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Composites Industry News

News for April 2010


Boeing Confirms Success on 787 Wing and Fuselage Ultimate Load Test

23rd April 2010 0 comments

Following a thorough analysis of the results from the 787 Dreamliner’s recent ultimate load wing and fuselage bending test, Boeing has confirmed that all test requirements were successfully met. “Successfully completing this test is a critical step in the certification of the 787. This is further validation that the 787 performs as expected, even in the most extreme circumstances,” said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the 787 program for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. On March 28, loads were applied to the test unit to replicate 150 percent of the most extreme forces the airplane is ever expected to experience while in service. The wings were flexed upward by approximately 25 feet (7.6 meters) during the test and the fuselage was pressurized to 150 percent of its maximum normal operating condition. In evaluating the success criteria for the test, Boeing specialists have been pouring over the thousands of data points collected during the test to ensure that all parts of the airplane performed as expected. “The airframe performed as designed and retained the required structural integrity. These results continue to validate the design of the 787 as we move toward certification,” explained Fancher.

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Mistras Delivers Dual Ultrasonic Immersion Systems

23rd April 2010 0 comments

Mistras has delivered two carbon composite inspection ultrasonic immersion systems to Hitco Carbon Composites for testing composite aerostructures and materials. The identical, 25 foot systems are being used by Hitco for the inspection of composite components manufactured for new commercial aircraft. With the incorporation of phased array technology, it is expected that the five axes, multi-element immersion systems will increase Hitco’s productivity by providing increased speed and single-pass coverage of the inspected composite components. The systems are integrated with Mistras’ UTwin complex contour motion control software to conform to the parts joggle and noodle sections.

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BRIC Country Composite Materials Use Soars

23rd April 2010 0 comments

At the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) Conference in Chicago, Chuck Dana, group president of the Owens Corning Composite Solutions Business, delivered a keynote speech about opportunities for fibreglass reinforced plastics in Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC countries).

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General Dynamics Awarded $20 Million Contract for C-17 Components

23rd April 2010 0 comments

General Dynamics has been awarded a contract valued at approximately $20 million from Boeing for the production of composite components for the C-17 Globemaster III advanced airlifter.

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Sinomatech Selects Vistagy’s FiberSIM Software

23rd April 2010 0 comments

Sinomatech Wind Power Blade Co., LTD, a division of Sinoma Science & Technology, has purchased FiberSIM composites engineering software to help streamline its design-to-manufacturing process so it can meet its goal of producing 500 sets of wind blades annually. Given this goal, the Sinomatech design team was faced with multiple challenges, including increasing the speed of blade design and production and improving the quality and repeatability of manufactured blades. In order to respond to these challenges, the firm’s design department determined it needed engineering tools that would enable them to enhance their capabilities for engineering composite blades. “We’ve undertaken an ambitious program” said Li Junxiang, manager of the Design and Research Department at Sinomatech. “To reach that goal, we need composites engineering software that will enable us to take our process to the next level. FiberSIM is well suited for that task because it provides a digital thread that runs from design-to-manufacturing, enabling us to connect all the disciplines so we can move more accurately and quickly through the entire process. That also enhances our ability to establish a repeatable manufacturing process.” “We’re pleased to have the opportunity to work with one of the premier wind turbine blade manufacturers in China to help them meet their goals,” said Olivier Guillermin, Vistagy’s director of product and market strategy. “With the extraordinary expansion taking place in wind, suppliers recognize the need to get to market as soon as possible, and Sinomatech’s commitment validates the idea that FiberSIM helps composite wind turbine manufacturers do just that.”

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LNN Composite Materials Technology Course

23rd April 2010 0 comments

Five Universities and Colleges in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight are getting together to offer a training opportunity in composite materials technology. ▪ The 5 universities and colleges offer a wide selection of training programmes covering these technologies and are offering an introduction to the range of training available across the 5 sites. On 5 days over 5 weeks the course will include a mixture of practical skills, underpinning knowledge and theoretical principles. Some of the subjects covered will include: ▪ Fibreglass, lay-up and repair ▪ A practical understanding of the uses and advantages of hybrid materials ▪ Advanced inspection and testing techniques ▪ The course improves and extends one that ran last year, which was described by one participant as “”A very useful experience, I’ve learnt loads that I can take back to improve the quality of what we do at work””.

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Simulayt Introduces Composites Modeler for SolidWorks

23rd April 2010 0 comments

Simulayt Limited has introduced its new product, Composites Modeler for SolidWorks, a tool allowing composites design within the SolidWorks environment. According to Simulayt, the new product provides proven fibre simulation capabilities, advanced ply-based model building and direct generation of analysis and manufacturing information. They say that Composites Modeler brings the capability to develop high performance composite structures to the dynamic SolidWorks community. Ian Cowley, Technical Consultant at Simulayt, commented: “SolidWorks users can now run proven fibre simulations to predict manufacturing problems and provide accurate flat pattern templates. The unambiguous ply based composites model and direct links to analysis provide essential tools for developing composites structures efficiently. Customers familiar with legacy solutions in other environments are astonished by the capability, accessibility and value of Composites Modeler for SolidWorks.”

