JEC World 2017 Exhibit Preview

What will be new in Paris?

JEC World 2017, the largest composites event in the world, will be held at the Paris Nord Villepinte Exhibition Center, near Charles de Gaulle airport outside Paris, France. Held March 14-16, the event will showcase many new technologies in the composites world, one of the most technologically creative and innovative sectors within the manufacturing sector.

CompositesWorld polled a number of the exhibitors who will be on hand, asking them for an advance indication of what they’d have on display in Paris. The following is what those who walk the aisles at Paris Nord Villepinte will see in the following companies’ stands. 


Braided fiber reinforcements

Braided reinforcements specialist A&P Technology Inc. (Cincinnati, OH, US) says TX-45, a new ±45° product, will make its debut. TX-45 was introduced by A&P as a standard product in early 2017. TX-45 is a low cost, continuous 45° fabric with uniform fiber architecture. It is a ±45°, 193-g/m2, 2x2 twill delivered on carrier paper to enable easy handling and consistent fiber orientation. A&P says TX-45 was developed for an aerospace customer interested in a substitute for a ±45° plain-weave prepreg. A&P says the cost and time savings enabled by TX-45 and its superior mechanical performance has attracted the attention of many prepreggers and end-users.

Other products on the A&P stand will include QISO, a single-layer, quasi-isoptropic fabric used in aerospace applications, industrial applications, composite tooling and communication dishes; Bimax, ±45° fabric stabilized with hot melts across the width, providing consistent fiber orientation; and ZERO, cost-effective, non-crimped unidirectional fabric. A&P’s fabrics can be produced with any fiber type, are available in a variety of widths and areal weights, and can be customized to meet specific part requirements. 


Structural PET foam core

Armacell (Thimister-Clermont, Belgium) is featuring its structural polyethylene terephthalate (PET) foam core product range, made entirely of recycled PET (see first photo, above). Armacell says ArmaFORM PET’s combination of material and processing properties (excellent fatigue endurance, elevated service temperature stability and compatibility with all resin and manufacturing methods) make it attractive for use in composite sandwich constructions in the wind energy, building and construction, rail and road transport and marine sectors.

Armacell reports that its trademarked ArmaFORM PET foaming process reduces CO2 emissions by 33% compared to other PET foam cores, which are made of virgin PET resin. The improvement is reportedly even greater when compared with polymeric foam cores, such as PVC (-52%), SAN (-46%) or PUR (-62%).

Two products will be featured: PET Core, a structural foam board offered in densities of 65-250 kg/m3 at thicknesses of 5-150 mm, is used in a range of composite sandwich applications, including rotor blades, train floors, building envelopes, truck bodies, boat hulls and radomes. ArmaFORM PET is used in >30,000 rotor blades globally.

PET Foil is a thin, flexible PET sheet available in thicknesses up to 6 mm, in densities of 70-300 kg/m3 and designed for applications that require stiffness and resistance. Designed to provide a highly sustainable alternative to crosslinked polyethylene (XPE) and polypropylene (XPP) products in thermoforming applications, PET Foil can be used with glass/polypropylene fabrics/felts or natural skins. It can also be used in most FRP sandwich structures where thin cores (<5 mm) are needed. 


Engineered yarns and fibers

Concordia Fibers (Coventry, RI, US) will offer its full line of engineered yarns and fibers for a range of technical fabrics. Concordia has developed much of its own machinery to convert a variety of fragile fibers, including unsized carbon fiber, bio-absorbable fibers and ceramic fibers. The two conversion processes most used are high-volume carbon twisting and commingling. Commingling is a process for producing highly flexible thermoplastic prepregs. Concordia’s process intimately blends unsized, continuous-filament carbon fiber with unsized, continuous-filament thermoplastic fibers to produce a yarn that can be woven or braided into fabrics. These commingled fabrics can then be molded into complex thermoplastic composite shapes or tubes when put under heat and pressure. 


