JEC Composites 2003 SAMPE Europe Conference Review

Paris is the debut stage for a galaxy of composites industry innovations.
#workforcedevelopment #adhesives #bmw


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Despite Iraq war jitters and a general transit strike on its last day, the JEC Composites/SAMPE Europe 2003 show, held April 1-3 at the Paris Expo in Paris France, posted steady growth figures for the seventh straight year. Exhibiting companies numbered 880, including 87 first-time exhibitors, with attendance totaling 20,992.

"New Horizons, New Territories" was the show theme, and exhibitors took that seriously, displaying an abundance of new products. While the show's scale prevents coverage of every new item, the CT staff took special note of the following innovations and newsworthy developments.

AC.S (Advanced Composite Systems GmbH, Wilhelmsdorf, Germany) showed an innovative rotating manufacturing cell, which has been used for rapid press forming of reinforced thermoplastic parts, such as the front and rear bumper beams for the BMW M3. Select 220

Advanced Composites Group Ltd. (ACG, Heanor Derbyshire, U.K. and Tulsa, Okla., U.S.A.) and Scott Bader Company Ltd. (Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, U.K.) announced their co-branded epoxy prepreg-compatible gel coat, Crystic GC260. The pre-accelerated, brush-on gel coat is fully compatible with ACG's VTM260-series epoxy prepregs and associated ZPREG formats, without the use of a tie coat. Select 221

Advanced Glassfiber Yarns LLC (Aiken, S.C., U.S.A.) launched VeTron high-performance glass 2400-tex roving for the marine market, tailored for use with vinyl ester and polyester resins. Select 222

Airtech International Inc. (Huntington Beach, Calif., U.S..) displayed new and inexpensive Econo Peel Plies, made of polyester or nylon, available plain, coated with release agent or with a red tracer. Also new is Resinflo 60, an inexpensive flow medium for use during resin infusion. Select 223

Albany International Techniweave (Rochester, N.H., U.S.A.) introduced a new carbon fiber-reinforced acrylic composite material with 45 percent fiber volume and a flexural modulus of 4.06 Msi/28 Gpa. The thermoplastic composite, which can be compression molded or thermoformed, is being used in orthopedic applications, such as custom knee braces. Select 224

AOC Resins (Collierville, Tenn., U.S.A.) announced a new resin facility in Garbaganate, Italy, acquired from Bayer AG. It will produce resins designed for resin transfer molding, resin infusion and UV curing. On display: New Vibrin 409 LC clear gel coat for marble applications, which surpasses ANSI standards for color, clarity, gloss retention and thermal shock, and Atryl TCA, designed to provide a Class A finish on SMC automotive parts, while virtually eliminating "paint pops." Select 225

Aplicator System AB (Molnlycke, Sweden) unveiled a new, more versatile version of its MIPG-24 Multicolor Gelcoater that is combined with an IPL-24 roller or spray up machine. The machine allows the user to do mixing and roller or spray coating of resin with a single piece of equipment. The MIPG-24/HLV unit's patented internal mixing system prevents contact of individual materials prior to entering the spray head, expediting color changes. Select 226

Ashland Specialty Chemical Co. (Columbus, Ohio, U.S.A.) launched its AME premium marine resin in the European market, as part of its company-wide, across-the-Atlantic expansion. Also on display was new HETRON FR9926b fire-retardant epoxy vinyl ester resin, which comes premixed with antimony to levels sufficient to mold parts conforming to Class I ASTM E-84 flame-spread requirements, without further modification. Select 227

Bellotti SpA (Suisio, Italy) introduced its FLA-series CNC machining equipment. The automated systems feature a wide range of gantry-mounted machining heads with electric spindle power ranging from 0.75 kW at 60,000 rpm to 13.8 kW at 30,000 rpm. The totally enclosed systems protect technicians from dust and noise. Features include a digital "feeler" system that senses the presence of a work piece and adapts the machining program to work piece size and/or position changes. Select 228

Bond-Laminates GmbH (Brilon, Germany) introduced the TEPEX x08 range of materials, featuring a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) matrix. The TPU formulation achieves the properties usually obtained with standard engineering plastics, where previous TPUs have tended to be "soft," says the company. The products are commercially available in colors, with glass reinforcement or carbon fiber reinforcement. Select 229

