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8/25/2009 | 11 MINUTE READ

CompositesWorld Expo 2009: Product Preview

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 A pre-show peek at what’s in store for CWE conference attendees and show visitors.

After its well-received debut in 2008, the CompositesWorld Expo returns this year, Sept. 28-30, to the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel & Convention Center in the Chicago suburb of Schaumburg, Ill. Designed to cater to the entire composites industry, the Expo has something to offer composites professionals involved in any end market.

Keynotes and conference

This year, a quartet of keynote addresses will be delivered in a special open presentation venue on the show floor, making access easier for both attendees and exhibitors. CWE keynotes will address emerging applications of composites in key end markets: Stephen Nolet, the principal engineer and director of innovation at TPI Composites Inc. (Scottsdale, Ariz.), will discuss the roles that industry, government and advanced materials suppliers must play if the wind energy industry is to reach its stated goal of “20% Wind by 2030.” Dr. Habib J. Dagher, director of the Advanced Engineered Composite Center at the University of Maine (Orono, Maine), will survey opportunities for the use of rigidified inflatable bridge components and other innovations in infrastructure; Jim DeVries, from the Lightweight Materials Group in the Manufacturing Systems Department of Ford Motor Co. (Dearborn, Mich.), will review, in the wake of recent auto industry upheavals, “The Role of Composites in a Changing Automotive Landscape.” And Dr. Peter Wu, chief scientist at aircraft composites manufacturer Spirit AeroSystems (Wichita, Kan.), will present observations about how composites-driven advancements have produced a climate of continuous change in the aerospace market.

As with last year’s show, the 2009 outing offers a unique two-track conference program, with a full agenda for newcomers and an equally intriguing lineup for seasoned veterans. The conference runs Sept. 28-29, overlapping the exhibits schedule by one day. A full listing of conference speakers, topics and events can be found on pp. 25-32, in this issue.

Registration and lodging

For information about conference prices (exhibits-only registration is free until one week before the show), to register for conference sessions or inquire about lodging, visit the Expo Web site: www.compositesworldexpo.com.

On the CWE show floor

HPC invited CompositesWorld Expo exhibitors to preview their products, services and planned visitor-oriented activities. The following responded with word about what to expect.




Oxidation oven systems

C. A. Litzler Co. Inc. (Cleveland, Ohio) will present new oxidation oven systems that use the company’s exclusive cross-flow oven technology, with patented End-Seal System. The alternating cross-flow design provides uniform airflow across the entire tow band up to 3m/9.8 ft wide. Litzler ovens have successfully processed tow ranging from 1K to 350K. The End-Seals on the inlets and outlets of the oxidation oven prevent cold air from infiltrating the oven and, therefore, optimize internal airflow and ensure temperature uniformity while minimizing hydrogen cyanide (HCN) levels. Uniform temperatures and airflow produce higher quality products at higher speeds than those that can be produced with competing designs. Litzler has more than 50 oxidation ovens installed in the U.S., Taiwan, China and Europe.

Visit C.A. Litzler Co. Inc. in booth 301.




CNC programming software for fiber placement

Software developer CGTech (Irvine, Calif.) product marketing manager Bill Hasenjaeger will be a speaker in the CWE Conference Advanced Track on Monday, Sept. 28: Noting that most users of computer numerical control (CNC) automated fiber placement (AFP) machinery use the offline numerical control (NC) programming software delivered with their machines — forcing them to use multiple software applications for multiple brands of machines — Hasenjaeger will discuss the benefits of machine-independent offline NC programming software. During the Expo, CGTech will demonstrate VERICUT Composite Programming (VCP) software, which reads CAD surfaces and ply boundary information and adds material to fill the plies, according to user-specified manufacturing standards and requirements. Layup paths are linked to form specific layup sequences and are output as NC programs for the automated layup machine. CGTech also will exhibit VERICUT 7.0, the latest version of VERICUT CNC machine simulation and optimization software. Its enhancements reduce the time required for manufacturing engineers to develop, analyze, inspect and document the CNC programming and machining process. Instead of new features or add-on modules, CGTech has focused on diligent code optimization and customer-driven enhancements.

Visit CGTech in booth 300.




Aerospace-to-wind technology transfer

Representing Dassault Systèmes (Paris, France), CATIA composites consultant Rani Richardson will present a CWE conference paper entitled, “Fly Like the Wind: Wind Turbine Blade Composites Design: Leveraging Aerospace Advances for Improved Durability.” She will review design-and-manufacturing practice in this arena and the increasing demand for high-quality wind turbine blades, and then discuss technology now used in rotorcraft design that, according to Richardson, could and should be applied to wind blades. For a presentation preview, see the Webcast: www.compositesworld.com/videos/Wind-Turbine-Blade-Composites-Design.aspx.

