The JEC Europe 2012 composites trade show will be held March 27-29 in Paris. This is the composites industry's largest trade show and typically features introduction of a variety of new products and technologies. Following is a preview of JEC product announcements CompositesWorld has received.
3A Composites (Sins, Switzerland) is introducing AIREX SealX, a new sealing technology that is said to offer a significant reduction in resin uptake in the infused core material. While this reduction is more than 50 percent for 3A's AIREX T90 and T92 cores, it is reported to be more than 80 percent for its BALTEK SB and SBC balsa cores. Depending on sandwich design, resin uptake can constitute around 15 percent up to 40 percent of the infused core materials’ total costs. 3A says PET-cored sandwiches can now become lighter than PVC solutions. 3A Composites is also launching AIREX T92.80, a new low-density PET core material targeted at weight- and cost-sensitive applications in wind energy, architecture and automotive. It is ideally suited for marine applications as it meets the DNV requirements for boat decks and superstructures.
3B-the fiberglass company (Battice, Belgium) will spotlight an eco-responsible powder grade of Advantex milled fibers. The new grade, MF 01 ER (Eco-Responsible), was developed in full alignment with 3B’s strategic vision for sustainability and displays good dry flow characteristics and dispersion. Advantex MF 01 ER grade is designed to reinforce engineering thermoplastics and also thermosets, providing high modulus, good dimensional stability and shrinkage control. It can be used in a variety of applications in the automotive, electrical and electronic and consumer goods markets. For the wind energy sector, 3B will introduce HiPer-tex W3030 glass fiber, specifically engineered for polyester and vinylester resin systems for infusion processes. At JEC’s Innovation Showcase, 3B will spotlight a new zero-permeation lightweight composite compressed natural gas (CNG) cylinder developed by GASTANK AB Sweden and manufactured using HiPer-tex glass fiber enclosing and protecting a novel thermoplastic inner liner.
AXSON Technologies (Eaton Rapids, Mich.) is exhibiting what it says is the only independent heating tool regulated for prepregs outside the autoclave. This tooling, created in cooperation with ENSAM from Lille, produces a vacuum and creates parts as prepregs to be heated outside the autoclave. The heating tool consists of a rigid molded part in 2092 Axson Technologies epoxy-infused carbon or in metal, which provides the part with its geometry, and a flexible heating counter-mold projected in the shape of the part in Axson Technologies SVB20 Silicone. The principle of heating the two parts of the mold enables sandwich parts to be created (thermal insulation). The fact that this tooling can operate independently encourages the creation of large moulds, while economising on large dimension autoclaves. Axson Technologies also is launching a new range of polyurethane adhesives specially designed for gluing composites and plastics intended for industrial use. This new range can be used on automobile assembly lines, in the wind turbine field for assembling structural parts and in the assembly of pleasure boats (gluing deck to hull).
Century Design Inc. (CDI, San Diego, Calif.), a supplier of prepreg machines and specialist composite processing equipment, will introduce a small production prepreg machine, targeted at small to medium composite parts producers who want better of controlof materials and processes and reduce material costs. Features and benefits include: Intuitive, fully automated controls that incorporate processing "recipes" to make the machine easy to operate while maintaining strict process control; plug and play design that requires no facility changes to install or operate; optional ply consolidator that enables the production of prepreg widths up to 1000 mm; ability to improve schedule, inventory control, customize resin systems, reduce operating and facility costs and reduce material costs up to 40 percent. Also new from CDI is TIPTM (Total Integration Program), a program that delivers the design, technology, processes and implementation for advanced composite material manufacturing facilities. Primarily focused around prepreg manufacturing operations and related downstream activities, TIP ensures that users of CDI prepreg technologies are fully capable and self-sufficient in the implementation of new machinery.
Chomarat (Le Cheylard, France) is featuring C-PLY Bi-Angle, a nonwoven carbon reinforcement (non-crimp fabric) that was launched in 2011 by Chomarat in partnership with a research group of manufacturers and academics working under Professor Tsai from Stanford University. At JEC Europe, Chomarat will present the latest advances and the first industrial parts produced using C-PLY Bi-Angle. It is now possible to produce C-PLY Bi-Angle from glass or glass/carbon hybrid, and to alternate thin and thick plies at angles as small as 20°. To meet demand from aerospace builders and equipment manufacturers, the C-PLY Bi-Angle range is expanding to include constructions that will allow optimizing of composite aerospace parts. The thin plies (50-75 g/m2) in C-PLY Bi-Angle are a key element in the performance of the composite used for the fuselage. Other parts, like beams, can also benefit from this multiaxial assembly at shallow 20° or 30° angles, which allows weight savings of up to 30 percent compared to a standard carbon construction. The material is also being tested to open up possibilities for a new wind turbine blade design. Hybrid shapes are used to increase the material’s bend- twist coupling effect. Chomarat is working on the weights of material used for individual directions, and on the use of different types of fiber, e.g. carbon or glass.