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Ashland Production/Distribution Agreement with Boytek Resins of Turkey

23rd April 2010 0 comments

Ashland Performance Materials has agreed with Boytek Resins of Istanbul, Turkey, to enter into a toll manufacturing and two-way distribution relationship.

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Zoltek Forms New Company for High-Volume Automotive Applications

23rd April 2010 0 comments

Zoltek has formed of a new subsidiary, called Zoltek Automotive, Inc., to speed the development of high-volume applications for lightweight carbon fibres within the automotive industry. More than a dozen Zoltek engineers and technicians from across Zoltek’s existing business, as well as Zoltek’s globally positioned sales people, will be joined in the new company by two highly regarded experts in automotive composite applications who will lead the Zoltek Automotive group in this effort. “”We have long identified the automotive industry as the biggest single potential user of our low-cost, high-performance carbon fibres,”” Zsolt Rumy, Zoltek’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer noted. “”While Zoltek has been active in developing automotive applications for carbon fibres for many years, the launch of Zoltek Automotive represents a new initiative to more closely align our development activities with the market opportunities we have identified. We have successfully demonstrated our ability to provide high-volume customers with assured long-term supply of carbon fibres at reliable low costs. As a result, we were able to unlock the first big commercial application for carbon fibres–wind energy– producing the largest and most efficient wind turbine blades. The Zoltek Automotive initiative is established to take the next step in facilitating adoption of carbon fibres by customers in the automotive field. Our objective is to apply Zoltek Automotive’s expertise to make the adaptation of carbon fibres technology and processes easy and efficient by developing new production methods that will enable customers to fabricate cost-effective carbon fibre intermediate products.”” Rumy pointed out that while the use of carbon fibres in large wind turbine blades, building a unidirectional beam, is “”relatively simple,”” the use of carbon fibre composite in the automotive field is a much more complex proposition. “”To speed development,”” Rumy said, “”we need to provide the auto-makers and their top-tier suppliers with a comprehensive set of solutions to their needs — everything from reliable supply at predictable low costs and process technology, to design and analysis, to testing, and to fabrication and manufacturing of a wide assortment of composite parts and structures. Zoltek Automotive will provide a 360 degree view of what needs to be done at every step of the way. The new company will define automotive application opportunities, develop approaches to successfully demonstrate these applications, and develop and implement them into high-volume production either by itself or by partnering with other like-minded partner companies.”” Zoltek has appointed David Stewart, founder of Stewart Automotive Research, to be the chief executive, and Martin O’Connor to be the president of Zoltek Automotive. Stewart has worked with many of the world’s top automakers, oil and gas companies and semiconductor companies in analysis and quality control needed for introducing new materials and processes into mass production. His work has included detailed analysis and computer cost modelling for auto companies in the area of composites. O’Connor, who served as director of McLaren Composites for four years, has a wealth of experience in the composites industry gained from long experience in Formula 1 racing and working on super-car programs. In addition, he has set up a number of companies and carried out extensive consulting work for major composites companies in Europe and Asia developing business strategies, new products and technical partners. “”The value proposition and regulatory environment for carbon fiber automotive components have never been better,”” Stewart said. “”There is a large and rapidly growing range of applications where these materials are ready to come out of the laboratory and into high-volume production. Our goal at Zoltek Automotive is to combine the materials expertise of Zoltek Companies, Inc. with the automotive analysis tools, testing capabilities, and process knowledge of Stewart Research to match emerging light-weighting opportunities with the right composite designs and manufacturing processes.”” Zoltek Automotive will be based in St. Louis at the Zoltek Companies, Inc. headquarters. Rumy said that Zoltek Automotive will be funded through Zoltek Companies, Inc. research and development budget, he said, “”Going forward, we are targeting our research and development spend at between six to eight percent of our total revenues, and most of that will be concentrated on downstream product development, including the activities that will take place in Zoltek Automotive.””

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DIAB Introduces New Core Materials and Sandwich Composites

23rd April 2010 0 comments

At the JEC Show in Paris, DIAB introduced several new additions to its wide range of core materials and sandwich composite solutions. DIAB further expanded its high performance Divinycell family of structural cores with the introduction of Matrix 7-7. According to DIAB, the mechanical properties of Matrix 7-7 meet the deck requirements of major classification societies, making it probably the lightest, commercially available foam core to meet these standards. As a result boat designers and builders will be able to decrease weight and increase their competitiveness. Other industries are also expected to take advantage of its combination of low weight and good mechanicals. In particular it is an excellent foam core material for wind turbine blades and nacelles. Following the development of the sandwich composite cladding solution that won a JEC 2009 JEC Innovation, DIAB in co-operation with Skandinavian Glassystem (SG) is also introducing the 3F – Free Form concept. 3F comprises prefabricated, self-supporting composite façade modules designed to provide innovative architects with a complete design and construction solution. The solution offered by DIAB and SG not only covers the product itself but also includes close technical collaboration with the architects and builders throughout the duration of a construction project. DIAB is also expanding its offering to the offshore and subsea markets following an agreement whereby DIAB will be distributing globally via its 17 support operations syntactic foams manufactured by the French company BMTI. The BMTI syntactic foam range complements DIAB’s Divinycell range and enables DIAB to provide solutions for a much wider range of applications and for depths down to 10,000 meters.

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