Preforming, compression
 molding machinery

Dieffenbacher (Windsor, ON, Canada) will focus on several technologies on its JEC World 2017 stand. Fiberforge, says the company, is the world's fastest tape laying system, enabling high-volume production of tailored, fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composites. Fiberforge creates at, net-shape engineered laminates from continuous glass or carbon fiber tapes. The system can handle up to four different tape materials in one production run. The complete production process is fully automated, including an automated spool-changing system that enables uninterrupted production.

Also in focus will be machinery for manufacturing multiple individual glass- and carbon-fiber 3D preforms, each in a single step. The preforms are then pressed into lightweight components with no additional joining process required. Dividing complex preforms into individual subpreforms reduces the level of complexity in production. With this technology, frame components can be manufactured with low material loss and with fiber orientation suited to the load path. This process is used in the manufacture of the roof of the Roding Roadster.

Focus also will be on wet molding, used to manufacture carbon fiber components with low 3D complexity, such as structural components — vehicle drive tunnels or reinforcements in the roof area — which must be able to withstand particularly high loads. For these components, wet molding offers a cost-effective alternative with a process chain that is easier to maintain. In contrast to resin transfer molding (RTM), the resin mixture in wet molding — usually epoxy — is applied to a dry carbon fiber fabric outside the press and then transferred into the press for molding. In the open process, the component is press-cured under pressure and temperature. Dieffenbacher also has developed the CompressLite press series, featuring easy automation, a high level of precision, good energy effciency and fast product changeover. 


Recycled carbon fiber

ELG Carbon Fibre Ltd. (Coseley, UK), a manufacturer of recycled carbon fiber materials, is featuring its range of Carbiso products, designed to support lightweighting in high-volume applications in the automotive, rail and aerospace sectors. Carbiso M and TM isotropic mats offer good drapeability and performance while offering cost-effective weight reduction and significant environmental benefits compared to virgin carbon fiber.

Carbiso M mats are designed for closed mold processes and also can be used to manufacture intermediates, such as prepregs and sheet molding compounds (SMC) for composites manufacturing. Thermoplastic Carbiso TM mats are designed for fast-cycle press molding applications.

As part of the company’s ongoing expansion plan, ELG is manufacturing a range of extra-wide, nonwoven mats on a newly installed production line at its UK headquarters. The custom-built machine can produce a variety of materials, including 100% recycled carbon fiber mats and thermoplastic blends, such as carbon fiber commingled with PP, PA and PPS fibers. The mats are available in widths up to 2.7m in a range of fiber areal weights. 


Materials data management software

Granta Design Ltd. (Cambridge, UK) will present at JEC World 2017 its latest software technology, solutions for managing materials data and support for the qualification and specification of composites. The GRANTA MI:Composites Package supports rigorous, auditable composites qualification and equivalency processes. It features reference data sources providing authoritative test and design data for composite materials. On Granta’s stand, attendees will learn:

  • Best-practice management of composite data, using the GRANTA MI Version 10 system (released December 2016), with a focus on new tools to ensure efficient materials data workflows and to enable digitalization of materials knowledge.

  • Granta’s Composite Qualification Package, which supports tasks, such as managing test series, and data import and analysis, and ensures a robust qualification process for highly-regulated markets, such as aerospace; equivalency studies are supported by reference data from authoritative sources, including NCAMP.

  • The new CES Selector 2017 software (released September 2016), which provides graphical tools to analyze the performance of composites relative to other materials.

  • Case studies of best practices in materials information management. Granta works closely with organizations that include Boeing, Honeywell Aerospace, Lockheed Martin and NASA, and as part of the Materials Data Management Consortium, to manage mission-critical materials data. This knowledge is embodied in the GRANTA MI materials information management system and is applied in many engineering companies. 


Oxidation ovens

Harper International (Buffalo, NY, US) is featuring advanced oxidation ovens in conventional and hybrid gas/electric designs with 
improved control and thermal uniformity for carbon fiber manufacture (photo #6, above). These systems, from research scale to production scale at 3-4m width, are said to offer increased availability with dual-utility option, faster start-up, reduced down time and the flexibility of selecting fuel based on current cost. The systems also allow the option of a universal plant, installable anywhere in the world to maximize efficiencies. 
 Features include a proprietary design that enables consistent airflow within and outside of the tube while processing gasses. The primary air distributed inside of the tube is unaffected by the secondary air that circulates around the tube, maintaining thermal uniformity within the tube. The oven, says Harper, was designed to be easy and safe to use for new entrants into the marketplace. 


