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Composites Industry News

News for November 2005


New Catamaran Builder in Brazil

25th November 2005 0 comments

Avante Yachts, a Brazilian company, is set to launch their new boatbuilding operation in a facility near Recife, Brazil in early 2006. The well experienced North American – European team, with many years in the Marine Industry, are primarily aiming to build innovative, sail and power multihulls using the latest eco-friendly, cost-effective marine technology on the market. “”We feel that Brazil is a viable option to building boats in China – as so many other boatbuilders in the industry look east,”” stated Allen Brown, an American partner in the new venture. “”And that’s for a number of great reasons… including the outstanding government support mechanisms in place to support boatbuilders in this country,”” he added. Company co-founder Brown attended MIT in the sixties and has been a boatbuilder for over 20 years – bringing a wealth of innovative and creative engineering to the company. “”Not only do we feel that using emerging technologies to drastically save on the cost of, or completely eliminate fossil fuels (it may be inevitable), makes sense… I think it’s simply smart boatbuilding to use what tools and products we have available to build better, more efficient boats,”” said Richard Kastelein, Brown’s partner. “”And the fact that we can build boats that are more environmentally friendly in an increasingly more sensitive ocean environment also adheres to our ethos.”” “”What was not feasible three years ago is very possible now,”” added Kastelein.””At the Marine Equipment Trade Show (METS) show in Amsterdam this year it was clear that cutting edge composites, prepregs, moulds and resin infusion are the answer when it comes to requirements for stronger and lighter laminates, less wasteful production, better use of labour and cleaner working environments.”” The group not only has day charter catamarans on their mind – but has also been discussing the production of cruising power and sail catamaran lines with several designers. With a startup five-axis CNC plug maker in Paraguay offering affordable moulds, Avante Yachts are looking towards capitalizing on the latest technologies in yacht construction to fuse efficiency, strength and quality in their boats. The success of The Catamaran Company, who sold over 250 boats last year has also caught their attention. “”After ten years in the vibrant Caribbean industry, it became clear that catamarans would take over many of the markets including day charter, term charter, and the cruising crowd,”” said Kastelein. “”The incredible success of catamarans.com is a clear litmus test of what’s to come. Baby boomer’s are entering retirement and have comfort in mind… and hands down, a catamaran wins when it comes to chartering, living aboard and the cruising life.”” The advantages of building in Brazil include – a government program allowing for duty free importation of quality marine products from overseas for boatbuilders that export their final product out of the country, a large pool of talented craftspersons, competitive salaries, low cost of living, vast array of fine products such as farmed hardwoods, resins, composites, fibreglass and much more… all produced in the large and diverse country of over 200 million people.

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Several Orders for Composite Airbus A350

25th November 2005 0 comments

ALAFCO, TAP and ILFC have all announced orders for composite-structured Airbus A350s. ALAFCO, the Kuwait-based international aircraft leasing company, has signed a contract for 12 Airbus A350s with options on six more, reaffirming the commitment that it announced in June. It is the first leasing company to select the new jetliner. Deliveries of ALAFCO’s A350-800s are due to begin in the third quarter of 2012. “We believe in investing for the future, and the Airbus A350 is a great way to do that,” says ALAFCO Chairman and CEO Ahmed Alzabin. “Our customers in the Middle East and around the world will want the improved economy and range that the Airbus A350 offers and, when they do, we will be ready to supply it.” TAP Portugal, an all-Airbus operator, has announced the decision to acquire 10 Airbus A350s and seven Airbus A330-200s to modernise and reinforce its long-haul fleet. TAP’s decision confirms herewith the number of sales for the A350 of 143 aircraft from 10 customers. TAP will cover its long-haul route network with its A330s and A350s. It will add the new A330-200 aircraft starting from 2007, in response to the increased demand for its destinations in South America, Africa and North America. A350 deliveries will begin in 2013. Both the A330s and the A350s will be fitted with a comfortable two-class layout. The TAP A330-200 will accommodate 268 passengers. CEO of TAP Portugal Fernando Pinto underlined, that, “this order of Airbus A330s and A350s is a natural step for our airline, it will help build on our success and enable us to provide our passengers with extraordinary travel comfort. TAP is dedicated to making forward-looking decisions, investing in the most modern technology and operational efficiency, and this decision is no exception.“ International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC), the world’s largest commercial leasing company and a subsidiary of American International Group, Inc, has signed a contract with Airbus for 12 new A350 aircraft. “The Airbus A350 is the natural choice for a global lessor like us,” said ILFC Chairman and CEO Steven Udvar-Hazy. “The A350’s innovative features combined with operational commonality with existing Airbus fleets, give it a winning performance with our customers, as well as making it an attractive asset to invest in for the future. It complements our portfolio of Airbus aircraft in which the A330 and its singe-aisle Family are the cornerstones.” ILFC was a launch customer for Airbus’ A319, A321-200, A330-200, A330-300, A340-600 and A380, all market leaders in their categories, and has ordered virtually every type of Airbus airliner. It is Airbus’ largest single customer worldwide. ILFC has a portfolio of more than 750 airliners. By placing an early commitment for the A350 series, including A350-800s and A350-900s, ILFC underlines the confidence leasing companies and financial markets are placing in the value of Airbus’ new aircraft. Airbus’ new A350 comes in two versions – the A350-800 selected by ALAFCO, which can fly 253 passengers up to 8,800 nm/16,300 km, and the larger A350-900, which can seat 300 passengers on ranges of up 7,500 nm/13,900 km. Both versions feature the best economy in their class, as well as the lowest maintenance costs. Both versions also feature a more spacious passenger-pleasing cabin with larger windows and greater headroom. In addition, passengers will be able to benefit from other Airbus advances, such as email connectivity and mood-lighting. With a new composite wing and a fuselage made of aluminium-lithium, which give it an airframe comprising up to 60 per cent new materials, plus a new cabin and up to 90 per cent new manufacturing part-numbers, the A350 will have an unassailable advantage when it comes to fuel consumption and seat-mile costs – as well as cash operating costs. The A350 will also retain full operational commonality with the current Airbus widebody long-range fleet by keeping most of their systems, allowing it to benefit from the “family effect”, complementing the current leading A330/A340 family, with which it shares the same type-rating.

