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8/21/2008 | 13 MINUTE READ

COMPOSITESWORLD Expo Preshow Preview

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CWExpo organizers pull aside the curtain for a sneak preview of the Expo's two keynote speakers and some new products that exhibitors will have on display in Schaumburg.


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COMPOSTESWORLD and parent company Gardner Publications Inc. topped off preparations in June for the inaugural COMPOSITESWORLD Expo (Sept. 3-5 at the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel & Convention Center in Schaumburg, Ill.) with the official announcement of the Expo's two conference keynote speakers.

On Wednesday, Sept. 3, Dr. Linda A. Cadwell Stancin, manager, material and process technology, product development at The Boeing Co. (Seattle, Wash.) will present "Composites Technology: One of the Key Elements for Performance-Driven Commercial Aircraft." Advancements in composite material structural performance, analysis and manufacturing technology are critical elements for new commercial airplane families. Customers are demanding a substantial improvement in operating efficiency for future aircraft. Boeing scientists in research and product development are working with key worldwide companies and research and development institutions to advance composites technology. Stancin's keynote presentation, from the point of view of a material and process technology manager in product development, focuses on the importance of composites technology advancements to future Boeing commercial aircraft.

On Thursday, Sept. 4, Tadge J. Juechter, Corvette & Cadillac XLR chief engineer of General Motors (Flint, Mich.), will present "Corvette ZR1: Composites, Performance and Automotive Passion." The ZR1 is the latest effort by the Corvette team to package new materials technology into a compelling vehicle and is being used as a test platform for carbon fiber composites at GM. Fuel prices and CAFE requirements could make composites critical to our automotive futures, says Juechter. Get a "view from the top" in this keynote presentation from the chief engineer of the Corvette product line on the technical challenges, market hurdles and potential opportunities that lie ahead for composites in automobiles.

Keynote speaker selection capped CWExpo preshow conference prep, which has combined a two-track technical conference designed to provide practical education about composites processing technologies and materials for the benefit of industry veterans as well as those new to composites, with a number of networking opportunities that will allow participants to meet face to face with peers, suppliers, customers and prospects.

A key component of the show's networking mandate, the COMPOSITESWORLD Expo exhibit hall will be open during all three days of the event. CT offered CWExpo exhibitors the opportunity for a bit of advance publicity about what visitors will see when they amble the exhibit hall aisles. Sixteen companies anted up the following technologies that they anticipate will draw the most attention in their exhibits.

Portable spectrometer

A2 Technologies (Danbury, Conn.), manufacturer of portable Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectrometers, will feature at CWExpo 2008 its smallest, most compact FTIR spectrometer, the Exoscan. This 7-lb/3.2-kg handheld analyzer is designed for nondestructive, onsite surface and bulk analysis applications. The device also is capable of handling attenuated total reflectance (ATR) applications. Exoscan is powered by an onboard rechargeable lithium-ion battery or from AC power. It features interchangeable internal reflectance and external reflectance sampling interfaces and is designed to sample a variety of materials including solids, pastes, gels and liquids. Capable of nondestructive analysis, this new analyzer is said to be suitable for applications for which the sample is too large to bring to the laboratory or too valuable to require a small portion to be removed for analysis. Visit A2 Technologies in Booth 711.

CAE software

Altair Engineering (Troy, Mich.) is introducing at CWExpo 2008 HyperWorks 9.0, the next generation of the company's integrated suite of computer-aided engineering (CAE) software applications. HyperWorks is an enterprise simulation platform to support product lifecycle management (PLM) processes. With the release of HyperWorks 9.0, Altair has integrated all of its linear and nonlinear finite-element solvers into a single solver application. Also on offer are several improved analysis programs: RADIOSS 9.0 now simulates linear statics and dynamics, nonlinear transient dynamics and fluid-structure interaction events. For the user, RADIOSS 9.0 is said to simplify multidisciplinary analysis studies and data exchange between analysis types. The open-systems design of the platform reportedly allows engineers to seamlessly work with any CAD solution, any solver, and any pre- and postprocessing environment. The 9.0 release extends this interoperability to include Microsoft Office suite applications. HyperGraph and HyperView postprocessing applications now export directly to Office applications, as well. Advancements include a Windows-like graphical user interface (GUI); HyperCrash, a new automotive crash preprocessor; new rapid HEX solid meshing capabilities; shrink-wrap meshing to accelerate the creation of large solid models; rapid multibody dynamics optimization; free-shape optimization with manufacturing constraints; free-sizing optimization for composites; model assembly, batch meshing and performance data management automation. See Altair in Booth 807.