Reinforcements, prepregs, compounds & core

Hexcel (Stamford, CT, US) will highlight its line of carbon fiber and composite materials, including fiber reinforcements, multiaxial fabrics, prepregs, adhesives, honeycombs, engineered core, molding compounds and tooling materials. Aerospace promotions will include advances in HiTape carbon fiber reinforcements for the automated layup of preforms for aircraft structures that are manufactured out-of-autoclave by resin infusion. Aerospace displays will include an Airbus (Toulouse, France) A320neo fan cowl for the LEAP 1A engine, made with Hexcel’s carbon fiber, structural prepreg, dry fabric and RTM6 resin. Hexcel also will show an engineered core part that demonstrates the company’s range of capabilities for transforming honeycomb into high-quality parts manufactured to very tight tolerances — Hexcel is opening an engineered core plant in Casablanca, Morocco, this year.

Beyond the aerospace sector, Hexcel’s promotions will focus on automotive technologies, including a suspension knuckle made by St.
 Jean Industries (Saint-Jean-d'Ardières, France) in which an aluminum structure is stiffened with Hexcel’s HexPly M77 prepreg stacks, resulting in a 26% stiffness increase compared to an aluminum-only knuckle, without an increase in part volume. The aluminum/CFRP hybrid version can be incorporated in the existing space restrictions, enabling the use of one-part design across all models in the range. The CFRP increases the part’s maximum strength-before-failure, with optimum load distribution determined by Hexcel’s FEM calculations. Hexcel produces the net-shape 2D preform in <1 minute. The knuckle’s prepreg stacks are bonded to the aluminum with Redux 677, Hexcel’s new fast-curing film adhesive for volume processing of metal/CFRP hybrid structures. Redux 677 is designed for automated compression molding and is said to be ideal for bonding metals, thermosets and thermoplastics with HexPly M77, Hexcel’s snap-cure prepreg for automotive structures.

Hexcel also will promote its Polyspeed Pultruded Carbon Profiles, new technology for pre-cured, thick-ply carbon fiber elements. They offer an economical structural reinforcement for wind turbine blades and any other industrial application that requires load-carrying performance. Hexcel says Polyspeed’s controlled resin and fiber content result in consistent quality, weight and mechanical properties, and enables very large parts with no restrictions on part length other than that imposed by transportability. At the show, Hexcel will display a 2m-diameter carbon laminate coil made with Polyspeed carbon fiber pultrusion for the structural reinforcement of a wind turbine blade.

Hexcel’s composite materials portfolio now includes HiMax multiaxial fabrics manufactured in Leicester, UK. Hexcel will display a composite floor demonstrator manufactured for Jaguar Land Rover, using HiMax carbon fiber multiaxial fabrics optimized for high-volume composites manufacturing processes. For this part, Hexcel created a non-crimp fabric that is said to balance drape, stability and permeability, using an automotive-grade, standard-modulus, high-tow-count carbon fiber. 


Fiber sizings

Michelman (Cincinnati, OH, US) will feature its line of fiber sizings used by fiber producers and composite manufacturers to make composites stronger, lighter and more durable. Michelman’s flagship sizing brand, Hydrosize, is applied during the manufacturing process of chopped or continuous strand fiberglass, carbon fiber, natural fibers and fillers, or post-applied when making nonwovens and composite prepregs. Complementing Michelman’s line of fiber sizings are a selection of processing aids to provide fiber protection during forming, processing and post-processing, as well as slip resistance and lubricity.

Featured on Michelman’s stand in Paris will be new Hydrosize Link U470 and U480 fiber sizings designed to react with polyamide resin matrices. The enhanced reactive sizings are added during the fiber manufacturing process and become reactive during the compounding process. Hydrosize Link products are specialized polyurethane sizings that are said to improve composite performance in applications where materials are exposed to water, ethylene glycol and high temperatures.