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Lotus Exige Cup and Lotus Exige Cup 240

25th November 2005 0 comments

Lotus Sport, the motor sport division of Lotus Cars, has developed two higher performance versions of the Lotus Exige, the Lotus Exige Cup and the Lotus Exige Cup 240, both developed for track use. The Lotus Exige Cup cars are based on the new 2006 Model Year Exige and are completely track ready sports coupés with uprated clutch, sports exhaust, adjustable suspension, uprated brakes, limited slip differential, switchable traction control, a T45 steel roll-over hoop and A-frame with harness mounts, fuel and ignition kill switches and a fully plumbed in fire extinguisher system. An FIA approved 6 point roll cage is a no cost option*. The cars feature the same aluminium and composite chassis and bodywork as their road-going siblings, and are available with two different engine variants. Performance from both the variants is phenomenal with the Lotus Exige Cup reaching 100 km/h in 5.2 seconds and 160 km/h in 13.2 seconds, with a top speed of 237 km/h. The Lotus Exige Cup 240 reaches the 100 km/h mark in around 4.5 seconds and 160 km/h in 11.3 seconds. Top speed is 249 km/h. Both versions are built as official factory conversions of new Lotus Exige cars by Lotus Sport at its facilities at the Group Lotus Headquarters in Hethel, Norfolk, UK.

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Hampson Industries Set to Acquire Coast Composites

25th November 2005 0 comments

UK aerospace and automotive engineering group Hampson Industries is to acquire California-based Coast Composites, a manufacturer of tooling systems for composite structures, in a bid to benefit from the trend towards composite airframes. In addition to acquiring Coast for $56 million, Hampson is to pay $25.2 million for California-based Lamsco West, a leading supplier of laminated shims and sheet materials to the aerospace industry. Both deals are expected to close in December. The acquisitions bring the group access to “high-growth” programmes such as the Boeing 787, Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, Lockheed/Boeing F/A-22 Raptor and several next-generation unmanned air vehicles. They will “transform Hampson’s strategic presence in aerospace, notably in laminates and high- growth composites, which are increasingly replacing metals in current and next-generation aircraft manufacture”, says Kim Ward, Hampson chief executive. Established in metal components and structures, Hampson began moving into composites with its $41 million acquisition in December last year of US transparencies and plastics specialist Texstars. The Lamsco acquisition will make the company the dominant supplier of laminated shims for aerospace applications.

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T-50 Makes Its International Aerial Debut at Dubai Air Show

25th November 2005 0 comments

The T-50 Golden Eagle advanced jet trainer made its international aerial debut showcasing its supersonic capabilities and technological advances today at the Dubai International Air Show.

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SPE Innovation Award Presented For New Front-End Carrier Assembly

25th November 2005 0 comments

Volkswagen and Dow Automotive have received an Innovation Award from the Society of Plastics Engineers International (SPE) in the Process/Assembly/Enabling Technologies category for the bonded hybrid front-end carrier, which has recently gone into series production in Europe on the new Polo. Judging criteria focused on how well the innovation could support the product development effort. The bonded hybrid front-end carrier is a Dow Automotive technology which consists of an INSPIRE long glass fibre polypropylene front-end carrier bonded with BETAMATE low energy substrate adhesive (LESA) to an e-coated steel reinforcement part. Unlike more traditional hybrid solutions, this design incorporates a closed box section not possible with traditional overmolding techniques, enabling maximum stiffness with minimum weight. By using BETAMATE LESA, materials with low surface energies can be bonded to dissimilar substrates without the use of pre-treatment. For the new Polo, the bonded hybrid front-end carrier solution enabled Volkswagen to meet its demanding cost targets, reducing weight by 25 percent while improving the overall mechanical performance. In addition, this hybrid (plastic-to-metal) solution offers improved flexibility, allowing for the implementation of design changes late in the product development phase. The application has been developed by a team of experts from Dow Automotive, Volkswagen and part producer Simoldes Plasticos. The part is currently running in series production in Portugal and Poland. Now in its 35th year, the SPE Innovation Awards Gala is one of the oldest and most prestigious recognition events for the automotive and plastics industries. SPE’s Automotive Division is active in educating, promoting, recognizing, and communicating technical accomplishments for all phases of plastics and plastic based-composite developments in the global transportation industry.

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