibres has been used in the library wall. Both high-performance fibres, Twaron and carbon, are essential for restoring and preserving the thousands of historic buildings in Italy. They have been used now for about ten years because of their combination of exceptional properties – they are strong and light materials, are easy to apply and do not corrode. As well as this, and this is very important in Italy, they help to absorb the forces of earthquakes. It is for these reasons that the Italian government stimulates the use of composites technology in the restoration and preservation of Italy’s cultural heritage. Other buildings that have already been preserved in this way include the Venaria Reale in Turin, the Franciscan monastery in Carrara and the St. Petronio Basilica in Bologna. This application has really taken off, and is now in use in other types of constructions, such as building motorways, bridges and viaducts. The use of these materials is thanks to Professor Lino Credali, General Director of the firm of Ardea Progetti e Sistemi and former Professor of Polymer Chemistry at University of Padua and Ferrara, as well as Professor of Material Science at University of Modena. Ardea is specialized in the design of constructions from composite materials. The company has its own patented process, Betontex, for the production of unidirectional, thermo-welded, reinforcement materials for constructional applications. Prof. Credali: “”The most important advantages of Twaron are the excellent mechanical properties, the high tensile strength, the high modulus and the very the very high elongation at break. The material absorbs a large amount of energy when stretching and, what is very important, it also easily absorbs vibrational energy because of its specific crystal structure. These properties make Twaron admirably suited for constructions that have to withstand earthquakes and subsidence.” Credali uses Twaron particularly for the restoration of brickwork and vaulted roofs, and for masonry walls at the top of buildings. In the past these load-bearing constructions in domes were reinforced with cement beams and stringcourses, but this caused a major increase in weight and with this the chance of damage in the event of an earthquake. Twaron has a comparable modulus to brickwork, but it is much more flexible than the brittle combination of stone and mortar. Twaron aramid gives brickwork the necessary strength and toughness. It also prevents cracks from spreading further.

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Resin Systems Starts Shipments of Poles to China

30th May 2006 0 comments

RS Technologies has started shipment of its RStandard transmission poles to China for testing and approval. The poles will be used by Jiangsu Far-East Group Co., Ltd. and the Shenzhen Chamber of Commerce for Electric Power Service to complete the testing and product approvals for the Chinese power grid. The process includes structural testing at the SG Electric Power Construction Research Institute and electrical testing at the Wuhan High Voltage Research Institute. RStandard poles will then be installed in China’s live grid for approval. “”The recently announced commissioning of our two Calgary production cells was a critical step in the production of transmission poles over 32 metres (105 feet) needed for China.”” said Greg Pendura, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of RS. “”The installation of our RStandard poles in the Chinese grid in June will mark two significant milestones: the first composite transmission poles in China and the first delivery of 41 metre (135 foot) transmission poles in a 12 metre (40 foot) ocean container.””

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LM Glasfiber Sales Increase by 10%

30th May 2006 0 comments

Positioning in key growth markets pushed LM Glasfiber’s 2005 blade sales to an all time high of 3,000 MW up 15% on 2004. Sales growth more than doubled previous expectations while operating profit as a percentage of sales was less than expected due. LM say that this was due to a surge in raw material prices, substantial costs of capacity expansions in North America and poor capacity utilisation in their factories in Denmark and Spain in the first half of the year. In 2006, LM Glasfiber expects a sales growth of at least 25% and operating profit is expected to represent at least 10% of revenue. Their expectations are based high visibility and global capacity expansions as well as technology advances in materials science, process technology, blade design and lightning protection. Mark Floman, Chairman of LM Glasfiber, said: “”With this year’s results we have outperformed our sales guidance for the second year running and significantly broadened our customer base. All staff of our business units can take pride in this result. Add to that our strong technology and extended global reach, and LM Glasfiber is today in a better position than ever to meet the increasing demands of the wind energy business going mainstream.””

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