News briefs -- Dec. 23, 2008

Beacon receives $4.4 million for flywheel manufacturing; Cirrus names Brent Wouters CEO; Laser Design Inc. announces nationwide distribution agreement with the Wenzel-Xspect USA; Sandia Labs team develops "colossal" carbon tubes; Smithers Rapra offers free workshop to cover conductive polymers; Redelease joins Brazilian composites recycling program; R.J. Marshall forms partnership with Astra Minerals; Rainwater Holdings acquires Ultracor.

Beacon Power Corp. (Tyngsboro, Mass.) announced on Dec. 22 that it has received a commitment for $4.4 million of new investment in the company. The capital will be used to fund ongoing operations, including flywheel manufacturing, and the continued development of Beacon's frequency regulation facility in New England. The transaction is expected to close on Dec. 24, 2008.

General Aviation aircraft manufacturer Cirrus Design Corp. (Duluth, Minn.) has named Brent Wouters CEO, effective Feb. 1, 2009. Currently president and COO, Wouters had served as executive vice president and CFO of Cirrus from early 2002 until March 2008. Prior to Cirrus, Wouters was the CFO of International Payment Services, where he was instrumental in completing 11 acquisitions.

Laser Design Inc. (Minneapolis, Minn.), a supplier of 3-D laser scanners, has announced a nationwide distribution agreement with the Wenzel-Xspect USA sales force to market Laser Design’s 3-D laser scanning technology integrated with the Wenzel CMM systems. Laser Design also will open branches of its GKS service bureau division at key Wenzel-Xspect locations. This will enable dealers to expertly demonstrate the technology at Wenzel CMM locations showing its capabilities, versatility, accuracy and speed.

Jianyu Huang at the Sandia/Los Alamos Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT, Albuquerque, N.M. and Los Alamos, N.M.), and colleagues elsewhere, have developed what are called “colossal carbon tubes,” as announced in a paper published in the Physical Review Letters. The tubes have a density of 0.1g, compared with 2g for the comparable amount of carbon fibers. They are about the same length as carbon fibers and are said to be stronger. Diameter of the tunes ranges from 40 to 100 micrometers, vs. 10 nanometers for carbon nanotubes.

Smithers Rapra (Shrewsbury, U.K.) has announced a free workshop on the development of eco-friendly, conductive plastic composites that are cost effective and of high added value. The workship will be Wednesday, Jan. 21, 2009, at the Hotel Novotel Palacio de Congresos in Valencia, Spain. Visit www.polycond.com for more information.

Redelease, a Brazilian distributor of raw material for thermoset and thermoplastic applications, has announced that it is one of the sponsors of the National Composites Recycling Program, under the Brazilian Composites Materials Association (ABMACO) and Institute for Technological Research (IPT). The project has the financing of Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) and aims to reduce the volume of waste discarded by the Brazilian composites segment, currently estimated in 13,000 tons per year, from process tailing and defective parts. According to ABMACO, such volume represents an annual waste of approximately $40 million (USD).

The R.J. Marshall Co. (Southfield, Mich.), through a strategic partnership with Astra Minerals, is now offering a line of alumina trihydrate (ATH) products from a processing facility on the Ohio River in Southeast Ohio. The manufacturing plant is located in Wellsville, Ohio, and is said to have state-of-the-art grinding equipment and processing capabilities.  The R.J. Marshall Company has four other ATH processing locations in Michigan, Alabama, Texas and California.

Ultracor (Livermore, Calif.) has been acquired by Rainwater Holdings Inc., effective Dec. 10, 2008. Ultracor makes composite core materials for the aerospace, aeronautic and automobile industry. Michael Fellman, Ultracor's founder, will guide the new management team for the foreseeable future. Stan Wright will serve as president of Ultracor.