Gantry ATL and ATL/AFP robot

Automated Dynamics (Schenectady, N.Y.) is emphasizing two recently delivered products in its booth at CWExpo. First is its ATL-1117 gantry automated tape laying (ATL) machine devoted to the layup of the flight deck floor on Boeing 787 Dreamliner. This ATL has a 3-inch/76-mm thermoset material processing head, and the workcell envelope is 11.0 ft by 17.5 ft (3.3m by 5.3m). The Automated Dynamics fiber placement management (FPM) software uses a 2-D part boundary definition function and ply table entry format for programming. Also new is the AFP/ATL-0510 robot, which is based on a Kawasaki robot platform. The standard work envelope is 10 ft by 5 ft by 4 ft (3.0m by 1.5m by 1.2m), and parts can be made to revolve with the addition of a spindle system. The robot is capable of hosting multiple processing head technologies, including thermoset and thermoplastic automated fiber placement (AFP) and ATL. The AFP/ATL-0510 robot comes standard with Automated Dynamics' offline FPM and online FPS software. See Automated Dynamics at Booth 709.

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 (see photo, top right). The alternating cross-flow design provides uniform airflow across the entire tow band up to 3m/9.3 ft wide. Litzler ovens have successfully processed 1K tow up to 350K tow. Litzler ovens also include the patented End-Seals that seal the ends of the oxidation oven. This prevents cold air from infiltrating the oven and creates more airflow and temperature uniformity while minimizing HCN levels. Uniform temperatures and airflow produce higher quality products at higher speeds than competing designs. Litzler has more than 50 oxidation ovens installed in the United States, Taiwan, China and Europe. Visit C.A. Litzler in Booth 201.

Flame retardant for thermosets

At its booth, Ciba Corp. (Newport, Del.) will promote its MELAPUR 200 halogen-free flame retardant (melamine polyphosphate) for thermoset composites. Reported benefits of the product include reduced smoke and corrosivity, synergy with other flame retardants and the ability to maintain critical properties of the formulation. It decomposes endothermically above 350°C/662°F, acting as a heat sink to cool the polymer. The released phosphoric acid forms a coating that shields the polymer substrate. The phosphoric acid further reacts with the polymer to form a char and inhibit the release of free radical gasses into the oxygen phase. Simultaneously, nitrogen species released from the degradation of melamine intumesces the char to further protect the polymer. Ciba also will conduct a survey regarding thermoset flame retardancy and smoke requirements in the transportation and building and construction markets. The survey is designed to identify new opportunities and guide future flame retardant developments in these industries. Survey participants will have the chance to win an iPod Touch. Visit Ciba Corp. in Booth 302.

ATL/AFP simulation software

CG Tech (Irvine, Calif.) will demonstrate its VERICUT Composite Applications Suite at the show (center photo, at right). The suite consists of machine-independent offline programming and simulation software for automated composite tape and fiber-placement CNC machines. It consists of two separate applications: VERICUT Composite Programming (VCP) and VERICUT Composite Simulation (VCS). VCP 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 together to form specific layup sequences and are output as NC programs for the automated layup machine. VCS reads CAD models and NC programs, either from VCP or other composite layup path-generation applications, and simulates the sequence of NC programs on a virtual machine. Material is applied to the tool via NC program instructions in a virtual CNC simulation environment. The simulated material applied to the form can be measured and inspected to ensure the NC program follows manufacturing standards and requirements. A report showing simulation results and statistical information can be automatically created. See CG Tech in Booth 301.

