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Composites Industry News

News for January 2008


Hexcel Reports 2007 Fourth Quarter and Year-End Results

29th January 2008 0 comments

Hexcel Corporation has reported results for the fourth quarter and full year of 2007. Net sales from continuing operations during the quarter were $317.6 million, 20.8% higher than the $262.9 million reported for the fourth quarter of 2006. Related operating income for the fourth quarter was $20.8 million, compared to $17.5 million for the same quarter last year. Chief Executive Officer Mr. Berges commented, “”This was a very good closing quarter to a successful year of significant transition for Hexcel. Fourth quarter sales were at record levels, led by the extremely strong growth in revenues from aerospace (both commercial and defence) and assisted by strong sales in the wind energy markets. Our diluted earnings per share for the quarter was a solid $0.20 excluding the one-time items, as compared to $0.08 last year.”” “”For the year, we not only met all of our financial targets, we accomplished or made great progress on all of our strategic goals. Our portfolio realignment is now complete and has resulted in a more focused Company with better long term growth prospects. Over 80% of our markets and submarkets delivered double digit growth this year and have the potential to continue doing so for years to come. Our restructuring programs have resulted in a single, lean entity, down from three business units in 2005. Our capacity expansion programs are all on track, new product introductions are being embraced and we are well positioned for the A350XWB.”” “”Despite the distractions presented by the restructuring and business sale transactions, we are pleased with our financial progress, particularly in the second half. Adjusted operating income margin was up for the fourth year in a row, at 11.5% of sales, 40 basis points better than 2006, despite 30 basis points of compression from exchange rates. We have also achieved our longstanding goal of reducing our net debt to EBITDA leverage ratio below two times.”” “”As described in our 2008 Outlook, published in December 2007, we expect the good growth trends to continue through at least the next three years, thanks to sustained increases in wind energy markets and in aircraft production, plus incremental new programs from customers such as at Airbus, Boeing and USEC. We expect continued improvement of our financial performance. While the impact of the recently announced delays of the 787 have not yet been determined, we are targeting to offset any negative effects and do not expect it to cause a change in our 2008 earnings outlook.””

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Zyvax Announces Certification

29th January 2008 0 comments

Zyvax, Inc. has received its certification under ISO 9001:2000 and AS9100:2004 Rev. B for design, manufacture, and distribution of mould release products for aerospace and other industries. Zyvax is especially proud to have its WaterWorks Aerospace Release System included under the AS9100:2004 Rev. B Certification in compliance with the needs of the aerospace community. In addition to AS9100 Certification, WaterWorks remains the only aerospace release system with California’s AQMD (Air Quality) approval. WaterWorks is a “green chemistry” system containing no hazardous components. The full, resin-based, semi-permanent release system is suited to the elevated temperature cure demands of today’s advance composites and plastics. WaterWorks offers manufacturers significant benefits and safety advantages not found in older solvent-based release products and continue to meet industry needs with innovative delivery systems. Recently developed products allow WaterWorks to provide solutions for the challenging sizes and shapes of the new generation of composite aircraft and structures. The WaterWorks system continues to draw new specification approvals by leading aerospace companies. Visit www.waterworks4.com for more information on the full WaterWorks product line. Zyvax industrial product line includes both solvent-based and solvent-free formulas, suitable for many types of moulding processes.

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Air Europa will be First Spanish Carrier to Operate 787

29th January 2008 0 comments

Boeing and Spanish carrier Air Europa have agreed an order for eight Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners valued at $1.3 billion at list prices. The order, placed by Air Europa in 2007, previously was accounted for on Boeing’s Orders & Deliveries Web site as an unidentified customer. Air Europa also acquired purchase rights for an additional eight 787s. Air Europa, based in Palma de Mallorca, is the first Spanish customer for the 787. “”The 787 is the best solution that meets our requirements for a superior airplane that offers better efficiency, better environmental performance and excellent comfort for our passengers,”” said María José Hidalgo, managing director of Air Europa. “”After further development of the 787 by Boeing, it became very clear to our pilots, our fleet planners and our accountants that the 787 would deliver the best economics while also offering superior satisfaction for our passengers. We look forward to making history as the first Spanish airline to fly this magnificent machine.”” Air Europa plans to operate the 787 on its long-haul routes to destinations such as Argentina, Mexico and the Dominican Republic. “”This decision would not have been possible without Air Europa’s exhaustive review of the 787’s performance and the strong record of success and partnership that Boeing shares with Air Europa,”” said Marlin Dailey, vice president of Sales for Europe, Russia and Central Asia, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “”Air Europa’s fleet of Next-Generation 737s has been tremendously successful. We look forward to continuing that record of performance with the 787.””

