Business briefs: May 2016
Frazer Barnes, managing director of ELG Carbon Fibre Ltd. (Coseley, UK), emphasized his company’s pyrolysis-based composites recycling technology and the need for the development of material characteristics for fibers derived from recycling processes. “We need to give engineers the confidence to use the material,” Barnes says. “The best way to do that is to show applications.” ELG produced 1,080 MT of recycled carbon fiber in 2015, mostly short, chopped fibers up to 6 mm long. Applications include injection molding processes for automotive and electrical/electronics. ELG also makes a line of 90-600-g/m2 nonwovens that comprise carbon fiber or a carbon fiber/polypropylene mix. ELG hopes, in the coming 5 years, to establish a larger production facility in Germany to help it achieve a total production capacity of 6,500 MT per year.
Continental Structural Plastics (CSP, Auburn Hills, MI, US) and Mitsubishi Rayon Co. Ltd.(MRC, Tokyo, Japan) have established a memorandum of understanding (MOU) regarding the development and manufacturing of innovative carbon fiber components for the auto industry in North America. Under the MOU, CSP and MRC have agreed to commence detailed studies through which they intend to pursue an equity-based joint venture that will produce compression molded components made from carbon fiber- reinforced plastics, which could include compression molded SMC as well as prepreg compression molding (PCM). Components will include Class A body panels as well as non-class A parts, including pillars, engine cradles or supports, bumper beams, underbody shields, and more.
OSG USA Inc. (Glendale Heights, IL, US), a manufacturer of taps, drills, end mills, dies and indexable cutting tools, reports that it has acquired AMAMCO Tool, an ISO 9001:2008- and AS9100C-registered manufacturer of high-quality, custom, carbide machine tools used in the aerospace, automotive and medical industries. Founded in 1972, AMAMCO will con- tinue to operate in Duncan, SC, US, as an independent company, led by newly appointed president and former VP at AMAMCO, Jon Salem.
Plataine (Waltham, MA, US and Tel Aviv, Israel) and Argosy International (New York, NY, US) will partner to increase manufacturing efficiencies for composites manufacturers in the Asia-Pacific region. The deal is expected to help Argosy customers streamline their manufacturing processes by leveraging the “Industrial Internet of Things (IoT), and allowing them real-time context-aware optimized decisions to facilitate every aspect of their business.” Plataine’s Total Production Optimization solution combines IoT technology to collect manufacturing and quality-re- lated data on the production floor and make actionable, optimized decisions and recommendations in real time.
Günter Wolfsberger, product manager composite fiber technology at Magna Steyr (Graz, Austria), and Carlos Garza, operations manager at automotive parts manufacturer Katcon Advanced Materials (Santa Catarina, Mexico), announced plans to work together to develop a manufacturing line to fabricate automotive body panels, using glass fiber/polyurethane skins around a paper honeycomb crushed core. The system conceived would use Hennecke Inc. (Sankt Augustin, Germany) sprayup technology and could produce up to 100,000 units per year. Wolfsberger and Steyr discussed a specific demonstra- tion to make a 14-kg BMW M3 car hood on a fully automated line that could produce one paint-ready, Class A hood every 280 seconds. Such a hood would be 66% lighter and 9% less expensive than its steel predecessor. This system is notional at this point, but Wolfsberger and Katcon say they have attracted the interest of several automotive OEMs.
Fast-reacting resins and speedier processes are making economical volume manufacturing possible.
There are numerous methods for fabricating composite components. Selection of a method for a particular part, therefore, will depend on the materials, the part design and end-use or application. Here's a guide to selection.
Applications aren't as demanding as airframe composites, but requirements are still exacting — passenger safety is key.