Urethane tooling board

Coastal Enterprises Co. (Orange, Calif.) is emphasizing its new Precision Board Plus tooling board, said to provide a tight, fine cell structure that is easy to machine and generates less dust and more chips. The boards feature a "green" urethane that is said to be environmentally friendly. Other benefits include PBHT heating to 300°F/149°C, PBLT heating to 200°F/93°C, no outgassing, density from 4 pcf to 45 pcf, sheet sizes of 4 ft by 8 ft (1.2m by 2.4m) to 5 ft by 10 ft (1.5m by 3m), board thickness up to 24 inches/610 mm and custom bonded shapes and sizes. Visit Coastal Enterprises in Booth 402.

CAE, CAD and simulation software

Dassault Systèmes Americas Corp. (Woodland Hills, Calif.) will spotlight its product lifecycle management (PLM) applications for composites design and simulation, including CATIA for virtual product definition, SIMULIA for virtual testing and DELMIA for virtual production. CATIA provides full definition, from conceptual to engineering detailed design and manufacturing preparation, and also provides dedicated functional contexts to integrate structural, assembly and manufacturing requirements early in the design phase. SIMULIA provides simulation tools and composites-specific methodologies to improve part and structure design. DELMIA provides digital manufacturing capabilities from planning to simulation-based validation, work instruction authoring and actual delivery to the shop floor. Dassault also has developed a set of partnerships with suppliers and machine makers to supply solutions tailored to specialized technologies, including hand layup, resin transfer molding (RTM),  automated tape laying (ATL) and fiber placement processes. The application also allows composites designers to capture assembly information within the design environment. Designed for wing panels, fuselage barrels or boat hulls, the grid-based approach enables designers to automate and optimize large and complex structures in context of their mating substructures. The Dassault exhibit can be found at Booth 618.

Rigid foam core

On display at the Elliott Co. of Indianapolis (Indianapolis, Ind.) exhibit will be the company's ELFOAM polyiso and polyurethane rigid foam core materials. ELFOAM products typically are supplied as blocks, sheets and/or custom shapes and come in 2-, 3-, 4- and 6-lb/ft³ densities and in thicknesses ranging from 0.175 inch to 25 inches (4.45 mm to 635 mm). Process-enhancing features, such as surface scoring and perforations, are also available. Design requirements frequently satisfied by ELFOAM include weight reduction, cost reduction, dimensional stability at up to 300°F/149°C and chemical resistance. ELFOAM reportedly also demonstrates good thermal insulation, surface burning characteristics and rapid machinability. See Elliott Co. of Indianapolis in Booth 514.

Flow media for closed molding

Flemings Textiles Ltd., a div. of Scott & Fife (Kilmarnock, U.K.) will focus its exhibit on the company's POLYMAT Hi-Flow fabric, designed to provide fast flow infusion in all forms of closed mold production. It reportedly allows greater resin choice by easing infusion flow. Other benefits include reduced shrinkage and improved functionality; up to 50 percent savings on infusion cycle time; the ability to use high levels of fillers, such as chalk and microspheres; the ability to handle high-viscosity resins with good part fill; good control over finished part thickness; good fabric deformability; and reduced styrene emissions. Flemings Textiles' exhibit will be in Booth 418.

PAN-base carbon fiber

The focus at the Grafil Inc. (Sacramento, Calif.) exhibit will be on parent company Mitsubishi Rayon Co. Ltd.'s (Tokyo, Japan) new PAN-based carbon fiber, branded the PYROFIL P330 Series. The P330 Series has the same properties as Mitsubishi Rayon's TRH50 high-strength fiber but will have an increased filament count of 50K to 60K. Tensile strength of the series ranges from 680 ksi to 710 ksi (4,688 MPa to 4957 MPa); tensile modulus ranges from 34 msi to 36 msi (235 MPa to 248 MPa). Another reported benefit includes improved processability compared with other carbon fibers with a similar tow size, with the additional benefit of higher strength and higher modulus. Targeted markets for this product include wind turbine blades, marine, infrastructure and pressure vessels. Grafil Inc. can be found in Booth 607.

