The CKF-Valley in the town of Stade in Northern Germany hosts an annual conference presenting the latest developments in carbon fiber composites, mainly from the north of Germany but also from as far away as Dubai. The 2013 event, June 11-2, was supported by local industry including the CTC, an Airbus composite research organization located on the outskirts of Stade. There were 360 attendees and 34 companies exhibiting.
The keynote was given by Dr. Aman Affan, principle of Affan Innovative Structures LLC (Dubai, United Arab Emirates) whose company designed and installed carbon fiber composite panels and beams for use in the futuristic looking buildings around the Middle East. By using carbon fiber he was able to design very slim structures that were just not possible with steel. He explained that there are benefits in reducing the weight of a building so that the cost of foundations was reduced and hence help to offset the extra cost of the carbon fiber materials
About half the papers were focused on aerospace, the remainder either of general application or automotive. The most topical paper, by Jan Christoph Kako of Airbus, was a detailed account of the manufacturing methods used to make the wing stringers for the A350 XWB and their co-bonding to the wing skin. Kako correctly predicted the day the aircraft’s first flight, just two days after the presentation.
The conference offered a wide range of new informaton on subjects that ranged from robot end effectors, for picking and forming fabrics to assemble resin transfer molding (RTM) preforms, to non-destructive testing (NDT) using eddy current techniques on dry textiles and the protection of electric car batteries during a crash using composite structures. Sustainability issues such as recycling and prevention of health risks when machining cured carbon fiber composites, were covered with some newer alternatives to current practices.
The conference was well balanced, covering a number of industries and a range of academic and industrial papers. Look for a more detailed report on the conference in the September issue of High-Performance Composites magazine.