Braca-Sport (Kaunas, Lithuania and Budapest, Hungary) premiered Unipreg unidirectional carbon-fiber prepreg, made of Zoltek PANEX 35 tow (tensile strength of 3,860 Mpa/560 ksi; tensile modulus of 242 Gpa/35 Msi). It cures in the range of 80°C/176°F to 150°C/302°F, and has a shelf life of four months at 20°C/68°F (18 months at -18°C/0°F). Select 230

BYK USA (Wesel, Germany and Wallingford, Conn., U.S.A.) introduced new BYK-W 909 wetting and dispersing additive, for cast polymer/solid surface applications. It exhibits significant viscosity-reducing effects in most highly filled compounds containing silica sand, ATH and calcium carbonate, without affecting reactivity or gel/cure times. Select 231

Chomarat Composites (Le Cheylard, France) displayed MeC-GRID, designed for use in place of steel wire mesh and light rebar. Produced by aligning superimposed warp and weft fibers -- Zoltek PANEX 33 24K and 48K carbon fiber tow -- and impregnating them with a rapid-cure epoxy to create an open grid. Unlike steel, the non-corrosive Mec-GRID may be placed within 6 mm/0.25 inch of concrete surfaces. Select 232

Croma (Paris, France) demonstrated its hot-wire cutting machinery, designed to produce complex-contoured and tapered asymmetrical shapes from foam core materials. Options include a bendable wire tool and an automatic turntable, enabling the user to produce grooved, fluted and round shapes. Select 233

Cytec Engineered Materials (Tempe, Ariz., U.S.A.) introduced SURFACE MASTER 905, its next-generation surface film, which reportedly reduces visible surface pinholes and pits by as much as 99 percent and surface preparation costs by as much as 50 percent. Select 234

Degussa Röhm GmbH & Co. (Darmstadt, Germany) promoted Rohacell RIST (Resin Infusion STructural) foam core, which has a property profile similar to the WF grade used with prepreg processes, but with smaller cell size, reducing surface resin absorption. Also new: Rohacell RIMA (Resin Infusion Manufacturing Aid), a low-density/low-creep foam with even smaller cell size, providing essentially zero surface resin absorption. The non-structural core is used as a mandrel for complex parts in RTM and other infusion processes. Select 235

DIAB Americas LP (Desoto, Texas, U.S.A.) announced the purchase of a 22-acre site in Red Oak, Texas for a new production facility, which is expected to double the company's U.S. foam production. Also unveiled: a new kitting line for ProBalsa core, at DIAB's plant in Laholm, Sweden. It features a 4-axis CNC router able to produce, in a single operation, kit components that feature complex curves and multiple rebates and cutouts. Select 236

Dieffenbacher North America Inc. (Eppigen, Germany) showed its LFT-D/ILC (direct long-fiber thermoplastic molding, with inline compounding) system that enables economical production of large-surface auto components at the rate of six per second, in a 20-second cycle, yielding production of up to 1.6 million parts per year, in three-shift operation. Select 237

DSM Composite Resins (Schaffhausen, Switzerland) premiered Neogel Eco gel coat with a new polymer "backbone" that requires 25 percent less styrene than conventional formulations. Tests demonstrate a 35 percent improvement in weatherability compared to standard NPG gel coat. Select 238

FiberCote (Waterbury, Conn., U.S.A.) and Aero Consultants (Nanikon, Switzerland and Huntingdon, Cambs, U.K.) announced a marketing and distribution agreement, which will allow Aero Consultants to distribute FiberCote's thermoset prepreg materials throughout most of Europe. Select 239

SP Systems, IMS, Stesalit and Gurit Suprem officially announced their unification under the collaborative banner, Gurit Composite Technologies (Witwill, Switzerland). Each of the formerly independent companies will continue to focus on its area of expertise, but the new group expects to draw on member skills and product bases to offer its customers more comprehensive composite solutions. Select 240

Henkel Loctite (Rocky Hill, Conn., U.S.A., and Senlis, Cedex, France) showcased a new family of epoxy adhesives for European customers, based on the Dexter line, and unveiled its 4 million Euro/$4.5 million (USD) factory near Milan, Italy. Also new: a draft version of its JOINTCALC software (available late 2003), which offers a simple calculation method for evaluation of joint strength, simulating the actual strains and then determining the most suitable adhesive resins to use without preliminary testing, says the company. Select 241

