Biz Briefs

News briefs from ACG, J.D. Lincoln, Despatch Industries, Dow Epoxy.

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Advanced Composites Group Inc. (ACG, Tulsa, Okla.) has been awarded $1.967 million (USD) from the U.S. Navy for R&D efforts in support of its out-of-autoclave (OOA) materials and technology. ACG’s OOA program, Lightweight Composite Structures, Phase 3, reportedly will continue the work of previous programs to increase the readiness level of a number of OOA-capable prepregs, including ACG’s trademarked MTM45-1 and MTM47 systems, to permit deployment on military and other air and space vehicles. The contract will be administered through Naval Air Systems Command (Patuxent River, Md.) and will support advanced fiber placement, process development, the manufacture of demonstrator parts and design database generation.

J.D. Lincoln Inc. (Costa Mesa, Calif.) is relocating its prepreg and adhesives operations to nearby Huntington Beach. The new facility will more than double the company’s size, with a significant investment in new processing and testing equipment to handle expected growth in prepreg demand. Manufacturing at the new location should commence in third quarter 2011, and the Costa Mesa operations will begin to phase out in early 2012.

Despatch Industries (Minneapolis, Minn.), a provider of thermal process technologies for carbon fiber production, announced several orders for carbon fiber oxidation ovens from companies in China. The production-scale ovens feature Despatch’s patented center-to-ends airflow system and the company’s new Atmosphere Control, Energy Reduction (ACER) Technology. Center-to-ends airflow reportedly supports consistent processing conditions (i.e., consistent temperatures in the oven’s work environment) to ensure uniform density in the oxidized fiber, which improves yields of marketable fiber by as much as 30 percent. ACER Technology is said to provide users with significant reductions in energy consumption while it reduces tar contamination and improves fiber quality.

Dow Epoxy (Midland, Mich.) announced on May 5 plans to expand liquid epoxy resin capacity at its plant in Stade, Germany. The additional capacity will be online as early as fourth quarter 2012 and will increase the company’s annual global epoxy capacity by 30,000 metric tonnes (66.14 million lb) or 10 percent, to keep pace with expected market growth. To ensure a reliable supply of epoxy resin, epoxy subcomponents bisphenol A and epichlorohydrin are produced at the Stade site. Dow also plans to restart its idled epichlorohydrin plant in Freeport, Texas, which has an annual capacity of 100,000 metric tonnes (220.46 million lb). Dow also has secured a reliable supply of cumene — a raw material used to produce phenol and acetone, which are key components of bisphenol A — and recently invested in chlorine through a 50/50 manufacturing joint venture with Mitsui & Co. Ltd. (Tokyo, Japan), which will build and operate a membrane chlor-alkali facility at the Freeport plant.