JEC Composites 2007 Product Showcase

This year’s Parisian exhibition provides key evidence of the composites industry’s unprecedented breadth and technical sophistication.
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The annual JEC COMPOSITES Show underscored the health of the composites industry and its global expansion: More than 1,000 exhibitors — the largest number ever at a composites trade event — and thousands of composites industry professionals converged on the Paris Expo in Porte de Versailles, Paris, France (April 3-5) for three days of networking, education and composites industry commerce. Organizers called it the most international JEC show on record, reporting that 65 percent of visitors and 70 percent of exhibitors came from outside France.

CT staffers were on hand and found a wealth of new materials and other technical developments on the expanded 40,000m² (430,556 ft²) JEC show floor. Among the headliners at this year’s exhibition were groundbreaking composites applications, particularly in the fields of high-performance motorsports and infrastructure. The show-floor buzz also included announcements of acquisitions, development and/or marketing partnerships and myriad new materials, processing equipment and services, of which the following is a representative sampling.

Advanced Composites Group Ltd. (ACG, Heanor, Derbyshire, U.K.) announced that it will collaborate with GrafTech International Ltd. (Parma, Ohio) to sell GrafTech’s carbon foam block in combination with ACG tooling prepregs on the tool surface. Under another agreement, ACG has launched ACG TB720, a standard-grade epoxy tooling board developed with Huntsman Advanced Materials (The Woodlands, Texas). Also announced: the company’s MTM46 prepreg resin system has been qualified by Columbia Aircraft Mfg. Corp. (Bend, Ore.) for fabrication of Columbia general aviation aircraft.

Aerospace parts manufacturer EADS Composites Atlantic (Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada) highlighted its capabilities, including its environmental simulation laboratory that conducts material testing. The company is a licensee of a new composite molding technology developed by Carbone Forgé (Lentilly, France) and is producing aircraft wheels with comolded metallic inserts. (See entry for Carbon Forgé, below.)

AGY (Aiken, S.C.) released findings from a study it commissioned through the Knowledge Centre – Wind Turbine Materials and Constructions (The Netherlands) that indicated the company’s ZenTron roving can reduce mass by 25 percent, compared to standard E-glass, in vacuum-infused unidirectional spar caps and trailing edge components used on 62.5m/205 ft wind turbine blades (an 11 percent total blade mass reduction). The company also spotlighted new armor applications for its S-2 Glass reinforcements: Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) suits, with a more comfortable and flexible overlapping plate design that allows the wearer greater freedom of movement, and a new CAVCAT vehicle platform that meets higher threat levels, including armor-piercing projectiles.

Airtech Europe (Differdange, Luxembourg) directed attention to its custom-engineered, shaped vacuum bags, designed using CATIA V5 software, and its Vac Valve 425 self-cutting vacuum valves. The company conducted live demonstrations of the resin infusion process and the use of prepregs at its stand, and offered a wide range of new and improved consumable products, including Release All 45 nonsilicone, semipermanent release and Release Ply P45 plain-weave polyester release.

Alcan Composites (Sins, Switzerland) showed its AIREX and BALTEK products, including new AIREX C52 industrial processing foam, which replaces KAPEX C51. With a perforated polyester fleece top layer, the new foam reduces resin consumption during processing while still providing the same adhesion properties with composite skins. In keeping with its two-brand strategy — AIREX and BALTEK balsa cores — the trade name KAPEX has been phased out, says the company.

Aptiform (Chesterfield, U.K.), launched at JEC its new line of self-reinforced polyethylene terephthalate (PET) materials — a PET resin reinforced with PET fibers — joining the self-reinforced polypropylene the company already provides. Aptiform emphasizes that PET is easily painted and bonded and offers weight savings compared to glass-reinforced plastics. Also, because the fiber and the resin are the same material, recycling is easier.

Arkema (Paris La Defense, France) showcased its acrylic block copolymers, dubbed Nanostrength, which are used in formulation of epoxy resins and adhesives. The company states that the copolymers provide excellent toughening without compromising the epoxy formulation’s thermal performance or solvent resistance.

Asamer Basaltic Fibers GmbH (Ohlsdorf, Austria) introduced for the first time anywhere its ASA.TEC brand of basalt fibers. The company is part of the larger Asamer Group, which owns and operates more than 20 quarries located throughout Europe from which basalt rock can be sourced. This, says the manufacturer, allows it to customize chemical compositions in the fiber to meet specific application goals. Asamer also says it sources the fibers in cooperation with the Ukrainian firm TZI.

