A growing trend: 3D printing of aerospace tooling
Toolmakers and OEMs are embracing additive manufacturing for customized, rapid tools, masters and jigs.


Workforce development: Let's start in high school
CW Editor-in-Chief Jeff Sloan says one concern at the otherwise positive initial membership meeting of the new Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI) was that the composites industry is quickly losing knowledge, as old-timers retire, that is not so easily replaced. Here's his prescription.

By the Numbers

CW Business Index at 48.6 – US industry contraction accelerates
Steve Kline, Jr., the director of market intelligence for Gardner Business Media Inc. (Cincinnati, OH, US), surveys the CompositesWorld Business Index for May 2015.

Composites: Perspectives and Provocations

Thermosets vs. thermoplastics: Is the battle over?
Dale Brosius, the chief commercialization officer for the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI) and a regular CW columnist, sees a shift in the industry from infighting between proponents of thermoset and thermoplastic composites to a healthier competitive atmosphere that serves to make composites overall more competitive with legacy materials.

Composites: Design & Testing

Optimum unidirectional compression testing of composites
Dr. Daniel O. Adams, a professor of mechanical engineering, the director of the Composite Mechanics Laboratory at the University of Utah, and VP of Wyoming Test Fixtures Inc. (Salt Lake City, UT, US) discusses the complex relationship between composite tensile and compressive properties, why that makes it necessary to perform both tension and compression testing, and how best to perform the latter.

Inside Manufacturing

Bespoke sports cars’ composite body speaks volumes
Glass-reinforced plastic artfully captures classic curves, crash-protects passengers and stunningly packages its maker’s high-performance but highly fuel-efficient diesel powertrain.


Composite engine piston cylinder housings
Phenolic BMC could replace aluminum in car/motorcycle engine housings.

Focus on Design

Composite air brakes: Stopping the world’s fastest car
CFRP sandwich structures a key element of deceleration in the Bloodhound SSC rocket-powered racer’s two-run attempt at resetting the land speed record.

Products and Literature

· American GFM debuts new dual-capability machine

· Chopped carbon fiber/thermoplastic prepreg

· Cutting, routing tools; mold sealers

· Daicel launches two cycloaliphatic epoxies

· Design, analysis, optimization software

· Epoxy tooling materials

· Wi-fi sensor-based data collection

· Zyvex nano-based toughener offers increased ease of use


3D-printed fixtures & jigs
Holding fixtures, jigs, trim tools and metal-forming dies can be expensive elements of post-mold composite part processing and assembly. Additive manufacturing, therefore, is proving especially useful in reducing the design/build time/cost in this area.

Additive manufacturing in automotive applications
Although they have been overshadowed by aerospace applications, 3D-printed tools also are finding a place in automotive processing. Here's one example.

Chassis: Unique architecture and materials
Trident Sports Cars Ltd.’s Iceni chassis is formed from 4003 low-chrome/low-carbon stainless steel. It isn’t pretty, but it won’t rust and more importantly, it’s very resilient , making it perfect, says the company, for chassis construction

Torque-multiplication: A Euro 7-ready diesel supercar?
The all-composite body on Trident Sports Cars Ltd.'s Iceni sports car is the attractive package designed to showcase the centerpiece of the company's drivetrain, it's design team’s unique torque-multiplication technology, for which the company holds 64 patents.

Work in Progress

Overmolding expands PEEK’s range in composites
A new polymer and a hybrid process enable production of complex, high-load-capable, fiber-reinforced brackets and clips in minutes.