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Composites Industry News

News for May 2011


Dieffenbacher RTM Press Started up at Audi Lightweight Construction Centre

31st May 2011 0 comments

The first Dieffenbacher high-pressure RTM press is in service at Audi Lightweight Construction Centre in Neckarsulm, Germany. The Audi centre is working on manufacturing structural components from carbon for future lightweight concepts. The high-pressure RTM press features a congruent bending line of the moving bolser and ram, as well as a high-precision parallel motion even with off-centre forces. Both these are decisive when it comes to first-class component quality. The press has special press programs for IMC and RTM with flow-front control. Flow-front control presses the injected resin into specific component areas within the closed tool, for example where the material is needed for reinforcements. With press forces up to 10,000 kN and table sizes of 2800 mm x 1800 mm, the Compress Eco is designed both for developing new technologies and for undertaking small batch production. In cooperation with its partners Fraunhofer ICT and Krauss Maffei, Dieffenbacher is working to develop innovative process and machine concepts in the RTM field.

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Acrosoma Presents 3-D Sandwich Panel at Stade

31st May 2011 0 comments

Acrosoma presented their 3-D sandwich panel, aimed at combining minimum weight, maximum strength and minimal thermal expansion, at the Stade Convention last week.

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Jushi Group Will Increase Global Prices in July 2011

31st May 2011 0 comments

In July, Jushi Group will be increasing their global prices, in response to inflation and appreciation of the Chinese Yuan (RMB). Daniel He, Vice President of Sales announced a global price increase of 10% to 14% on July 1, 2011. “2010 was a semi-recovery year for most regions of the world, unfortunately second half of 2010 was also hit by global inflations, which continued and worsened into 2011”, said Joe Peng, newly appointed Foreign Sales Director of Jushi Group. “It is regrettable, but in order for Jushi Group to keep the global market well supplied at such large volume and maintain the same high quality, it becomes necessary to recuperate added costs from inflation, plus RMB’s continuous appreciation”.

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Umeco Divest Pattonair

31st May 2011 0 comments

Umeco is planning to sell Pattonair, its Supply Chain business, to a company established by funds advised by Exponent Private Equity for approximately £145.8 million. The sale will allow Umeco to create a business focused on the advanced composites market which the board considers has attractive long-term growth prospects. Andrew Moss, formerly Chief Operating Officer, has been appointed Chief Executive and Steven Bowers, formerly Group Financial Controller, has been appointed Finance Director of Umeco, in each case with immediate effect. Clive Snowdon, formerly Chief Executive, and Douglas Robertson, formerly Finance Director, have resigned from the Board of Umeco with immediate effect. The disposal allows Umeco Composites to capitalise on its market positions within the composites sector. Umeco Composites has higher margin characteristics and a broader customer base than Pattonair and the board is confident it has greater long-term growth prospects. The net cash proceeds from the disposal will be used primarily to reduce the net indebtedness of the Umeco Group and so provide a stronger financial base to support the group’s growth strategy for Umeco Composites. The disposal is subject to the approval of the company’s shareholders and a general meeting is expected to be held in mid June 2011, with completion expected to take place during July 2011. Neil Johnson, Chairman of Umeco, said: “This is a turning point in Umeco’s long history as a specialist engineering group. The board has concluded that it is in the best interests of the company and its shareholders to focus the Umeco Group’s resources on its composites business, which it considers has attractive long-term growth prospects in its core markets of aerospace and defence, wind energy, automotive and marine. The board would like to thank Clive and Doug for the valuable contribution that they have made to the Umeco Group and we wish them well for the future. The board would also like to thank the management and employees of Pattonair. We look forward to this new chapter with confidence.” Andrew Moss, Chief Executive of Umeco, said: “The proceeds from the disposal will be used to strengthen our balance sheet which will enable us to build further scale, both organically and through potential acquisition. We relish the opportunity to bring additional focus and resources to bear to enhance what we believe are attractive market positions in advanced composites with a view to generating additional shareholder value over time.”

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Gurit Wins Five-Year Automotive Supply Contract

31st May 2011 0 comments

Gurit has signed a significant parts supply contract for automotive body panels with an existing customer. Based on this contract, Gurit will supply an existing customer with “Class A” advanced composite car body panels. The production uses Gurit’s patented SPRINT material technology among other technologies and processes. The contract is worth some CHF 30 million at the minimum procurement volume agreed with the prestigious OEM will form part of a contract that will run from 2012 through to 2016. Production will be located on the Isle of Wight (UK) at the existing Gurit facility, which will be expanded. In co-operation with the customer’s design department, Gurit has also been awarded a supporting contract for aspects of composite design and development.

