JEC Composites 2006 Product Showcase

The buzz at the annual trade event in Paris? Business is good!
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AGY (Aiken, S.C.) made a number of significant S-2 Glass announcements. The company plans to increase manufacturing capacity by 50 percent over the next 18 months, by adding modular "mini-furnaces" to its existing S-2 Glass lines. New forming equipment is already in place that expands assembled roving production capacity for composite armor in military vehicles and vessels, such as the U.S. Navy's first Littoral Combat Ship (LCS). To help support its growth, AGY recently added two veteran engineers, Jack Price and Thomas Chenock, Jr., in the areas of size chemistry and composite applications. agy.gocomp.biz/31

Airtech Europe SA (Differdange, Luxembourg) announced plans for a new 1,000m2 (10,764 ft2) office building and acquisition of more production equipment (e.g., an extruder and an autoclave). The company also premiered four new products: Securlon L 500 & Big Blue L-100 super-wide vacuum bagging films (to 12m/39.4 ft width); WL 3900, an inexpensive, superwide (to 4.5m/14.8 ft) perforated release film; Securlon L-2000, the company's heaviest, sturdiest bagging film, billed as "the safest ... for expensive parts in high temp/high pressure cures"; and a Resin Infusion Starter Kit, with instructional DVD. airtech.gocomp.biz/33

Alcan Composites Core Materials (Sins, Switzerland and Northvale, N.J.) showed its AIREX, BALTEK and KAPA core material brands. The company's new polyethylene terephthalate (PET) AIREX T90 foam core material, introduced last year, has been successful to the point that additional production capacity is being added, coming online by 2007. T90, available in a range of densities, allows fabricators to combine different core densities in one sandwich structure to optimize properties. Also new: BALTEK Gold is a balsa wood core treated to prevent decay. alcanairex.gocomp.biz/8

Arkema (Paris La Défense, Cedex, France) introduced Graphistrength, a range of carbon nanotube precomposites. The product promotes good nanotube dispersion in epoxy, thermoplastic or elastomeric matrices, optimizing their beneficial effects. The product comes in two grades: Graphistrength 100 P50 and Graphistrength 200 P50. Also new: BlocBuilder Technology reportedly facilitates control of radical polymerization reactions and facilitates the development of polymers closely tailored to desired end-use properties. arkema.gocomp.biz/7

Assembly Guidance Systems (Chelmsford, Mass.) introduced its Universal Laserguide, a wireless and targetless multitasking laser system. The fully portable unit is radio frequency (RF) controlled, and therefore needs no umbilical to attach it to other equipment. It employs a CDRH Class II laser, reportedly the safest category of laser for projecting patterns. According to the company, the system can be setup for pattern projection in less than three minutes. Features include automated projector aiming and focusing. assemblyguide.gocomp.biz/9

Axel (Woodside, N.Y.) introduced five new mold release products, including XTEND W-7837D, a water-based, semipermanent that yields a consistent matte finish on molded parts. Designed to release many parts without reapplication, the product ensures part-to-part finish consistency, an important requirement in wind-blade production. It can be sprayed or wiped on at either ambient or elevated temperatures and reportedly is suitable for use on FRP, aluminum and steel mold surfaces, to produce composites parts with polyester, vinyl ester or epoxy matrices processed at temperatures up to 220°C/425°F. axel.gocomp.biz/22

Axson (Cergy, Cedex, France) promoted its services, including moldmaking, composites manufacture and development of custom epoxy and polyurethane resin systems. The company also spotlighted its wide range of two-component epoxy, polyurethane and methacrylate structural adhesives, available in bulk or packaged in cartridges for pneumatic guns. axson.gocomp.biz/2

Bodycote Materials Engineering (Lancaster, U.K.) announced its acquisition of the warrington Group of companies, located at three sites in the U.K. and additional locations in Belgium, France, Italy, Hong Kong, United Arab Emirates and Australia. The acquired firms perform consulting and testing services for a number of international standards, as well as architectural product testing, inspection of fire protection systems and certification at the local and EU (CE) levels in Europe. The move gives Bodycote access to a relatively new sector of testing activity that complements similar existing activities in its North American operations. bodycote-mt.gocomp.biz/7