Visit Dassault Systemès in booth 618.





Large-diameter filament winder

At its booth, McClean Anderson (Schofield, Wis.) will spotlight the Raptor, a custom-designed, large-scale filament winder. Its modular carriage bed design (which is available in a range of sizes, based on 3m/10-ft increments) accommodates extremely long parts. Its custom design allows for the largest-diameter filament wound products. Options include collapsible mandrels, part carts, curing panels, electronic slaved fiber tensioning systems, spray chop delivery and sand systems. Designed for two to four axes of motion, the Raptor features digital servo-control and Windows-based Flexwind control that is customized per machine. Also included is the company’s Composite Designer pattern development software.

Visit McClean Anderson in booth 423.




Ultrasonic and thermographic NDT systems

NDT Solutions Inc. (NDTS, New Richmond, Wis.), a supplier of nondestructive testing solutions, is emphasizing its FlawInspecta 64-channel, high-speed ultrasonic phased-array inspection system for composites inspection applications. This exhibitor also represents the new IrNDT modular thermographic inspection system manufactured by Automation Technology GmbH (Bad Oldesloe, Germany), and the new USB ANDSCAN manual C-scan system made by QinetiQ Ltd. (Hampshire, U.K.). NDTS also provides the complete line of MAUS automated C-scan systems, NDT Systems ultrasonic instruments and transducers and the entire line of SONOTECH ultrasonic couplants.

Visit NDT Solutions Inc. in booth 808.




Large-envelope CNC routers

Thermwood Corp. (Dale, Ind.) is presenting its heavy-duty, large-envelope, 3- and 5-axis CNC routers, designed for machining small and large composite parts in a single setup. All weldments on the routers are fully stress-relieved, and the final machine is laser-calibrated to ensure accuracy, including three-dimensional volumetric compensation. Thermwood systems can machine a wide range of materials, including fiberglass, aluminum, urethane foam and polycarbonate as well as Kevlar and Nomex fabrics and honeycomb core.

Visit Thermwood Corp. in booth 523.





Curing ovens for composites

Precision Quincy Corp. (Woodstock, Ill.) is featuring its line of curing ovens for composites. Designed to generate uniform temperatures throughout the oven cavity, the oven interior is constructed from heavy gauge, temperature-resistant aluminized steel, with a 63.5-mm/2.5-inch insulated floor. Standard features include adjustable louvered openings in supply and return ducts; heavy-duty blowers; vertical and horizontal airflow; and a pre-wired NEMA 1 control cabinet with UL-approved controls. Optional equipment can include thermocouple jack panels, cure-cycle ramp-soak programmers, digital cycle timers, motorized dampers for quick cool downs, and vacuum pumps and headers for vacuum bagging. All of the company’s curing ovens are reportedly in full compliance with NFPA-86, NFPA-70, OSHA and UL requirements.

Visit Precision Quincy Corp. in booth 811.




Inductively heated mandrel

Acrolab Ltd. (Windsor, Ontario, Canada) is introducing trademarked Isomandrel, which permits curing of filament-wound pipe and tube sections without the need for curing ovens. The system heats the mandrel uniformly, while rotating, using induction heating coupled with an internal process (within the mandrel) that enhances its thermal conductivity and thermal reactivity. Acrolab worked with McClean Anderson LLC (Schofield, Wis.) and Ameritherm Inc. (Scottsville, N.Y.) to construct an Isomandrel curing station, which was used to cure several 1,219-mm/48-inch long pipe sections wound with glass and carbon fiber epoxy prepregs. The work was done at TCR Composites Inc. (Ogden, Utah) using a 76.2-mm/3-inch OD Isomandrel. At the end of the winding cycle, the sections were successfully cured on the Isomandrel, using an EKOHEAT induction power supply and coil assembly while the Isomandrel and winding were still mounted and rotating at a reduced 10 rpm on the Super Hornet Winder. Ameritherm and McClean Anderson are developing an integrated software/hardware station to provide the controlled power and recipe requirements for Isomandrel technology.

Visit Acrolab Ltd. in booth 515.




Real-time ultrasound NDT

Imperium Inc. (Silver Spring, Md.), developer of the Acoustocam portable ultrasound imaging camera, is introducing the Acoustocam I600, which includes the new DAV 6 chip, an upgraded imaging modality that provides up to five times the clarity of images obtained with the previous version. Current Imperium customers include Boeing, Airbus, Bell Helicopter, the U.S. Army, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Air Force and NASA. The Acoustocam is used for nondestructive detection and real-time imaging of defects within composite and metal structures, including impact damage, voids, delaminations, disbonds, corrosion and internal cracks.

Visit Imperium Inc. in booth 715.