To increase productivity and accuracy for high-speed machining of large pieces, Le Créneau Industriel (Annecy-Le-Vieux, France) has extended its line of CRENO UGV 5 AXES with an overhead moving gantry in the CRENO LINEAR 5 AXES, fitted with linear motors, allowing X and Y feed rate up to 60 m/min. Features include: long and accurate Z travel (over 2,200 mm); standard travels X, 4,000 mm to 16,000 mm (or more); standard travels Y, 2,000 mm to 5,800 mm. The two movements of the five-axis head are driven by brushless motors with heavy-duty epicycloidal reducers. Available options include T slot tables, flat steel tables with tapped holes, locatings and vacuum system. The CRENO centers are said to be well suited for high-speed machining of composite materials, aluminium, sandwich panels, plastic materials and electrical insulating materials. The numerical control, which is located in a closed and air-conditioned booth, is a NUM AXIUM POWER or a SIEMENS 840D.
Delcam (Birmingham, U.K.) will demonstrate the latest developments in its PowerSHAPE design software and PowerMILL machining system. The major change to the 2012 release of PowerSHAPE is a range of direct modelling options, focused on design for manufacture, in particular on preparing product designs for the development of molds and other types of tooling. Direct modelling is faster to use than surface modelling and can shorten the overall time needed to produce tooling designs. The 2012 version of PowerMILL includes a number of new strategies, together with more general enhancements to make programming faster and machining more efficient with the best-possible surface finish. The most important new option is flowline machining, where the toolpath is divided between a pair of drive curves in a constant number of passes, rather than having a varying number of passes with a constant stepover. The toolpath will have its start and end passes on the drive curves, with the intermediate passes blending between them. Another important new option is the ability to control the angular point distribution during 5-axis machining.
Dieffenbacher (Eppingen, Germany) is introducing the PreformCenter for fully-automated production of 3-D carbon fiber preforms. The PreformCenter provides dry, dimensionally stable 3-D preforms in a fully-automated process. As part of a complete production line in the high-pressure resin transfer molding (HP RTM) process, the PreformCenter is configurable for use in large and small batch production. Besides the preform production, the HP-RTM line also includes the compression process as well as the related finishing steps of the finished lightweight components. In addition, Dieffenbacher is presenting its SMC direct line. This direct process for producing thermoset material (D-SMC) enables a less expensive semi-finished product production.
FORMAX (Leicester, U.K.), a global manufacturer of carbon fiber and speciality reinforcements, reports that it will announce at the show plans to commission a new Karl Mayer 100-inch Glass Malitronic machine. This investment will increase the company’s glass capacity by 25 percent and support the continued growth of FORMAX’s wind energy and marine markets. The machine will begin production in March 2012. FORMAX will also launch two new materials at JEC 2012: A new range of high-modulus ±45° biaxials based on Mitsubishi’s Dialead fibers; FORMAX says it has mastered the art of converting high-performance pitch fiber to create ±45° biaxials that offer up to four to five times the stiffness of traditional PAN-based biaxials. In addition, pitch-based fibers offer very low levels of thermal expansion. Consequently, FORMAX’s Pitch Fibre Biaxials are suitable for any application demanding ultra high modulus, or high levels of thermal stability.
Also new is ±30° Lightweight Carbon Multiaxials, developed through the commission of the Karl Mayer Carbon Malitronic machine. Available in a range of weights from 75 gsm per ply, the new ±30° is unique to FORMAX and works at a shallower angle enabling greater longitudinal stiffness. This ￼fabric is suited to long, thin structures such as skis, snowboards, surfboards and wings.
Gurit (Newport, Isle of Wight, U.K.) is launching Velinox, a novel prepreg for the wind energy market, featuring fast cure characteristics and storable at temperatures in excess of 35°C/95°F, plus updates to the RENUVO product range. Gurit will also showcase its extended structural core product range for the wind energy and marine market, which now includes PET, PVC, Balsa and SAN core types, all with a distinct range of properties, attributes, and all available in sheet form or as tailored pieces in kit format. Alongside the extended core offering SP-High Modulus, the marine business of Gurit will promote the B3 SmartPac solution, its range of prepreg materials, including SE 84 Nano and the RIN-approved, high-performance marine adhesive Spabond 540.
Henkel (Rocky Hill, Conn.) is premiering Loctite MAX2, new composite matrix resin based on polyurethane and designed for use with resin transfer molding (RTM). Compared to standard epoxy matrix resins, Loctite MAX2 is said to cure significantly faster. During injection, it also enables more efficient impregnation without stressing the fibers due to the lower viscosity of the resin. Henkel will also showcase composite parts solutions for the aerospace industry. The focus will be on Hysol EA 9845 SF .020 PSF (98g/m2), an epoxy-based composite surfacing film that contains a nonwoven fabric, designed to improve the surface quality of honeycomb-stiffened composite parts. The product reduces surface imperfections, provides a 30 percent weight savings compared to current surfacing films and minimizes prepaint preparation. Another focus will be on Hysol EA 9658, a nacelle film adhesive for the aerospace industry. It combines high-temperature strength, controlled flow to minimize hole blockage and flash/flow clean-up in the shop. It features approximately three times the toughness of industry standard high-temperature film adhesives and is suitable for metal, composite and honeycomb bonding where continuous exposure to temperatures up to 177°C/351°F is important. Henkel also will showcase Macroplast UK 1340, a polyurethane adhesive that reportedly satisfies specific mechanical requirements for use in the wind power industry and makes rotor blade production more efficient. Polyurethane-based adhesives react faster than the epoxy resins used up to now. Since it is not only highly reactive but also produces substantially less reaction heat, this two-component adhesive considerably reduces both the duration and the temperature of the cure phase.