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New Method of Forming Composites Allows Materials to be Made to Order

31st May 2011 0 comments

A team of researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has found a way to make complex composite materials whose attributes can be fine-tuned to give various combinations of properties such as stiffness, strength, resistance to impacts and energy dissipation. The key feature of the new composites is a “co-continuous” structure of two different materials with very different properties, creating a material combining aspects of both. The co-continuous structure means that the two interleaved materials each form a kind of three-dimensional lattice whose pieces are fully connected to each other from side to side, front to back, and top to bottom. The already published research was carried out by Post Doctorate Lifeng Wang, Undergraduate Jacky Lau and Professors Mary Boyce and Edwin Thomas and was funded by the US Army through MIT’s Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies. The initial objective of the research was to “try to design a material that can absorb energy under extreme loading situations,” Wang explains. Such a material could be used as shielding for trucks or aircraft, he says: “It could be lightweight and efficient, flexible, not just a solid mantle” like most present-day armour. In most conventional materials, even modern advanced composites, once cracks start to form they tend to propagate through the material, Wang says. But in the new co-continuous materials, crack propagation is limited within the microstructure, he says, making them highly “damage tolerant” even when subjected to many crack-producing events. Thomas, the Morris Cohen Professor of Materials Science and Engineering and head of MIT’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering, says, “We’ve pretty much exhausted the natural homogeneous materials,” but the new fabrication techniques developed in this research can “take to another level” the material development process. The researchers designed the new materials through computer simulations, then made samples that were tested under laboratory conditions. The simulations and the experimental data “agree nicely,” Thomas says. While this initial research focused on tuning the material’s mechanical properties, the same principles could be applied to controlling a material’s electrical, thermal, optical or other properties, the researchers say. The process could even be used to make materials with “”tunable”” properties: for example, to allow certain frequencies of phonons — waves of heat or sound — to pass through while blocking others, with the selection of frequencies tuned through changes in mechanical pressure. It could also be used to make materials with shape-memory properties, which could be compressed and then spring back to a specific form. Richard Vaia, acting Chief of the Nanostructured and Biological Materials Branch at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, says this work is “an exciting demonstration of the crucial importance of architecture in materials-by-design concepts.” Vaia says this work “provides an example of the future of composite and hybrid materials technology where direct-write fabrication, printing technologies and complex fibre-weaving techniques are not simply manufacturing tools, but an integral part of a robust, implementable digital design and manufacturing paradigm.” The next step in the research, Thomas says, is to make co-continuous composites out of pairs of materials whose properties are even more drastically different than those used in the initial experiments, such as metal with ceramic, or polymer with metal. Such composites could be very different from any materials made before, he says.

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Innovative Composites Signs an Option Agreement to Acquire Eleison Composites

31st May 2011 0 comments

Innovative Composites Inc (ICI) has entered into an option agreement to purchase the assets of Eleison Composites, a current ICI supplier. The integration will result in a reduction in the material cost of all ICI products which in turn would enhance margins and allow ICI to compete in lower price segments of certain markets. Eleison holds six patents and is on pace to generate approximately USD $2 million in revenue in 2011, net of sales to ICI. This transaction is the first step in ICI’s vertical integration strategy and would only close subject to ICI securing a major housing contract in the near future. “”Vertical integration is one of the keys to our continued growth because it not only provides cost efficiencies, but also eliminates our dependency on raw material suppliers,”” said ICI President and CEO Terry Ball. “”Eleison is an ideal acquisition target because it has the equipment, intellectual property and expertise that ICI can smoothly integrate into its manufacturing process and achieve significant cost and quality advantages.””

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BAE Systems Sell Composite Structures Business

31st May 2011 0 comments

BAE Systems has reached an agreement for the proposed sale of its Composite Structures business in Brea, California, to EnCore Composites Holdings. “The decision to sell the Composite Structures business was made to better align the company’s strategic objectives and business portfolio,” said Frank Pope, President of BAE Systems Land & Armaments. BAE Systems acquired the Composite Structures business through its purchase of United Defence in 2005. The proposed sale is expected to close during the second or third quarter of 2011.

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PPG-Devold Receives ISO 9001:2008 Registration

31st May 2011 0 comments

PPG-Devold, the 50-50 joint venture to manufacture glass-fibre reinforcement fabrics for the North American wind energy market, has received the quality standard from UL DQS.

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DIAB Doubles Capacity in Kunshan, China

31st May 2011 0 comments

Following increase in demand from the Chinese market, DIAB has completed phase four of their Kunshan manufacturing facility, doubling its capacity in China. DIAB Chief Executive Officer, Anders Paulsson, and Chairman of the DIAB board, Stig Karlsson, inaugurated the new manufacturing & sales company’s facilities and celebrated together with local officials, customers and staff. Anders Paulsson commented on the importance of DIAB presence and expansion in China: “China is one of our most important markets and by expanding our capacity we can follow the tremendous development and growth that China is experiencing. The DIAB set up in China, with a local sales company as well as expanded manufacturing capacity, enables us to improve our services to not only the increasing demand within wind and renewable energy but also larger development projects in infrastructure, transportation and aerospace” The DIAB facilities in Kunshan supplies the full range of DIAB high performing core materials, kits and a full range of finishing as well as the DIAB range of services. In other news, DIAB have received DNV certificates for their Divinycell Matrix 11-9 and improved Divinycell Matrix 7-7. Both Matrix 7-7 & 11-9 are available in all DIAB’s finishing options as well as kits.

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