Fire-retardant epoxy adhesive

Magnolia Advanced Materials Inc. (Chamblee, Ga.) is featuring its entire adhesives, epoxies and tooling resin systems product line, including new solvent-free, two-component, room-temperature-cure, Magnobond 5925 fire-retardant epoxy adhesive. Designed to bond honeycomb aircraft interior panels, the product is intended for “ditch-and-pot” processes, which involve cutting a U-shaped “ditch” in the panel, filling it with adhesive and folding it to form a right-angle structure. Suitable for a range of uses that require an adhesive product highly resistant to fire, the product can handle metal-to-metal, composite-to-composite or metal-to-composite bonding. Applications include use in the manufacture or repair of metal and/or composite sandwich structure (honeycomb-to-skin) as well as structural adhesive bonding in aircraft interiors, in areas that require flexibility, fire resistance and good vibration resistance.

Visit Magnolia Plastics Inc. in booth 412.




Spread-tow carbon fiber fabrics

Oxeon AB (Borås, Sweden) is emphasizing its line of TeXtreme high-performance spread-tow carbon fiber fabrics. The material is made using Oxeon’s TapeWeaving Technology, which weaves unidirectional bands of spread carbon fiber tow into a high-performance fabric that is seeing application in aerospace, automotive, sporting goods, auto racing and wind energy. Reported benefits of the spread tow technology include straighter fibers that help reduce crimp, 20 percent weight reduction compared to conventional carbon reinforcements, an increased fiber fraction in the finished product, and good part surface finish.

Visit Oxeon AB in booth 614.




Soy-based resin advocacy

United Soybean Board (USB, Chesterfield, Mo.) is alerting composites professionals to the role that soybean-derived products can play in resin matrices. A farmer-funded organization, the USB works with industry, academia and government to commercialize soy-based products and technologies in the composites and plastics industries, as well as in lubricants, coatings and adhesives, solvents, specialty chemical applications and emerging opportunities. The benefits of soy chemistry include performance, versatility, cost and renewability. Experts on soy-based products and technology developments will be available to provide information and answer questions. USB-funded successes include soy-based polyol products for polyurethanes and unsaturated polyester resins that are used in body panels for agricultural equipment and polyurethane spray foam insulation.

Visit United Soybean Board in booth 400.




Nickel vapor deposition tooling

Weber Manufacturing Technologies Inc. (Midland, Ontario, Canada) will spotlight its nickel vapor deposition (NVD) mold technology for out-of-autoclave processing. Weber reports that in comparison to steel or Invar tools, its NVD customers are seeing rapid heating and cooling rates as a result of nickel’s thermal conductivity, conformal heating and reduced tool mass. By way of illustration, Weber representatives will discuss with visitors a tool the company recently constructed: a 10-mm/0.393-inch thick, solid, pure nickel shell mounted on an egg-crate steel weldment. The nickel shell itself was produced in 40 hours by depositing nickel onto a CNC-machined, metallic mandrel, using Weber’s NVD process. Heating tubes were integrated into the back of the NVD shell. Then the mold surface was hand-polished to an automotive Class A finish. After inspection, all tooling is tested at Weber prior to shipment to the molder.

Visit Weber Manufacturing Technologies in booth 701.




Laser projection system

LAP Laser LLC (Cincinnati, Ohio) exhibit will focus on its CAD-Pro 3-D laser projector, a “virtual templating system” that projects, from CAD data, the outlines of contoured prepregs, reinforcements, preassembled components, fasteners and other objects to within 0.76 mm/0.030 inch. The unit mounts above the layup area and projects directly onto the ply layup tool or other contoured surface. The projection is based on CAD data. Design updates can be implemented on the fly. The system can project three colors (green, red, and yellow) simultaneously, making it possible to highlight areas that require special treatment or attention signal warnings, and to indicate the direction of fibers on a contour. Outlines on large parts (largest dimension up to 30.5m/100 ft) are imaged by using several projectors while data is automatically allocated to the corresponding projector.

Visit LAP Laser in booth 510.




Nonwoven mats and veils

Technical Fibre Products Inc. (TFP, Newburgh, N.Y.) is showcasing its line of mats and veils made of C-glass and E-glass, polyester, carbon fiber, aramid, quartz, silicon carbide, basalt, nickel-coated carbon and metal fibers. The company’s OPTIMAT and TECNOFIRE products comprise a range of fibrous nonwoven veils and mats made via a wet-forming process based on papermaking principles. The result, says TFP, is even distribution of fibers in the plane of the sheet. Fibers are bonded with tailored levels of organic binders to optimize end-use strength and flexibility. Binders can be selected for compatibility with the matrix resin and can be either soluble or insoluble in the resin to aid processing. Applications include EMI/RFI shielding, fire protection, surface finishing, adhesive carriers, friction substrates and thermal management.

Visit Technical Fibre Products Inc. in booth 323.