Ashland Performance Materials, Composite Polymers (Dublin, Ohio) introduced to Europe its POLARIS line of resins for cast marble, solid surface and engineered stone applications. Polaris, already available in the U.S., is said to offer low water absorption, low color and high filler loading capacity. Used in solid surface applications, products produced with POLARIS resins meet the ANSI Z124.6 standard.

Axel Plastic Research Laboratories’ (Woodside, N.Y.) wide range of new products included XTEND XTR, a solvent-based, wipe-on/wipe-off sealer designed to produce a high-gloss, streak-free surface with high optimum chemical resistance and maximum mold protection, suitable for use with low-VOC resins. Also new: MoldWiz WB-2700 release for filament winding processes, a silicone-free emulsion of fatty acids, polyolefins, and surfactants in a water vehicle; INT-DCP220 internal mold release, designed to resolve poor release and maintain molds in clean condition longer, eliminating processing difficulties associated with molding DCPD (dicyclopentadiene) resin; and XTEND 19CMS, for closed molding and difficult release situations in which excessive styrene and monomer residue buildup forces production to stop for cleaning.

Axson Technologies (Paris, France) debuted Lab 975, an epoxy tooling block for modeling designed to provide a smooth surface finish that is compatible with all epoxy paints. Also on offer: Epolam 2090, an infusion system that features an epoxy resin with GC1 190 gel coat, designed for the production of large, high-temperature-resistant molds in marine, aerospace and energy applications; Epolam 2500/2501, an Airbus-certified resin for the rapid repair of interior composite fittings (e.g., air ducts or sandwich panel skins); and Adekit A180, a stiff epoxy adhesive with temperature resistance up to 150°C/302°F, designed primarily for the structural bonding of engine components, including carbon fiber parts to metal parts.

Bayer MaterialScience (Leverkusen, Germany) displayed a host of parts and components at its stand made with the company’s BayPreg polyurethanes. Products included a marine dashboard, a hardhat, a loudspeaker and a snow scooter. The company also has announced that it is combining its global polyurethane business under the umbrella brand of BaySystems. Peter Vanacker will head the BaySystems unit.

BITEAM AB (Stockholm, Sweden), a manufacturer of 3-D weaving technology, announced its participation in an EU-funded project called MOJO (modular joints for composite aircraft components). The program will develop a modular system for aircraft construction, using advanced composite materials profiles. The goal is to reduce aircraft weight by 15 percent. The company’s 3-D weaving technology will be used to make profiled carbon performs. Project partners include EADS Military Air Systems, Eurocopter and Dassault Aviation as well as the Germany Aerospace Assn.

BYK-Chemie (Wesel, Germany and Wallingford, Conn.) introduced BYK-C 8000, a polymeric coupling agent formulated to improve mechanical strength in filled resins. Because filled parts tend to crack at the filler/resin interface, this new agent forms chemical bonds between the resin and filler particle, enhancing flexural, tensile and compressive strength.

Among the most interesting processes highlighted at the show was one that allows for the insertion of metal components in a carbon fiber part, developed by Carbone Forgé (Lentilly, France). The molding method uses a proprietary tooling technology that employs a compression press and permits strategic fiber orientation. On display was an 10-inch/254-mm diameter aircraft wheel, with comolded steel rims and other metallic hardware that was made by EADS Composites Atlantic (Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, Canada), which licenses the Carbone Forgé process. The wheel features long-fiber carbon reinforcement provided by Toray Industries (Tokyo, Japan) with a thermoplastic PPS resin, although Carbone Forgé says any carbon fiber/resin combination can be used in the process.

The emulsion polymers and PVOH business of Celanese Corp. (Dallas, Texas) exhibited its broad range of polymer emulsions, polyvinyl alcohols and starches used to formulate efficient glass fiber sizing in the production of chopped strand mats (CSM) and in secondary binder applications. The company presented new data that shows synergies when these technologies are combined in CSM applications and highlighted its sizing binder Vinamul 8852, a highly modified vinyl acetate reportedly compatible with a wide range of sizing additives and with styrenated resins in the production of gun rovings, panel rovings and rovings for CSM input glass. The binder is said to deliver fast wet out in styrenated resins, offering the right balance between strand integrity and choppability.

