Composites Horizons LLC (Covina, Calif.), a division of AIP Aerospace, announced on May 6 the addition of a ceramic-matrix composite (CMC) manufacturing facility adjacent to its existing polymer-matrix composite (PMC) facilities in Covina. Included with the expansion is an $11 million investment in new equipment and processes for all four of the company’s existing facilities. The 35,000-ft2 (3,250m2) building will be dedicated to the manufacture of sophisticated oxide-type CMC (OX/OX CMC). It will house a 4,000-ft2 (372m2) cleanroom with a dedicated ply cutter, laser projection equipment and a team of personnel trained in OX/OX CMC production, plus a 15,000-ft2/1,394m2 assembly area and a sintering furnace with 8-ft3/0.23m3 capacity and 2500°F/1371°C temperature capability. Ultimately, the facility also will house two dedicated autoclaves, an additional production sintering furnace, a smaller development furnace, three additional 5-axis CNC-machining centers, and the company’s executive offices. The company also reports that it has been selected by GE Aviation (Cincinnati, Ohio) as a supplier of components for an OX/OX CMC exhaust system for a key business aircraft engine program — the largest contract in Composites Horizons’ 30-year history.
Composites One (Arlington Heights, Ill.), a North American distributor of composites raw materials and value-added services, announced on June 10 that it has signed a purchase agreement to acquire essential composites distribution assets from Nexeo Solutions (The Woodlands, Texas). Nexeo’s composites distribution employees will join Composites One. The move is expected to enable the latter to deliver its product line and technical support services to more customers in the U.S. and, now, across all of Canada, and also to serve both aerospace and industrial markets. “We are looking forward to combining the talent and experience of both organizations,” said Leon Garoufalis, president and COO of Composites One. “We will continue to work diligently to position ourselves as the supplier of choice to help our customers become more successful.” Notably, in 2011, Nexeo Solutions entered the composites market by purchasing the Ashland Distribution (Covington, Ky.) division of resin supplier Ashland Inc. (Dublin, Ohio). “This divestiture reflects Nexeo Solutions’ strategic direction and fuels our multiyear transformation and commitment to expand our presence in key end markets,” says Nexeo CEO David Bradley. The deal was expected to close on or about July 1, 2014.
Nondestructive testing (NDT) system supplier Tecnatom (Madrid, Spain) reports that it signed a contract with Premium Aerotec (Augsburg, Germany) during the ILA Berlin Air Show (May 20-25, Berlin ExpoCenter Airport, Germany). The latter, a manufacturer of carbon fiber composite, aluminum and titanium structures, has acquired a robot-based Tecnatom inspection system mounted on a linear track. Capable of pulse-echo ultrasonic testing, it uses a variety of local immersion probes. The contract is Tecnatom’s first with Premium Aerotec, an important Tier 1 supplier for aircraft builders Airbus (Toulouse, France), The Boeing Co. (Chicago, Ill.) and Dassault Aviation (Paris, France), and also marks Tecnatom’s entry into the German market, which has been dominated by domestic NDT manufacturers (see related story on p. 32).