Light RTM accessories

M.V.P. - Magnum Venus Plastech (Clearwater, Fla.) is emphasizing several recently introduced accessories to its light RTM product line. Among them are standardized mold fittings for use with a common universal mold insert, including mold injection pipe or automatic injection valve (Turbo Autosprue), flange vacuum, catchpot, air ejector and mold pressure sensor. In addition, three more elastomeric profiles have been added to MVP's range of mold accessories to aid moldbuilding, sealing and resin flow. Other improvements include a new, smaller resin feed channel profile that provides the user with a choice of two peripheral resin feed channel designs, the addition of a solid seal of similar dimension and shape to the company's dynamic seal and keyhole resin feed injection from within the mold cavity for larger mold surface areas. MVP also is emphasizing its new Air-Eject system, which allows users to choose the point of air ejection for the mold and lock the Air-Eject into place. On larger molds, one Air-Eject can be used sequentially to demold several points. See M.V.P. in Booth 313.

Aramid products

TEIJIN ARAMID USA Inc. (Conyers, Ga.) will emphasize its para-aramid polymer, filament yarn, chopped fiber and pulp sold under the trade names Twaron and Technora. Twaron and Technora are used in a range of composite applications in the marine, industrial, sports and leisure, civil engineering, ground transportation and aerospace markets. In engineered plastics, Twaron and Technora chopped aramid fibers and polymer target applications that demand stronger, lighter and more compact plastic components that need to operate at higher speeds and temperatures. See Teijin Aramid USA in Booth 907.

Laminate simulation software

VISTAGY Inc. (Waltham, Mass.) is emphasizing FiberSIM, its software for composites engineering. FiberSIM is designed to support the unique and complex design and manufacturing methodologies required to engineer composite products and parts, including design conception, laminate definition and ply creation through simulation, documentation and manufacturing. FiberSIM is integrated into several commercial CAD systems (CATIA V4, CATIA V5, NX and Pro/ENGINEER) to help composites engineers fine-tune designs and integrate simulation data into the product development process. See VISTAGY Inc. in Booth 422.

Nickel-shell tooling

In its booth, Weber Manufacturing Ltd. (Midland, Ontario, Canada), a moldmaker, will emphasize its proprietary toolmaking process that uses nickel vapor deposition (NVD). Weber makes tools for aerospace, automotive interior and exterior and building and construction applications. The NVD technology allows for the replication of leather, wood and slate surfaces and can be used with compression molding, sprayup, slush molding, vacuum-assisted closed molding, reaction injection molding (RIM) and standard injection molding. Visit Weber Manufacturing in Booth 701.

Electric and gas ovens

Wisconsin Oven Corp. (East Troy, Wis.) is featuring in its booth the company's line of electrically heated, gas-fired, and indirect gas-fired curing batch ovens designed to meet specific process requirements for composite structure manufacturing (see bottom photo, at right). Composite curing options include data acquisition instruments, vacuum piping, pumps and transducers. Wisconsin Oven also supplies ovens for finishing, heat-treating, and solution treating applications. See Wisconsin Oven in Booth 534.

Release agents and more

Zyvax Inc. (Elijay, Ga.) will highlight its solvent-free line of cleaners, sealers and release agents designed specifically for resin transfer molding (RTM), light RTM and infusion processes. These products reportedly are odorless, nonflammable and easy to apply. Zyvax also will emphasize its line of solvent and low-solvent formulas. Two products in particular will be featured: Flex-Z offers six levels of release that allow the fabricator to control the performance of the mold and adjust between summer and winter resins. It is said to be well suited for new lower styrene resins and gel coats. The newest product is QuickSkin, a coating designed for use on foam masters and tooling board. QuickSkin permits use of the master within a couple of hours after CNC machining. It requires room-temperature cure with 15 minutes between coats. No sanding or postfinishing is required. Visit Zyvax at Booth 601.