Composult Composite Consulting AB’s (Solna, Sweden) manager Håkan Johansson presented a technical paper on a new, optimized system for placing inserts in foam-cored sandwich panels. A patent-pending milling tool creates a minimal cavity that is filled with adhesive to accept a panel fastener. The tool is faster than traditional drilling, does not damage the sandwich skin and simplifies design, says Johansson.

In the Cytec Engineered Materials Inc. (Tempe, Ariz.) stand, a head-turning Bugatti Veyron — priced at more than $1 million (USD) and touted as the world’s fastest production car — showcased a composite body produced using Cytec prepregs and its SURFACE MASTER 202 Series second-generation surfacing films. Designed for automotive apps, the latter fill/cover surface defects (pinholes, surface cracks and other imperfections) in composite part surfaces more thoroughly than previous FM-series films, reducing postmold prep for prime/paint. Also, the 202 films have a 30-day shelf life (twice as long as FM films).

Delcam Plc (Small Heath, Birmingham, U.K.) emphasized the shorter lead times, greater profitability and increased product quality said to be available to molders via the company’s range of CAD/CAM software, including PowerSHAPE CAD and PowerMILL CAM, the latter enabling conversion of part designs created in PowerSHAPE into machining data for milling master models, plugs and/or prototypes.

Diatex (St. Genis Laval, France), a technical fabric manufacturer, has been supplying vacuum infusion and resin transfer molding (RTM) consumables since 1991. VACUOPEEL, a single product that combines a peel ply, a perforated bagging film and a breather/bleeder felt, is now available for the boatbuilding industry. After cure, the breather and film layers can be removed, leaving the peel ply in place to protect the part during storage and/or transport.

DSM Composite Resins (Schaffhausen, Switzerland) introduced Altac E-coat, a low-styrene (35 percent) vinyl ester marine barrier coat that is said to protect against osmosis print-through. It can be used in open- or closed-mold processes and applies and cures like a gel coat, which allows the back-up laminate to be applied in 60 to 90 minutes. Also new: TURANE thermosetting urethanes, a resin family that reportedly cures quickly and can be used in closed-mold, hand lamination, pultrusion, filament winding and casting applications to provide a fiber/matrix interface that is said to be particularly resistant to moisture. According to the company, demolded parts can be post-cured unsupported.

Eastman Machine Co. (Buffalo, N.Y.) showcased a new cutting technology it calls M9000 Static Table. The machine marks, cuts, drills and punches any flexible material, both dry and in prepreg form, for lower overall operating costs thanks to labor savings and less waste. At operating speeds of up to 60 ips (1.52 m/sec), the system maintains accuracy of ±0.015 inches (±0.38 mm). EasiCut plotter motion control software enables users to preprogram all cutting and nesting parameters.

EconCore (Leuven, Belgium) announced a joint venture with steelmaker Arcelor Mittal to create SteelThermHex NV, a firm that will produce ThermHex sandwich panels with EconCore honeycomb and steel skins. Granta Design and EconCore are also cooperating to develop software for sandwich material selection and optimization. The company also announced a new capitalization plan that will allow it to make honeycomb cores as wide as 1.4m/4.6 ft at speeds up to 10m/min (3 ft/min).

EMS-GRILTECH (Ems, Switzerland), subsidiary of EMS-CHEMIE, got some attention at the show with the introduction of Grilon MS, a matrix-soluble auxiliary yarn spun from low-melting phenoxy copolymers. Described as an thermal adhesive in yarn form, this product is compatible with epoxy resins and can be used for weaving or braiding, to stabilize dry reinforcing structures such as unidirectional fabrics and noncrimp fabrics or as a stitchyarn for tailored fiber placement. It liquefies at 120°C/49°F and during cure dissolves into the host matrix, which reportedly enhances the part’s mechanical properties.

Specialty textile manufacturer Fabric Development Inc. (Quakertown, Pa.) revealed its purchase of TCR Composites (Ogden, Utah), a molder and maker of aerospace prepregs.

