Emerging markets, technologies featured in CAMX 2014 presentations

The foundation of composites fabrication was built on applications in tried-and-true markets like aerospace, marine and automotive. The industry’s superstructure (and future), however, likely will depend on and revolve around emerging markets and technologies, including infrastructure, renewable energy, additive manufacturing and composites design optimization. Fortunately, each of these will be explored in depth at CAMX 2014 via conference technical sessions.

The foundation of composites fabrication was built on applications in tried-and-true markets like aerospace, marine and automotive. The industry’s superstructure (and future), however, likely will depend on and revolve around emerging markets and technologies, including infrastructure, renewable energy, additive manufacturing and composites design optimization. Fortunately, each of these will be explored in depth at CAMX 2014 via the Conference Program.

Additive manufacturing: Dr. Michael Maher, with the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), will present, “Challenges to Additive Manufacturing and DARPA’s Open Manufacturing Approach,” Tuesday, Oct. 14, 3:00-3:45 p.m. Maher notes that additive manufacturing has established itself as an effective rapid prototyping techniques, offering minimal tool design and fabrication costs, more efficient use of materials, improved design translation and increased design freedom. However, despite this success, Maher argues that the process faces many challenges to wider use. Obstacles, he says, include limitations in size and speed of the process, material properties limitations and restrictions on the types and variety of materials available. In short, Maher says, DARPA believes that there is a lack of confidence in the additive manufacturing process.

DARPA's Open Manufacturing program is addressing how to rapidly build confidence in new manufacturing technologies so that they can be more rapidly qualified and adopted. The framework being developed is based on using a material and manufacturing informatics and probabilistic process modeling approach that enables a location-specific, predictive capability of performance with a confidence level that accounts for scale-up in the manufacturing process. Additive manufacturing is one of the processes that is being used to validate the framework.

Clean energy: Dr. Mark Shuart, with the U.S. Department of Energy, will present, “Composites in Clean Energy Applications,” Wednesday, Oct. 15, 4:00-4:45 p.m. Shuart will highlight current and future applications for clean energy, covering challenges and issues related to composites use in clean energy growth, technology transfer from aerospace and non-aerospace into clean energy applications, and future materials and processing needs to address clean energy aspects. Shuart argues that the potential use of composite materials in structures for clean energy applications has yet to be fully realized and will be significant. “My presentation will focus on composites for non-aerospace applications, including vehicles, wind turbines and compressed gas storage,” he says. “Successful technology development of composites for these applications will lead to an order of magnitude increase in the use of composites.”

Shuart adds that one of the keys to successful technology development will be the cross-pollination of markets. New users can benefit from the foundational work completed by aerospace users, and advances in low-cost manufacturing will have broad interest to all markets. He also believes that the increased use of composites will be accompanied by an increased demand for composites-saavy employees who are well grounded in the fundamentals and have an eye for innovation. “A goal of my presentation is to provide visibility to clean energy applications to stimulate innovative thoughts and discussion about composites concepts.”

Infrastructure: Dr. Tony Nanni, from the University of Miami, will present, “Infrastructure Markets: Needs, Possibilities, Advances — A Chance?” Thursday, Oct. 16, 10:00-10:45 a.m. This session addresses critical issues related to testing, material standardization, steel substitution, and additional infrastructure needs, possibilities, and advances. More specifically, Nanni notes that the infrastructure market is not different from any other in that it will be driven by sustainability (economics, environment and social acceptability). Differently from others, however, it is regulated by building codes with a delivery process that excludes sole-sourcing, favors low bidding and, typically, fully separates design and construction. Thus, the challenge of the composites industry is first to understand the dynamics of this market and, second, recognize that public safety is its central concern.

“Opportunities from innovation in the construction market are countless, but impeded by the inertia of the system and its reliance on building codes and specifications,” Nanni argues. “If composites manufacturing professionals want to be successful in this market, they need to understand that progress can be made if all stakeholders (i.e., owner, engineer/architect and contractor) can be motivated to accept the deployment of innovation.”

Nanni adds that innovation deployment will require an injection of smart, young thinkers who might benefit greatly from the entire slate of CAMX presentations: “Perhaps among all industrial segments that fall under the umbrella of service/manufacturing, composites should offer an irresistible attraction to young talents given that creativity and out-of-the box thinking are at the foundation of composites’ success,” he says. “Even though progress and penetration in all markets is sizeable and growing, the composites industry is at its infancy. There is an opportunity for quantum leaps.”

Design efficiency: Renowned composites design expert Byron Pipes, from Purdue University, will present, “Designing Composites for Design and Manufacturing Efficiency,” Tuesday, Oct. 14, 4:00-4:45 p.m. Pipes argues that the impact of design on manufacturing efficiency is a crucial consideration for any process or product. He will highlight the latest in design simulation and manufacturing tools, explore what the next generation might look like and how cost and reliability impact critical interface control and process selection. Other topics to be covered include reducing dependency on fasteners; designing for co-cure, co-bond, and assembly processes to minimize costs; and addressing challenges for high-rate, high-production, low-cost processes.

In addition to academic and government speakers, CAMX encompasses presentations by leading composites and advanced materials companies. These companies bring a real-world approach to challenges faced by industry providers, in addition to new applications that apply to the entire production cycle – implementation, testing, evaluation, repair, and more. Furthermore, the unique partnership between ACMA and SAMPE delivers education that discusses opportunities and challenges in high-volume, low-cost manufacturing with various materials, new applications for materials, and sustainable technologies.

The entire program features over 250 conference programs consisting of technical papers, education sessions, panels, and lectures, drawing expert speakers from all segments of the industry. CAMX boasts the widest variety of educational programming, specifically tailored to the composites and advanced materials industry, with more than 250 sessions covering 70 focus areas within 10 tracks, including: Business, Design, Analysis, & Testing, Green Composites, Manufacturing, Market Applications, New Materials/Nanotechnology, Process Advancements, Regulatory & Legislative, Traditional Materials, and Transportation.

For more information on these and all presentations being offered at CAMX 2014, visit the Conference Program page.