Michelman also is featuring a portfolio of formulations that are shown to be compatible with previously sized recycled carbon fiber (typically reclaimed from epoxy) and that are also compatible with most common thermoplastic resins, such as PA, PP, PC and even high-temperature thermoplastics, such as PPS and PEEK. Examples are Hydrosize U-204, Hydrosize HP-302, Hydrosize PA845H or Hydrosize HP1632. 


Thin-ply prepregs

North Thin Ply Technology (NTPT, Renens, Switzerland) will acquaint stand visitors with its range of Thin Ply Prepregs, processing technologies and products for performance sports. Launching at JEC World is its ThinPreg TP135 epoxy prepreg system. Developed in collaboration with the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, TP135 offers reportedly excellent compression after impact (~300 MPa on a quasi-isotropic intermediate-modulus laminate) and excellent strength properties (first ply failure at >900 MPa for UD ThinPreg TP135 QI laminates with IM fiber). It is tailored for highly loaded applications such as aerospace, F1 and other autosport structural parts, where properties after impact are a key design driver.

Also new is NTPT’s composite tube manufacturing process for golf clubs. The company claims it offers a unique fiber placement capability that has enabled the first major technological development in golf shaft manufacturing since the mass adoption of graphite golf shafts in the 1980s. The fully automated tube-winding process is said to produce highly concentric carbon fiber shafts. Recently launched under the brand name TPT Golf at The Evian 2016, by professional golfer Lydia Ko, who used a TPT Golf driver shaft to win her silver medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

Visitors to the show will have an opportunity to see and feel the new TPT Golf shaft, and test it on a golfing simulator on the NTPT stand. Prizes will be awarded for “longest drive” and “nearest the pin.” 


Industrial Internet of Things technologies

Plataine (Waltham, MA, US), a provider of Industrial IoT (IIoT)-based intelligent automation software, will feature its Total Production Optimization (TPO) solutions to leverage IoT and artificial intelligence technologies, using sensor-enabled and mobility technologies to bring the world of IoT to advanced composites manufacturers. Plataine’s systems are designed to improve fabricators’ buy-to-fly ratios and become more competitive by increasing material utilization, improving productivity and reducing manufacturing cycles.

Also featured is Material & Asset Tracker (MAT), designed to address the challenges of composites manufacturing. MAT enables composites manufacturers to enhance production using IIoT-enabled automation software. Context-sensitive algorithms create ready-to-cut production plans integrated with existing infrastructure. MAT tracks asset location, manages material and assets shelf life, provides production status
 to management and customers, handles asset relationships and part genealogy, performs impact analysis when quality concerns arise, and traces assets’ history of events and quality information.

Finally, FabricOptimizer is software designed to help increase fabric use effciency. It optimizes based on real-time production data, automates ready-to-cut production plans, seamlessly integrates with existing IT systems and supports common geometry formats.

Plataine’s solutions are used by Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers, including CTC (an Airbus company), GE Aviation, Avcorp Industries, Composites Horizons, Hexcel, Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), Triumph and MT Aerospace. Additionally, Plataine is a Siemens PLM Foundation Partner and a GE Digital (Predix) Partner. 


Globally available adhesive solutions

SCIGRIP (Washington, UK), a global supplier of adhesives solutions, will show its range of specialty products that offer strength, durability and flexible cure times for large and small marine applications. SCIGRIP will present its portfolio of Lloyds Registry- and American Bureau of Shipping (ABS)-approved structural methacrylate adhesives (MMA). Following the company’s recent acquisition of Arjay Technologies, SCIGRIP also will showcase key Arjay products, including J-Core bonding compounds, radius compounds, multi-purpose vinyl ester and medium-weight bonding compounds.

In the spotlight will be SCIGRIP’s SG230 HV adhesive, which cures at room temperature and does not require elevated-temperature postcure. The system can be applied in thick-bead applications to achieve finished joints measuring >40 mm. SG230 HV also can be dispensed on vertical and sloped surfaces. The product’s adjustable open times provide manufacturers flexibility and offer a wide operating window. SG230HV requires no surface preparation, which eliminates the need to sand laminate parts, reducing labor costs and hazardous environmental dusts. 