Literally the biggest thing at the show was a carbon fiber bridge manufactured by FiberCore Europe (Rotterdam, The Netherlands) and destined in early May for the Dutch town of Dronton. This 24.5m long by 5m wide (80.4 ft by 16.4 ft) structure weighs 12 metric tonnes (26,455 lb) features sandwich construction, with a large, corrugated honeycomb core between composites skins that consumed 3 metric tonnes (6,614 lb) of commercial grade Panex 35 carbon fiber from Zoltek Inc. (St Louis. Mo.). Fiber sizing and vinyl ester resin for the bridge project were provided by DSM Composite Resins AG (Schaffhausen, Switzerland). When load tested with 75 metric tonnes (nearly 164,400 lb) of weight, the bridge showed deflection of only 64 mm (2.52 inches). FiberCore claims the cost of the carbon fiber bridge is competitive with concrete at nine times less weight.

FibroComp, a long-fiber composite based on Fibroline France Sarl’s (Ecully, France) self-named dry impregnation process, was introduced at JEC. The process uses an alternating electrical field to impregnate chopped rovings, nonwovens or fabrics with either powdered thermoplastic or thermoset resins. Products include FibroComp-G, a thermoplastic matrix composite reinforced with chopped glass fibers, and FibroComp-NF, a matrix reinforced with natural fibers, each available with fiber fractions ranging from 10 percent to 60 percent, in roll or sheet form.

At its stand, Flow Europe (Bretten, Germany,), a subsidiary of waterjet machinery manufacturer Flow International (Kent, Wash.), emphasized the Integrated Flying Bridge for abrasivejet and waterjet cutting. It features hardened and ground precision linear ways with precision bearing blocks and preloaded, reciprocating ballscrews. The X-Y assembly is separated from the catcher tank to ensure that no thermal distortion affects the work piece. It comes with the Windows-based FlowMaster control system.

Gurit (Wattwil, Switzerland) displayed a hood molded for the Aston Martin DB9 sports coupe, using Gurit’s trademarked SPRINT resin film infusion system. The company introduced ST70, a new laminating resin in the SPRINT series, with a reduced cure temperature (70°F/11°C). The product is said to have low void content in volume vacuum-bag-only processing of boat hulls, decks and bulkheads. For wind blade production, a new all-in-one, in-mold (comolded) surfacing product, SPRINT IPT (Integrated Primer Technology), incorporates a toughened, abradable surfacing film that replaces multicomponent surfacing solutions, providing a directly paintable surface.

Henkel Corp. (Düsseldorf, Germany and Bay Point, Calif.) used the show to highlight several new technologies, including its new chemistry platform for structural aerospace composites, based on benzoxazine resins, for high temperature and hot/wet applications. Also introduced: Hysol EA 9658, a very high-toughness nacelle film adhesive for use in bonding honeycomb in high-temperature environments.

At the Hexcel (Duxford, Cambridge, U.K. and Dublin, Calif.) stand, the carbon fiber/epoxy engine frame for the Lamborghini Murciélago roadster was on display, fabricated by automotive fabrication specialist ATR Group (Colonella, Italy). The company announced the rebranding of its carbon fibers under the new HexTow trademark and premiered its HexPly XF3, a new surfacing film, and Polyspeed Grid Laminates, woven reinforcements for large composite structures, such wind turbine blades.

Huntsman Advanced Materials (The Woodlands, Texas) showed a Pescarolo LeMans-series race car, designed and built by legendary racer Henri Pescarolo — a multiple LeMans winner and holder of the record for the fastest speed on the famed Mulsanne Straight. Pescarolo used prepregs made with Huntsman epoxy as well as the company’s Araldite epoxy adhesives to construct the all-composite sports car.

Johns Manville (Denver, Colo. and Bad Homburg, Germany) exhibited several new products, including ThermoFlow 768, a densified chopped strand specially developed for extrusion processing with high-temperature polymers, such as PPS, PEI and PEEK, in demanding applications like car engine throttle bodies, hot water pumps and electrical sensors. Also on display: StarRov LFT plus 474, a roving with a unique sizing for long fiber thermoplastic applications.

Lectra (Marietta, Ga.), a manufacturer of industrial cutting devices, introduced VectorTechTexFX, designed for the cutting of industrial-grade fabrics. It features new piloting software that the company says can help reduce material consumption and optimize markers and cutting quality. Also from Lectra is DesignConcept TechTex, a 2-D/3-D conception and industrialization software package dedicated to industrial fabrics. The software assists users in analysis of product feasibility, finished product quality and cost. It also can be associated with pattern design, marker-making and specification software.