New products at the Hexcel (Dublin, Calif., U.S.A.) stand included HexPly M35-4 epoxy prepreg, with thermal properties to 205°C/337°F, and drape, tack, shock absorption and mechanical properties reportedly sufficient for chassis and other structural auto parts. Select 242

Isovolta AG (Weiner Neudorf, Austria) showcased its JEC "Sports & Culture" award-winning Isopreg prepregs, used in Fila Sports' Formula 1 auto racing shoes. Made with glass, carbon, aramid, polyester or cellulose fibers, Isopreg matrices include epoxy, cyanate ester and melamine resins developed and produced in-house. The materials have service temperatures ranging from -270°C/-454°F to 350°C/662°F and cure rapidly at temperatures as low as 80°C/176°F. Select 243

Johns Manville (Denver, Colo., U.S.A.) highlighted its SMC A "Plus" line of reinforcements for the production of Class A SMC automotive body panels. The company's European arm announced plans to invest 80 million Euro/$100 million (USD) in a glass fiber operation at its Trnava, Slovakia location. Its new furnace will fire up in fourth quarter 2004. Select 244

Karl Mayer Textilmaschinenfabrik GmbH (Obertshausen, Germany) unveiled its newest Malimo Multiaxial Knitting Machine, capable of producing fabrics from 80 inches to a full 130 inches in width (adjustable in 25-inch increments). Capable of fiber orientations at any angle between +45° and -45°, the machine's unique laying system gently and carefully handles both carbon and glass fiber, says the company. Select 245

Lankhorst Indutech (Sneek, The Netherlands) introduced a 100 percent recyclable tape made of polypropylene (PP) resin with polypropylene fiber reinforcement. Intended as an alternative to GMT and LFTs in automotive, marine, pipe and pressure vessel applications, the co-extruded tape features highly oriented fibers coated with a thin layer of resin, which fuses with adjacent tape layers during consolidation. Select 246

Lantor Composites (Veenendaal, The Netherlands) Soric flow medium/core material, for use in closed molding processes, filament winding and the manufacture of prepreg, is a pressure-stable polyester nonwoven with a honeycomb structure, enabling it to double as core and infusion medium. Select 247

Lectra (Marietta, Ga., U.S.A.) focused visitor attention on its VectorComposite 2500 plotter-based composite materials cutting systems, featuring the new VectorPilotComposite driver, with unique tools adapted to cutting multiple material types, including prepreg, honeycomb and fiberglass mat/fabric. Select 248

Magnum Venus Products (MVP, Kent, Wash., U.S.A.) promoted its ability to offer molders a complete RTM system, supplying all equipment -- from preforming to injection -- necessary to the process. The display included the company's UltraMAX RTM Unit, featuring MVP's patented Hydraulic Injection System, which performs continuous-flow metering while regulating metering ratios, material mix and fiber wetout. Select 249

Material SA (Brussels, Belgium) took reservations for copies of its new Composite Star database and design software. The package calculates ply and laminate properties, laminate load response and failure (with new failure criteria and progressive failure models) and also calculates the properties, load responses and failure of laminate beams, tubes and plates. The software interfaces with popular FEA programs. Select 250

Matrasur Composites (Marcoussis, France) demonstrated its CNC-controlled Monomat/Multimat resin transfer molding (RTM) injection machine that enables a 90-second RTM cycle time. The machine, already in use by Ford, Volvo and Mack Trucks, can accommodate both epoxy and polyester resins. Select 251

A co-winner in the JEC Awards "Automotive Transport" category, Menzolit GmbH (Veniuel, France) displayed a trunk lid with a compression molded inner panel, made with AdvancedSMC. Optimized for structural and Class-A components, the material consists of thin resin layers stacked with uni carbon fiber reinforcements (8 cm/3 inch carbon fibers), using an automated ply stacking technique to achieve the proper fiber orientation. Select 252

