December Editorial

Since last issue, the CT staff and I attended ACMA's COMPOSITES & POLYCON conference in St. Louis (Oct 18-20). The timing was fortuitous for baseball fans: The city's Cardinals and the Detroit Tigers were batting it out for the 2006 World Series championship. AOC threw a party on the 18th, at which the special

Since last issue, the CT staff and I attended ACMA's COMPOSITES & POLYCON conference in St. Louis (Oct 18-20). The timing was fortuitous for baseball fans: The city's Cardinals and the Detroit Tigers were batting it out for the 2006 World Series championship. AOC threw a party on the 18th, at which the special guest was Sparky Anderson, the Tigers' manager from 1979-1995. That night, Anderson was still the only man to have managed a Series winner in both the American and National Leagues (the AL's Tigers in '84 and the NL's Cincinnati Reds in '75 and '76). The Cards, however, took the Series, and manager Tony La Russa joined Anderson in the record books, having also led the AL's Oakland A's to Series victory in 1989.

While the ACMA event couldn't compete with the Series for attendance, 230 exhibitors and 3,700 attendees were on hand, and there was a larger group of papers and other educational events than ever before – the latter prompting show organizers to limit the event's exhibition hours to two days, rather than the traditional three (see our show review, p. 18). I heard some comment that the two-day timeframe was a bit short as people started clearing out after noon on day two. ACMA's conference director Jeanne Mendelson tells us that ACMA is currently evaluating responses from exhibitors and attendees, and will determine around the first of the year whether or not to retain the shorter exhibit schedule in 2007.

Since then, the ACMA's 2007 Conference on Construction, Corrosion & Infrastructure, set for April 25-27 next year, has sold out its exhibit space (49 exhibitors) and, according to corrosion-prevention guru Frank Cassis, is expecting to host its best conference ever.

Later in October, the IBEX show enjoyed a good turnout: 6,404 boat industry tradespeople from 60 countries walked the Miami Convention Center floor, where more than 125 exhibitors of composites-related products and services joined other boating suppliers (highlights on p. 26). As always, our visit to IBEX uncovered several unique applications of marine composites that will find their way into future issues of CT.

Since the construction industry's new International Building Code went into effect – it drops previous materials-based requirements – architects have been free to specify any material that can meet IBC's new performance-based standards. As our feature on composites in architecture illustrates (p. 34), the new rules are helping composites make inroads into high-profile commercial and civic building projects. The aesthetically critical architectural designs we've profiled prove that our industry offers the materials, tooling flexibility and design freedom required to meet the needs. Given the high visibility of these projects, others are sure to follow.

Design freedom was the driver when automaker DaimlerChrysler designed SMC hardtops for two of its 2007 Jeep Wrangler variations. The Freedom Tops are not only removable but reconfigurable as well (see p. 44). Elsewhere in the world of auto composites, the SPE's Automotive Division, at its recent Innovation Awards Gala, awarded top honors to two composite components: a new headliner that features recycle-friendly basalt fiber reinforcement, and a glass/polypropylene instrument panel structure, produced with a highly automated, inline compounding/molding system (see p. 8). And we report on long-fiber injection (LFI) of polyurethane, a rapid thermoset molding process currently giving thermoplastic molding methods a run for their money in automotive, heavy transport and residential construction apps (p. 28).

Last but hardly least, our 2007 SOURCEBOOK is now in print, with a virtual version online at our Web site (compositesworld.com). More than 1,300 industry suppliers are listed in more than 500 product/service category, making it your best choice for your sourcing needs. Our 2007 Editorial Calendar is up on the Web as well: have a look, and let us know if your company would like to contribute to any of the upcoming articles.

We wish you Happy Holidays and a prosperous New Year!