Resin systems and reinforcements

Scott Bader Company Ltd. (Wollaston, UK) will feature its material solutions, including high-performance polyester, vinyl ester and acrylic thermoset resins with compatible glass, carbon and aramid fiber reinforcements, Crestomer and Crestabond structural adhesives for bonding metal, plastic and composite substrates, as well as Scott Bader’s new zero-styrene gel coat. This latest gel coat technology innovation, already specified by a leading global wind turbine blade producer, will be launched at JEC World 2017 and offers a better alternative to Scott Bader’s existing Crystic Ecogel ultralow-styrene gel coat range, which was initially launched at JEC 2013.

Other products and services include the full range of FST (fire, smoke, and toxicity) filled resin and gel coated FRP laminate systems for hand layup, infused and pultruded parts, with all the fire standards passed and independent test certifications gained for a variety of rail, land transportation, marine and building applications. The company also will discuss an expanded GelTint volumetric gel coat color-tinting service with more local, approved supplies for European customers. 


Bio-based epoxy resin systems

Sicomin Epoxy Systems (Marseille, France) is launching its InfuGreen 810 resin system for injection or infusion processing. A clear resin with a very low viscosity at standard room temperature with approximately 38% carbon content, InfuGreen 810 is derived from plant-based materials (ASTM D 6866) and is formulated with a choice of two hardeners, SD4770 and SD4771, suitable for small to very large components, including extremely thick laminates. Sicomin is conducting DNV-GL certification for SR InfuGreen 810.

Sicomin’s complete range of GreenPoxy bio-based products contain carbon contents ranging from 28-51%, said to be the highest on the market, tested in accordance with ASTM D 6866. The company also offers bio-based resins that can be used for hand laminating, infusion, pultrusion, filament winding and HP-RTM.

Top Clear, a new generation, ultra-fast coating formulation for clear carbon and other varnished components, is UV stable with very fast hardening and self-levelling characteristics. It provides a high gloss, translucent finish and can be applied by brush or spray on a range of substrates including glass, aramids, wood and carbon. It also can be used as a gel coat.

SR 1125 fire retardant system for infusion is a self-extinguishing fire retardant epoxy that can be used for infusion processes at room temperature. It features a low viscosity that ensures a steady, predictable and consistent resin flow. SR 1125 reportedly can pass through reinforcement fabrics without any filtering of the fire retardant components. 


Thermoset and thermoplastic prepreg systems

TenCate Advanced Composites (Morgan Hill, CA, US) is highlighting several new thermoset and thermoplastic prepreg systems, along with a new thermoplastic composite application on the HP Spectre 13 Ultrabook, an ultra-thin — the world’s thinnest — laptop, which weighs only
1.1 kg/2.45 lb. Released in April 2016, the laptop features TenCate Cetex TC920 polycarbonate/ABS carbon fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composites for the bottom shell. Inherently fire retardant, TC920 meets UL-94 V0 standards without secondary FR fillers, and also is impact resistant. TenCate’s materials were selected to help achieve the lightweight, thin profile, and to dissipate heat when in operation on a user’s lap.

TenCate also is launching three new products. TenCate TC380 is a toughened epoxy with outstanding CAI properties of >40 ksi (276 MPa) and open hole compression strengths of >45 ksi (310 MPa). It achieves high OHC and high CAI strengths, and features a 28-day out-time, with a 21-day tack life to facilitate large assemblies.

New Cetex TC1225, a PAEK-based thermoplastic prepreg, has the structural properties of PEEK, but can be processed at temperatures 50-75°C below typical PEEK resins. TC1225 
is available in carbon fiber-based UD tape, laminates and semipreg fabric formats. It is suitable for overmolding with PEEK, enabling part forming freedom and cost-effective detailed part consolidation.

Also new, TenCate E732 is a toughened epoxy prepreg designed for press molding applications. It cures in 4 minutes at 160°C/320°F and is suitable for high-volume industrial applications.

Finally, the AmberTool HXR series of tooling prepregs provides material and layup effciency by eliminating the need for orienting plies and by reducing the number of plies needed for lay up. 

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