Büfa Reactionsharze GmbH & Co. KG (Rastede, Germany) introduced a gel coat for wind-turbine rotor blade fabrication, called Oldopal-Mega-Flex. The product is said to offer several advantages: excellent elongation at break; improved weathering and abrasion-resistance; good working properties; high-quality pigmentation; and resistance to high mechanical loads, especially in torsion and flexion. buefa.gocomp.biz/2

Cognis Deutschland GmbH & Co. KG (Monheim, Germany) highlighted two additives for reactive resins: Perenol F 41, a solvent- and silicone-free leveling agent, reportedly offers excellent air-release properties and enhances surface appearance (surface tension in an epoxy system, for example, is 36 percent lower). Texaphor SF 71 is a wetting and dispersing agent that has viscosity-reducing properties that make it suitable for use with high-solids systems (reductions of up to 70 percent are possible). cognis.gocomp.biz/1

Delcam (Birmingham, U.K.) previewed new POWERMILL CAM software, designed to support 5-axis machining. Enhancements include improved point distribution within toolpaths to ensure smoother machining and better surface finish (accuracy to a fraction of a millimeter, making it possible to make large tools in several modules that can be joined with a perfect match) and faster calculation times for larger components or tooling, permitting tool manufacture in half the time required with traditional methods. delcam.gocomp.biz/7

DIAB Inc. (Laholm, Sweden and DeSoto, Texas) highlighted its Divinycell HP ("high performance") polyvinyl chloride (PVC) foam core grade, which is prepreg compatible - can be used at up to 145°C/293°F vacuum bag processing temperature and with a sustained service temperature of 100°C/212°F - and available in densities from 5 to 12.5 lb/ft3. Core demand has driven DIAB to make significant investments at its plants in Laholm, Longarone, Italy and DeSoto, Texas, and to open a new facility in Kunshan, China, which is now operational. diabgroup.gocomp.biz/20

Diatex (St.-Genis-Laval, France) introduced VACUOPEEL, an evolutionary development of its VACUOPLEX product. VACUOPLEX is a multilayer system (without adhesive) used to vacuum bag prepreg, wet layup and thermoplastic composites. The product combines peel ply, perforated film, breather felt, and vacuum-bagging film. The material simplifies applications on vertical mold surfaces, eliminates flaws or loss of porosity caused by overlapping or missing materials in conventional layups and removes in one piece after cure. VACUOPEEL is the same product but permits the user to remove the breather and perforated film but temporarily leave the peel ply in place to protect the cured surface. diatex.gocomp.biz/1

Dieffenbacher GmbH & Co. KG (Eppingen, Germany) introduced what the company described as a new generation of energy-saving presses. The Compress and Compress Plus presses for fiber-reinforced composites reportedly save up to 50 percent of the energy cost typical of conventional hydraulic presses. A new, rapid, short-stroke mold closing design and a new press controller help optimize the process by fine-tuning the forces necessary to process the part, without wasting power. Further, the short-stroke hydraulics requires less fluid, which reduces fluid cooling cost as well. dieffenbacher.gocomp.biz/12

DuPont-Toray Co. Ltd. (Tokyo, Japan) presented two new products developed in collaborative efforts: Its RuBA series of products includes RuBA-S heat/sound insulation materials; RuBA-R, a new nonhalogenated flame-retardant resin; and RuBA-C, a fiber-reinforced thermoplastic composite. Also on offer: Fibra Rod, a new composite rebar replacement, manufactured from Kevlar fiber-reinforced polymer. The nonmagnetic, nonconductive rod has already found use in a nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) facility at RIKEN Genomic Science Center and a building that houses the Earth Simulator Center's super conductor. dupont-toray.gocomp.biz/1

ELKOM (Bad Oeynhausen, Germany) showcased a number of electrically heated platens and preheating systems for presses, molds and thermoforming equipment, based on its patented ...kotherm-Plus energy-saving design concept. The system supplies heat to hot water or hot oil systems, with an optimized heat conduction method that minimizes energy consumption by up to 70 percent, compared to competitive methods, says the company. Platen systems are available for incorporation into a customer's existing system. elkom.gocomp.biz/1