MIKROSAM (Prilep, Macedonia) highlighted its Multi Axis Filament Winding Machine for cylindrical shapes with irregular cross-sections. The CNC system has a maximum mandrel diameter of 1,000 mm/39.37 inches and maximum mandrel weight capacity of 1,000 kg/2,205 lb. Its horizontal carriage stroke is a maximum 4,000 mm/157.5 inches. Select 253

Norac Inc. (Azuza, Calif., U.S.A.) featured its new initiator, Andonox TLC-88, developed for use in the RTM process. Its characteristics include a longer-than-typical gel time with excellent cure at temperatures ranging between 40°C/104°F and 80°C/176°F. Select 254

Plastech Thermoset Tectonics (Gunnislake, Cornwall, U.K.) previewed its Hypaject MK IV, a resin injection and dispensing machine for epoxy formulations that simplifies handling of thermosets in RTM and vacuum infusion applications. Pre-mixed resin and catalyst are drawn under vacuum into the machine's homogenizer, actively degassed, then dispensed under pressure into the mold cavity, at rates ranging from 0.001 to 13.25 liters (0.06 to 809 in3) per minute. Select 255

Reichhold LLC2 (Research Triangle Park, N.C., U.S.A.) announced the consolidation of its composites products under four brand names, Polylite (standard resins), Dion (corrosion resistant/flame retardant/pultrusion resins) Hydrex (marine resins) and Norpol (gel coats), as part of its new global marketing plan. The company also revealed that its new gel coat plant in Fredrikstad, Norway has begun production, giving Reichhold resin and gel coat production facilities at a single site, for cost-reducing synergies. Select 256

Scott Bader Co. Ltd. (Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, U.K.) premiered several new or improved Crystic gel coats, including highly thermal-shock-resistant Crystic G967 SMK. New, low-styrene marine gel coats included sprayable Crystic Envirotec LS 97PA (filled) and Envirotec LS 99PA (unfilled), and brush-on Envirotec LS 88PA, the latter featuring lower styrene content and improved weather resistance. Select 257

New non-corrosive mesh reinforcement from Teijin Twaron BV (Arnhem, The Netherlands) brings Twaron aramid fiber strength and resilience to brick work and poured or foamed concrete products. An alternative to steel mesh, the aramid material won't corrode like steel, but can absorb the tensile forces inherent in these applications. Select 258

Tetra-DUR, a member of the Bulk Molding Compounds Inc. Group (West Chicago, Ill., U.S.A.) revealed a recent plant expansion intended to meet European demand for BMCs. The 800m2/8,611-ft2 addition houses office space, factory/warehouse facilities and a fully automated compounding line reportedly offering greater batch-to-batch consistency, with annual production in excess of 8,000 tons. Select 259

Ticona GmbH (Kelsterbach, Germany) promoted the use of nylon 6/6 based Celstran LFRT (long-fiber-reinforced thermoplastics) in the front-end grille opening reinforcement of the 2003 Jaguar XJ. Nylon was selected over polypropylene, based on higher mechanical strengths and engine temperatures, which can reach 180°C/356°F. Select 260

Vantico (Duxford, Cambridge, U.K. and East Lansing, Mich., U.S.A.) put the spotlight on improved Araldyte primerless, room-temperature-cure polyurethane and epoxy adhesives, featuring long open time and high gap filling capability in SMC bonding applications. Select 261

VISTAGY Inc. (Waltham, Mass., U.S.A.) announced it will offer version 4.1 of its FiberSIM software this summer. The software offers CAD-integrated tools that automate composite design and analysis and generate manufacturing information, including documentation, flat patterns, as well as data necessary to drive laser projectors, automated cutters and fiber placement machines. Select 262

Vivian Regina Marketing Pty. Ltd. (Springs, Gauteng, South Africa) showed its new FIBASIL HP (high-porosity) C-veils, made from large-diameter fibers that promote rapid wetout with less air entrapment and feature better drapeability than standard veils. Select 263

Zoltek Corporation's (St. Louis, Mo., U.S.A.) new PANEX 35 Chop Fiber Format is designed to increase bulk density values, resulting in more consistent and cleaner flow rates. Designed for excellent mechanical/electrical properties in thermoplastic parts, the fibers have a 7.2-micron/0.283-mil diameter and nominal length of 6 mm/0.25 inches. Select 264