Rhodia Engineering Plastics (Lyon, France) is exhibiting at JEC for the first time alongside Solvay Specialty Polymers. Rhodia will highlight Evolite by Technyl, an extension to its successful range of Technyl compounds. This patented series of polyamide-based continuous fiber reinforced materials is available in recyclable matrix, preimpregnated fabrics and consolidated plates. Typical end-use markets for Evolite include automotive and transportation, construction and sports and leisure where the balance between lightweight, strength and impact resistance is essential. Providing a solution to metal substitution, Evolite by Technyl is said to offer cost efficiency, shorter cycle times and greater recycling and environmental advantages. Solvay Specialty Polymers will emphasize its range of high-performance thermoplastic resins, films and foams. Virantage PESU and reactive PESU tougheners deliver good hot-wet performance, good damage tolerance and enhanced solubility and processability. Ajedium Films made using engineering and high-performance polymers are available up to 1.5m/60 inches wide with thickness from 6 microns to 60 mils.
SCIGRIP UK (Tyne and Wear, U.K.), the company that resulted from the 2011 merger of IPS Weld-On (U.S.) and Holdtite (U.K.) is demonstrating its latest advancements in bonding systems and adhesive chemistries at JEC. SG230HV is an established adhesive in the U.S. marine sector, featuring high build and low exotherm, with tough results after cold cure; it's suitable for marine, bus, truck, rail, wind and other renewable energy applications. SG300 is for bonding metals and metals to plastic. PPX5 is a plastic bonder that features low-energy thermoplastic substrates such as PP and PE.
SINGLE Temperiertechnik GmbH (Hochdorf, Germany) is presenting hot-water temperature control systems for temperatures up to 225°C/437°F. Reportedly technically superior and more energy-efficient, this method has already become established as an alternative to outdated and insufficient oil and electric heaters, and ovens. At JEC, SINGLE is presenting various temperature control systems with water as a circulating medium, some of which have a wide capacity range for temperatures up to 200°C, as well as compact hot-water temperature control systems for temperatures of up to 225°C. Temperatures of up to 350°C are handled by SINGLE oil-based temperature-control systems. SINGLE notes that fluid-based temperature control of molds has many benefits over the widespread method of curing composite components in heated ovens. The company says ovens make part handling complicated, the process is highly time-consuming, the quality of process control is not satisfactory and the cooling phase does not offer any room for active support. SINGLE also emphasizes that thermoplastics composite molding can benefit from active alternating temperature control (ATT). ATT is recommended for processes that require fast temperature variations within the cycle time. Within seconds, ATT switches between two circuits with cooling fluid of different temperatures and actively heats or cools the mould. This approach ensures that the mould used for composite production is cooled down during the filling phase and heated up during the curing phase. SINGLE offers an extensive system range for alternating temperature control up to 350°C.
Umeco’s current businesses, known as Advanced Composites Group, GRPMS, J.D. Lincoln and Richmond Aerovac, are being rebranded under one name, Umeco (Warwickshire, U.K.). Umeco will exhibit several key projects at JEC: Sahara Force India Formula One Team’s 2011 (VJM04) race car illustrating the widespread application of Umeco’s advanced prepregs for structural and bodywork applications in this high performance sector; a staggered sandwich panel demonstrating how Umeco’s Structural & Process materials’ products work in the production of large out-of-autoclave (OOA) structures; a Surrey Satellite Technology ltd (SSTL) modular, small-scale satellite structure demonstrator manufactured from Umeco’s MTM44-1 unidirectional and woven prepregs; a prototype of the TEMA staircase, manufactured by LoSon Srl, depicting the application of Umeco’s LTM12 tooling prepregs, MTM57 OOA structural prepregs and vacuum bagging materials to manufacture a bespoke, 5m high staircase as a masterpiece for an Italian aerospace company.
Victrex (West Conshohocken, Pa.) is emphasizing latest developments in its portfolio of VICTREX PEEK (polyaryletherketones) polymer-based materials used in aerospace, automotive and other industries. At its stand are thin, durable APTIV films being used to replace PVF film to reduce weight and improve performance in numerous applications. These lightweight films are available in a broad range of thicknesses and widths and provide good permeation barrier properties with low moisture absorption as well as good flame, smoke and toxicity performance. APTIV film laminates meet FAA requirements for radiant panel testing and specialized burn-through barrier systems. Thin-wall VICTREX Pipes, based on VICTREX PEEK polymer, offer chemical, corrosion, abrasion and permeation resistance at high temperatures in a flexible format. For the aerospace industry, they offer weight savings of up to 68 percent when compared to stainless steel. Additionally, they are inherently halogen-free with low levels of smoke and toxic gas emissions.