ESI Group (Rungis, France) released the 2006 version of CFD-CADalyzer, a software tool that enables users to perform design-level analysis with a simple, intuitive simulation interface. A complete package, with built-in pre- and post-processors, the software simulates heat and flow transfer and enables comparisons of results over a range of varying geometries and operational conditions. The software's design environment easily integrates into the leading CAD packages and eliminates pitfalls associated with translation between different geometry representations. esi-group.gocomp.biz/2

Expert International GmbH (Bielefeld, Germany) premiered its cutEXPERT minijet, a waterjet-based CAM system designed for prototyping, small runs and lab tests. The system features software developed and refined in-house since 1994. The company's waterjet nozzle reportedly enables cutting of even the most complex contours in composites or other materials. The machine's material feed system accepts roll or sheet material up to 180 cm/70.9 inches wide. expertinternational.gocomp.biz/1

Fiber-Line International BV (Leeuwarden, The Netherlands), the European sales office for Fiber-Line Inc., (Hatfield, Pa.) introduced colored glass-fiber unidirectional tapes (less than 0.125-inch/3.18-mm wide), which can be purchased separately or used to weave multicolored, patterned fabrics, with functional and decorative properties. The tapes feature glass fiber treated with a proprietary water-based colorant that won't fade or abrade away during processing. fiber-lineinc.gocomp.biz/3

Fibertex Nonwovens (Aalborg, Denmark) demonstrated its CompoFlex nonwoven peel ply product, a replacement for release film and breather ply in vacuum bag processing. Developed in conjunction with wind blade producers Vestas and Siemens, CompoFlex combines peel ply, release film, breather and bleeder into one easily managed consumable, says the company. Its softer, microporous surface is designed to permit peel at one-fifth the force needed to remove standard peel ply. fibertex.gocomp.biz/2

Flemings Textiles Ltd. (Kilmarnock, Ayrshire, Scotland, a Scott & Fyfe Group company) reported that 2005 was its best year ever for sales of its composites products, including its Polymat "Hi-Flow" mechanically stitch-bonded structural reinforcement. Other products on the stand included knitted glass fabrics ("T-Rim") and dry, nonwoven unidirectional fabrics. Flemings Textiles products are now available in North America through major distributor North American Composites (Lino Lakes, Minn.). flemingstextiles.gocomp.biz/4, nacomposites.gocomp.biz/1

GlasCraft Inc. (Indianapolis, Ind.) promoted its Spartan II PAC dispensing equipment, designed for resin transfer molding (RTM) and RTM Lite. The system features the Accu-Pressure active sensor, which eliminates the common problem of over-pressurizing the mold; a recirculation function that permits resin and catalyst to cycle to the dispense head, then back to their containers, unmixed, when not being dispensed, to maintain pigment and filler dispersion. Its reusable static mixer can be easily air purged and solvent washed. The touch-screen programmable logic controller (PLC) facilitates catalyst ratio adjustment, for faster injection times, and permits the system to read RFIDs (radio-frequency identification tags) on molds. glascraft.gocomp.biz/4

Gurit (Newport, Isle of Wight, U.K.) held a press conference at its stand to discuss its official launch as a single operating structure that brings together previously separate operating units SP, IMS, Stesalit and Gurit Suprem. While specific product trade names will be retained, the consolidated units will operate as a single entity with a focus on wind, transportation and sport/marine/civil engineering. Expansion of the company's North American facility in Magog, Canada is already underway, and will include a new thermoset prepreg plant. Production at Innsbruck, Austria will be phased out, while other realignments are in the works to eliminate redundancies, says the company, including a probable new plant in China. gurit.gocomp.biz/3

Henkel Corp. (Bay Point, Calif.) demonstrated its Lineguard Hysol meter/mix/dispense unit for two-part epoxies used in aerospace workshops. The system reportedly enables greater flexibility and accuracy in mixing and dispensing small volumes of adhesive. Designed for potting and beading in handheld semi-automated and automated modes, the system features two rotary pumps that deliver accurate product volume independent of product viscosity. Also new: Frekote 900-WB, a room-temperature-curing water-based mold release, which can be used with 250°-cure and 350°-cure epoxy systems. The no-CFC, nonflammable, wipe-on formulation has a five-month shelf life at 77°F/25°C. henkelaero.gocomp.biz/8