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Park Electrochemical Breaks Ground for New Composite Materials Facility

29th January 2008 0 comments

Park Electrochemical Corp. has broken ground for its new Advanced Composite Materials development and manufacturing facility located at the Newton City-County Airport in Newton, Kansas. This facility will focus on the development and manufacture of advanced composite materials for aircraft structures and components. The facility, which is scheduled for completion by the end of the 2008 calendar year, will contain approximately 50,000 square feet of manufacturing, laboratory and office space. Newton, Kansas is located approximately 20 miles north of Wichita, Kansas, which is home to a number of major General Aviation aircraft manufacturers. Park is situating this new facility in the greater Wichita area in order to be in a position to work closely with, and to more effectively support, the Wichita aircraft manufacturing community. This new facility will be operated by Park’s recently incorporated 100% owned subsidiary, Park Aerospace Materials Corp. Brian Shore, Park Electrochemical Corp.’s President and CEO, said, “We anxiously look forward to the opening of our new Newton, Kansas facility and becoming a full-time, permanent member of the greater Wichita area aircraft manufacturing community.”

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Slingsby Advanced Composites to Make Major New Investment in Prestwick

29th January 2008 0 comments

Slingsby Advanced Composites has revealed plans for expansion to its design, manufacturing and marketing operations for structural composite and metal structures for the defence, aerospace, marine and rail industries by opening a new facility in Prestwick, Scotland. Driven by the increased demand for commercial and consumer air travel boosting aircraft production worldwide, Slingsby intends to seize this opportunity to further develop its already expanding aerospace portfolio. Managing Director, Steven Boyd, a former apprentice of British Aerospace, Prestwick said, “”It’s an exciting time for Slingsby as we embark on a venture that will not only compliment, but enhance technology in the local community. Having spent over ten years working for BAe, it is testimony to the skill set, reputation for innovation and capabilities of the people in the area that we as a company chose Ayrshire. Stuart Brown, Finance Director, added; “”We are growing as a business and strengthening our market position. Many new projects are in discussion with current customers and we anticipate them coming to fruition in the not too distant future, hence it will necessitate the need for skilled people across many disciplines. The expansion will create 28 new jobs at the company’s Prestwick base and the new investment is being supported by a Regional Selective Assistance grant of £250k.”” Announcing the support, Enterprise Minister Jim Mather MSP said; “”Slingsby’s plan to invest in this new facility at Prestwick brings welcome jobs to the area and demonstrates Scotland’s clear strengths in the manufacturing industry sector. “”Having had another lengthy dialogue with the aerospace sector again this week, it is encouraging to have a company aiming to strengthen Scotland’s aerospace engineering portfolio, which will undoubtedly contribute to achieving increased sustainable economic growth.”” Lena Wilson, Chief Operating Officer of Scottish Enterprise, said; “”Today’s announcement is tremendous news for Prestwick and will bolster Scotland’s excellent reputation in the global aerospace industry. “”Build rates for civil aircraft are accelerating and new types of aircraft are regularly being introduced with the amount of composites used increasing rapidly. We should be proud that aircraft that will be flying all throughout the world in years to come will have ‘made in Scotland’ stamped on their airframes.”” Scottish Enterprise Ayrshire is also supporting the company’s plans with a £350k Training Plus grant. The training programme, which will last until 2010, is to develop the composite manufacturing skills of the new employees the company will recruit. Jan Reid, Team leader, Aerospace and Defence for Scottish Enterprise said; “”The Scottish workforce is already recognised by the aerospace industry for its flexibility and adaptability to develop new skills and composite materials technology presents a great opportunity for Scotland to build its expertise in this globally important sector. “”The technology also draws on a number of strengths in Scotland including our chemicals and textiles industries and we are working to embed composite skills in Scotland, which will have an impact across Scotland.””

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Hexcel Opens New Prepreg Facility in France

29th January 2008 0 comments

Hexcel Corporation has officially opened its new prepreg manufacturing facility in Nantes, France. The plant opening is part of Hexcel’s on-going investment program to meet the growing requirements for high performance composites in the aerospace industry and to streamline the supply chain to their customers. The new Nantes facility will manufacture HexPly M21 unidirectional prepreg which it will supply mainly to the neighbouring Airbus plant and its subcontractors. Hexcel opened a similar satellite prepreg plant in Stade, Germany in 2007. Hexcel’s satellite plant strategy was established to meet customer expectations in delivery and responsiveness, to enhance product quality, while making the overall supply chain more efficient and reliable. Typical applications for HexPly prepregs made in Nantes are the A380 and A400M central wing box and A340-500-600 keel beam. At the opening ceremony in Nantes today a plaque was unveiled by Hexcel President, Bill Hunt, in the presence of Gilles Guillon, Airbus Saint Nazaire Plant Director. “The opening of Hexcel’s new facility in Nantes is the first of three plant openings for Hexcel this year: the prepreg facility in Nantes, France; our new carbon fibre plant in Spain and our wind energy prepreg plant in China.” said Bill Hunt, Hexcel President. “We have invested in Nantes to meet the growing requirements for composites for new aircraft programs and have implemented a state of the art supply chain model that streamlines the process and delivers an outstanding level of service and high quality products to our customers.” He added: “I would like to pay tribute to Hexcel’s Operations team, our suppliers, the local community and particularly Airbus for their support and assistance during the plant build and material qualification stages.”

