CAMX 2016: Bio-resins, composite bow & arrow and Millennial insights

From innovative applications to insightful panel discussions, there was something for everyone at CAMX 2016.

CAMX continues to grow and this year saw a 10% increase in attendance. And once again the event featured all kinds of interesting and innovative applications. Here are some of the highlights of what I saw during the show:

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Bio-resin market growing. Sicomin (Marseille, France) presented its range of bio-based epoxy resins during CAMX. With a bio-based carbon content ranging from 28% to 51%, Sicomin’s bio-systems can be used for hand-laminating, infusion, pultrusion/filament winding and HP-RTM. Sports equipment providers from skis to surfboards are pushing for bio-based products, says Sicomin's export manager Marc Denjean. For instance, Sicomin’s bio resin GreenPoxy33 is being used for the manufacture of French ski manufacturer ZAG's extra light touring ski range. And while several European companies have worked with the company to produce bio-friendly products, Marc Denjean says that the company is also seeing demand from North American companies for the bio-resins in the sports and leisure market.

Automotive crash analysis. Altair (Troy, Mich.) emphasized its tools and expertise for analyzing and optimizing composite structures. The company provides impact analysis for high momentum events such as a bird strike, crash, drops and more using its RADIOSS structural analysis solver. RADIOSS’ application areas include crash safety, drop testing, blast and hydrodynamic impact, terminal ballistic fluid structural interaction, forming and composite mapping. Robert Yancey, vice president of aerospace for Altair, told CW that the company is using its more than 20 years of experience in aerospace to also focus on automotive crash analysis to improve crashworthiness, safety and manufacturability of structural designs.

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Cool looking bow and arrow. Hollywood has rejuvenated interest in archery thanks to the TV show Arrow and the Hunger Game movie series. Composites is also making its mark in the archery industry, where Huntsman (The Woodlands, Texas) had a display of a Hoyt compound bow and Easton composite arrows. So imagine a 1.2lb hollow carbon riser holding and surviving a 6,115lb full-sized truck - apparently that’s the strength of Hoyt’s carbon technology bows. More than 50 different custom carbon components went into making this bow. And on the arrow side, Easton composite arrows features an unidirectional carbon fiber core and micro-smooth finish for quiet release and “easier removal from targets.” 

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Focus on the next generation. CAMX 2016 concluded with a luncheon featuring a panel of students who offered their insights on how advances in composites are changing the world. The topics varied from recycling to diversity. Kristin Hardin, a PhD student at The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), said that while "composites have become widespread and used for incredible things, there is even greater potential for the industry moving forward if businesses embrace sustainability."

“I really like an environment that fosters creativity from the bottom up as well as from the top down, and also an employer that promotes education and growth for their employees through education programs and further education opportunities,” said Kristin Hardin, a PhD student at The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). “I’d also like to see an employer that promotes diversity.”