Hexcel Composites Ltd. (Dublin, Calif. and Duxford, Cambridge, U.K.), promoted several of its newer technologies: HexMC sheet molding composite is designed for compression molding, which is made with chopped unidirectional prepreg. HexTOOL, based on HexMC and made with a toughened, high-temperature bismaleimide (BMI) resin, is intended for composite tool fabrication. It machines readily after cure, thanks to the quasi-isotropic nature of the randomly oriented prepreg material. Also new: HexWeb CRF, a commercial-grade aluminum honeycomb core with a nonchromium foil treatment, provides the same level of mechanical and corrosion resistance as the previous chromium-treated core. hexcel.gocomp.biz/44

Huntsman Advanced Materials' (Basel, Switzerland and The Woodlands, Texas) products included a two-component flame retardant paste epoxy adhesive - Epibond 1590 FST A/B - that can be used with both metal and thermoplastic substrates, at room or elevated temperature cure, for aerospace interiors. An Italian motor scooter part shown at the stand, made with an epoxy sheet molding compound (SMC), exhibited improved surface finish and lighter part weight, compared to polyester SMC, says the company. Also new: a RenCast product for the foundry industry that enables fabrication of patterns and prototypes with high resistance to abrasion and chemicals. Also new, a patented nanotechnology that adds nano-scale rubber to epoxy for tougher and crack-resistant resins targeted to the wind turbine industry. huntsmanaraldite.gocomp.biz/36

Johns Manville (Denver, Colo.) highlighted four new glass products targeted primarily to automotive applications. MultiStar Mat is a chopped strand mat designed for automotive headliners, providing good mechanical performance and lower overall part weight. MultiStar 267 is an assembled roving product for SMC compounding, enabling better unwinding and chopping characteristics for faster line speeds. StarStran LCF 991 is a long chopped fiber strand for carding/needling and air-laid processes in combination with polypropylene, for automotive headliners and trim products. StarRov 086 is a new glass for weaving, compatible with both polyester and epoxy resins, and intended for multiaxial fabric applications, such as wind turbine blades. jm.gocomp.biz/10

Lantor BV (Veenendaal, The Netherlands) exhibited its range of COREMAT, SORIC and FINISHMAT nonwoven mats used primarily in the marine industry. COREMAT and FINISHMAT are print blocker mats used behind gel coat to prevent print-through of fiberglass fabrics. SORIC is a multifunctional core and infusion medium for resin infusion molding. Thunderbird Yachts and Vanguard Sailboats are two marine manufacturers that use Lantor's products. lantor.gocomp.biz/4

Lanxess AG (Leverkusen, Germany and Pittsburgh, Pa.), a recent spinoff from Bayer Corp., made a splash at the show with its innovative glass fiber technology. The company, which produces only glass fiber and basic thermoplastics for compounded pellets, employs a much less costly "direct chopped technology": fibers are chopped immediately after sizing, skipping all winding steps. The chopped fibers fall into a self-contained silo that becomes a bulk truck trailer when turned on its side, for transport from the glass plant in Belgium to the company's compounding facility in Germany, where a patented pneumatic conveyor combining vacuum and direct air pressure quickly unloads the silo directly into the pelletizing process stream. The low-cost manufacturing method makes it possible to affordably customize fiber dimension and sizing to meet each customer's application needs, says the company. lanxess.gocomp.biz/1

Lectra (Marietta, Ga.) exhibited its ProSpinTechTexST, a plotter-based, single-ply cutting machine, designed for prototyping and low-quantity production. Also presented on the stand was DesignConcept TechTex, a software program that ensures extremely accurate 3-D and 2-D model flattening, regardless of model complexity. This provides designers with a realistic simulation of the final rendering and enables them to analyze technical and economic feasibility before the critical prototype development phase. Cost estimates can be calculated early in development, easing the decision-making process. lectra.gocomp.biz/7

Leybold Vacuum France SA (Les Ulis, Cedex, France) promoted its SOGEVAC Central Vacuum Systems for RTM applications. Since RTM processes sometimes require two vacuum pressure levels, one for closing the mold and an adjustable pressure level for resin injection, this system combines two independent pressure adjustment and delivery units that are powered by a single vacuum pump. The system is available in four configurations: two portable units with casters, each with two 60-liter pressure vessels, and two fixed-position units, each with two 150-liter vessels. leybold.gocomp.biz/1