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EUR7m Contract Signed Between HAI & Agusta Westland

29th January 2008 0 comments

A EUR7 million contract was signed last week between Hellenic Aerospace Industry’s (HAI) CEO Mr. Tassos Philippakos and Agusta’s Westland Senior Vice President of procurement & supply chain Mr. Aldo Gianni at HAI’s facilities in Tanagra. The new contract concerns the manufacturing of 52 composite rear ramp door assemblies of the Agusta NH -90 Helicopter, {the construction of NH-90 Helicopter is under the companies collaboration “”Nato Helicopters Industry (NHI)”” and Augusta Westland is a member of this collaboration} and has a horizon of 5 years from contract signature. This agreement constitutes the second major program for HAI’s recently inaugurated Composites Manufacturing Facility. The first one was signed between Eurocopter and HAI. HAI through this agreement obtains significant benefits because it will strengthen company’s competitiveness, business prospects and strategic re-orientation towards the global market, taking into consideration that the metal parts of the next generation aircraft are gradually replaced by composites materials by 70% and this trend is rapidly increasing through the years. During the official signature ceremony, Mr. Tassos Philippakos underlined the significant benefits of by this agreement and pointed: “”HAI’s Composites Manufacturing Facility will gain a significant workload by this contract. Moreover this agreement will further expand HAI’s business orientation, will strengthen company’s competitiveness and enhance the prospects for new cooperation with Agusta Westland. Besides that, this contract indicates the trust and the recognition that Agusta Westland shows to HAI’s services taking into consideration that Agusta Westland is a company which is leader in the Helicopters market, on worldwide””. This new agreement – said Mr. Aldo Gianni, – “”Is an important step for Agusta Westland since it gives us the opportunity to widen the collaboration with HAI. Agusta Westland considers HAI a reliable partner which has developed important skills and infrastructures in the sector of composites materials technology. This collaboration also adds important business and creates major prospects of contracting and consolidating a long-lasting and particularly advantageous business relationship between Agusta Westland and HAI””.

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Virgin Galactic Unveils Spaceship Two and White Knight Two

29th January 2008 0 comments

Virgin Galactic has unveiled the design of its new, environmentally benign, space launch system based on the X Prize winning technology of SpaceShipOne, which successfully flew into space for the third time in October 2004 and won the $10m Ansari X Prize. The construction of the White Knight Two (WK2) mothership, or carrier aircraft, is now very close to completion at Scaled Composites in Mojave, CA and is expected to begin flight testing in the summer of 2008. It is the world’s largest, all carbon composite aircraft; it has a unique high altitude lift capacity, capable of launching SpaceShipTwo and its eight astronauts into sub-orbital space flight. The WK2 mothership is powered by four Pratt and Whitney PW308A engines which are amongst the most powerful, economic and efficient engines available. The WK2 mothership has also been designed to be capable of lifting other payload and launching it into space. Both Scaled Composites and Virgin Galactic believe the system has sufficient lifting capability to launch unmanned vehicles designed to carry small satellites and other scientific payload into low earth orbit. While the first priority for Virgin Galactic is developing the market for human spaceflight, the Company is already assessing the potential for unmanned launch capability.

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New Learjet 85 Aircraft Features All-Composite Structure Design

29th January 2008 0 comments

Bombardier Aerospace has selected Grob Aerospace to develop the all-composite structure of its new Learjet 85 aircraft, the next generation Learjet. Grob will also build the first three prototype aircraft for the program. In addition, the jet’s official name, Learjet 85, was revealed today. Launched on October 30, 2007 – with a provisional name – the new Learjet 85 aircraft will be the first Bombardier Aerospace jet to feature an all-composite structure and will be the first all-composite structure business jet designed for type certification under FAR Part 25. “The Learjet 85 remains true to Learjet’s commitment to innovation – featuring the best in leading technology, design and manufacturing,” said Pierre Gabriel Côté, president, Bombardier Business Aircraft. “Grob Aerospace is one of the world’s most experienced companies in the development and manufacture of composite aircraft structures. We are delighted to welcome their participation on this latest Learjet-designed aircraft.” The Learjet 85 aircraft’s all-composite structure will allow Learjet designers to maximize cabin comfort while minimizing drag and improving performance. Exceptional strength-to-weight ratio, reduced maintenance and extended service life are key characteristics of all composite airframes and the ultra smooth surfaces of the carbon fibre structures permit superior aerodynamics. Other competitive advantages of composites include reduced structural part count and significantly less vulnerability to corrosion or fatigue damage than metal. “Composite structures allow designers to optimize all aspects of the aircraft’s internal cabin volume and exterior aerodynamic qualities, thus optimizing performance as well,” said Niall Olver, chief executive officer, Grob Aerospace. “Since delivering our pioneering glider aircraft in the 1970s, Grob has delivered more than 3,500 aircraft that have flown over seven million hours on five continents. We look forward to building the first Learjet 85 prototype structures and growing our working relationship with Learjet. Work at Grob Aerospace on the Learjet 85 adds an exciting manufacturing dimension to the light business jets and trainer aircraft development and production activity already going on at our facilities.” The Learjet 85 aircraft’s prototype structures will be manufactured at Grob Aerospace’s facility in Tussenhausen-Mattsies, Germany, where Learjet design teams are currently on site as part of the joint conceptual design phase.

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