Noveon Division, Lubrizol Ltd. (Blackley, Manchester, U.K.) added to its additives line the new SOLPLUS D150 dispersing agent, designed for wetting/ dispersion of fillers (e.g., ATH, calcium carbonate), pigments (e.g., carbon black, titanium dioxide and/or silica in epoxy resins), while reducing the resin's viscosity. The company also revealed that it expects to release a family of SOLPLUS de-aerating agents/defoamers/styrene suppressants for polyester and epoxy resins. noveon.gocomp.biz/2

Oxeon AB (Frolunda, Sweden) introduced TeXero unidirectional prepreg tapes, available in carbon, aramid and/or glass fibers as well as more brittle fibers, such as boron. (These are the same tapes used to make the company's TeXtreme tape-woven reinforcement fabrics.) Tapes are available in widths ranging from 20 mm to 50 mm (0.79 inches to 1.97 inches) with areal weights corresponding to the degree of spreading and type of fiber. The tape-making process permits very lightweight tapes to be produced from heavier tow (12K, 24K and 48K). oxeon.gocomp.biz/5

Polystrand Inc. (Montrose, Colo.), at the show for the first time, announced that it is now able to produce laminated structural panels that incorporate its continuous fiber-reinforced thermoplastic prepreg. The panels are intended to be used as skins over polypropylene honeycomb, foam, wood or other core materials, in applications such as load-bearing floors, truck and trailer side panels and cargo containers. Glass fibers, in 0°/90° orientation, form 60 to 70 percent of the panels, with polypropylene resin comprising the remainder. The company also exhibited its ThermoBallistic-H armor panel, made with a combination of E- and S-glass fiber tapes, which the company claims meets National Institute of Justice (NIJ) threat level 3A at a 40 percent savings in material costs. Polystrand reinforcement products are distributed by Composites One (Arlington Hts., Ill.). compositesone.gocomp.biz/23, polystrand.gocomp.biz/3

Porcher Industries (Badinières, France) exhibited its line of PiPreg thermoplastic composites, which feature unidirectional or woven E- and S2-glass, carbon, or aramid fibers impregnated with high-performance thermoplastic resins, such as PEEK, PPS, PEI, TPU and polyamide 12. The reinforcement, resin, fiber orientation and fiber/resin ratio can be tailored to the end-use. PiPreg is available in preconsolidated thermoformable and weldable sheet stock, which can be stored at ambient temperature with no shelf-life limitations. Benefits include an increase in manufacturing speed and the possibility of making prototypes in low quantities. porcher-ind.gocomp.biz/3

Propex Fabrics (Gronau, Germany and Austell, Ga.) highlighted Curv, its self-reinforced polypropylene (PP) thermo- formable composite material. The company produces PP tapes that are assembled into a fabric in a custom machine. The fabric is selectively melted at about 170°C/338°F to create a thermoformable sheet or panel for molding. Ballistics, automotive, sport and leisure and truck panels are the company's major markets, and Samsonite X'Lite hardside luggage is a significant new application, says the company. fabricsandfibers.gocomp.biz/3

Quickstep Technologies Pty. Ltd. (Canning Vale, Western Australia) showcased the company's proprietary mold technology, in which a semi-flexible mold face is supported by a heat transfer fluid. The system enables application of both heat and pressure, eliminating autoclave processing and facilitating rapid molding of high-performance parts. In addition to its centers of excellence at the the University of Manchester's Northwest Composites Centre and at Deakin University (Geelong, Victoria, Australia), the company just signed a letter of intent with the National Composites Center (NCC, Kettering, Ohio) for a wide-ranging collaboration. quickstep.gocomp.biz/3

Reliant Machinery Ltd. (Luton, Bedfordshire, U.K.) launched its new Powerbond HCL Laminating Machine, a laminating and compression system for production of fiber-reinforced thermoplastic panels. The HCL is modular, permitting the company to customize the system at minimal cost, using a variety of standard modules to build heating, compression and cooling zones in a variety of widths, ranging from 600 mm to 3,000 mm (23.6 inches to 118.1 inches). The machines can be tailored to incorporate aramid, carbon and glass fabric or mat, sheet-fed or roll-fed. reliant.gocomp.biz/2

Röchling Engineering Plastics KG (Haren, Germany) exhibited its wide range of thermoset and thermoplastic composite rods, sheets, tubes, profiles, cones and other shapes, made via pultrusion, filament winding, extrusion and compression molding. With 11 manufacturing sites worldwide, the company supplies the transportation, infrastructure, construction, electrical, chemical, signage. roechling-haren.gocomp.biz/1

RocTool (Le Bourget du Lac, France) announced the filing of five new patents on its Cage System tooling and a new collaboration with molding machinery manufacturer Krauss-Maffei (Munich, Germany). The latter will combine Krauss-Maffei's patented LFI (long-fiber injection) process for glass-fiber reinforced polyurethane parts and the Cage System. RocTool and Krauss-Maffei will present the results of the collaboration in mid-2006 with a full-scale demonstration. roctool.gocomp.biz/4

Rohm GmbH & Co. KG's (Darmstadt, Germany) displayed a wealth of products cored with its ROHACELL high-performance PMI foam, including cross-country skis, which Norwegian ski manufacturer Madshus supplied to competitors at the recent Torino Winter Olympics, resulting in 10 gold, 15 silver and 10 bronze medals, and a new super-lightweight carbon/epoxy printing press roller. A project in the works, headed by research consortium Fraunhofer Institute for Structural Durability and System Reliability LBF (Darmstadt, Germany), is a structural health monitoring system that enables acoustic detection of impact delaminations in foam-cored aircraft structures - Rohm is a partner in the project. In light of demand for the product, the company confirmed "firm plans" to increase ROHACELL manufacturing capacity in the near future. rohacell.gocomp.biz/25

Saint-Gobain Vetrotex (Chambery, Cedex, France) launched Uniconform, a 100 percent continuous, mechanically bonded (not stitched, binder-free) glass mat, designed for optimum flexibility and conformability for RTM and injection molding processes. The seamless mat reportedly yields a good surface finish when used under gel coat. Also new: ARcoteX pultruded rebar for concrete reinforcement, and glass veils for anticorrosion applications. Veils include ARcotex-based AR glass veils for acidic and alkaline environments, basalt veil for chemical resistance and C-glass veil for filament winding applications. sgva.gocomp.biz/22

Sovitec (Florange, France) added to its glass microbead offerings with a new bead product the company has dubbed Nanoperl. The very fine glass beads (less than 10 microns diameter) are used to enhance scratch/abrasion resistance and enhance properties such as antitack in gel coats and other coatings. sovitec.gocomp.biz/1

Symbion (Zonhoven, Belgium) was formed to commercialize Vubonite, a two-part, room-temperature-cure, chemically bonded phosphate ceramic (CBPC). The product consists of a powder and liquid that, when mixed, produce an inorganic, nonakaline, acid-rain resistant, fire-resistant IPC (inorganic phosphate cement) resin system. Said to be "absolutely incombustible," the resin maintains its properties to 1000°C/1832°F. It can be used in place of polyester resin systems, reinforced with glass fiber and used to make lightweight structures, such as architectural ornamentation. vubonite.gocomp.biz/1

Tajima GmbH (Winterlingen-Benzingen, Germany), at the JEC for the first time, demonstrated a new preforming process. Essentially combining fiber placement technology with stitching, the company's process centers on a new machine that lays down a single, dry carbon tow (or other fiber) onto a flat table with a computer controlled head; the head then stitches the tows with any type of thread to hold the preform shape together on an underlayment of paper, film, foil or other material. Multiple plies are possible, in any orientation, to form a flat multiaxial preform of any shape with virtually no waste, since the preform shape can be reproduced exactly with the CNC-controlled head. tajima.gocomp.biz/1

Technobasalt (Kiev, Ukraine), in its first appearance at the JEC show, distributed samples of its chopped and continuous basalt fiber, together with literature that compares basalt fiber performance to that of conventional glass. The company's test results show that basalt fiber outperforms glass fiber in maximum, sustained and minimum operating temperatures as well as chemical resistance. technobasalt.gocomp.biz/1

VISTAGY Inc. (Waltham, Mass.) featured the Renault Formula1 race car at its stand. Alan Duerden, CAD support engineer for the Renault team, gave several presentations explaining how VISTAGY's FiberSIM software has assisted his team in developing composite parts for the vehicle, speeding ply layup time by 62 percent. The latest version of the software, FiberSIM 5.1 was released just before the JEC show. vistagy.gocomp.biz/11