Lorenz Kunststofftechnik GmbH (Wallenhorst-Hollage, Germany) is a major European producer of sheet molding compound (SMC) and bulk molding compound (BMC) materials. In addition to an array of auto lamp reflectors and other automotive products, the company displayed its new Dura-Garden decorative molded fence product, a fiberglass/polyester construction aimed at replacing cast iron or steel fencing.

The Mäder Group (Maroeuil, France) reports that it spent three years developing Giralithe PETRA GL 0006, an M0 Class polymer concrete that does not burn or produce smoke when in contact with fire. The company says the material is based on an organic-mineral grafting technology in which the surfaces of mineral filler and granulate become organic, making them compatible with polyester resin. The material is being marketed into construction and roadway applications to produce products like split gutters that until now were inappropriate for polymer concrete because of smoke concerns.

Magnum Venus Plastech – M.V.P. (Clearwater, Fla.) announced at its stand that Charles Tur will join the company as a resin transfer molding (RTM)/infusion technical specialist. Tur has more than 20 years of experience in the composites industry and, says M.V.P., is a recognized RTM expert. The company also announced the addition of P.J. Hobbs Industries Ltd. as a distributor in New Zealand.

A new Cyclone multiaxis filament winding machine was featured at McClean Anderson’s (Schofield, Wis.) stand. Controlled by the company’s Flexwind software, the one-, two-, or three-spindle machine is completely customizable, features 3- or 4-axis computer-controlled motion, employs all-digital AC servo technology and has a modular horizontal carriage bed, available in 3m/10 ft increments.

Nanoledge (Sophia Antipolis, France) brought to JEC a Look 595 carbon fiber bicycle frame made with its carbon nanotubes. The company reports a variety of new data in its research of components made with nanotubes vs. those made without, including increased resistance to crack growth (30 percent), greater compression and impact strength (50 and 22 percent, respectively) as well as an improvement in flexural strength (50 percent). The company adds that the new frame is being evaluated for performance right now (emphasis on delamination and fatigue), with weight savings evaluation to follow.

Nidaplast Honeycombs (Thiant, France) introduced Nidaplast 8RI, an extruded polypropylene honeycomb material designed for the infusion molding of large parts, such as wind turbine blades, boat hulls, bulkheads, decks and swimming pool shells. A thermobonded, reinforced-plastic film makes the honeycomb impermeable to resin during infusion. Further, infusion flow in the mold reportedly is optimized through the addition of interlaminar flow media on each side of the honeycomb. Nidaplast also has completed its structural “predimensioning” tools for Magics, its finite element analysis (FEA) software.

Nord Composites (Condé- Folie, France) introduced a new tooling resin, Norester RM 2000, an unsaturated polyester resin for composite molds intended for composite parts. The firm is a custom, niche formulator of specialty polyester resins (including fire- and chemical-resistant formulations), and polyester and acrylic bonding resins.

Owens Corning (OC, Toledo, Ohio) introduced PerforMax HR 562 and PerforMax SP 798 chopped glass strand (maximum 3-mm/0.12-inch length). HR 562 is designed for use with polyphenylene sulfide (PPS) in plumbing and hot water contact applications. SP 798 is sized for liquid crystal polymer (LCP) and PPS in high-heat (up to 400°C/752°F) computer and electronics applications. During JEC’s Construction Forum, OC highlighted its collaboration with Petrofisa do Brasil Ltda. (Mandirituba, Brazil) to produce filament-wound utility poles, using OC’s Type 30 SE1200 single-end roving with a polyester resin. Destined for the South American market, the poles are said to be two to four times lighter than wood poles, with three times the service life.

Polystrand Inc. (Montrose, Colo.) displayed its continuous fiber-reinforced thermoplastic prepreg tapes, including its newest product, Tri-Ply tape. Arranged in three layers with fibers in a 0°/90°/0° orientation, the balanced arrangement of reinforcements enables the tape to lay flat during processing. The tape weighs only 29.4 oz/yd², significantly lighter than standard three-layer tapes, says the company.

Porcher Industries (Le Grand Lemps, France) showcased its Pi preg thermoplastic composite sheet material, which combines woven fabrics made from either carbon, E-glass, S-2 Glass or aramid fibers with any thermoplastic resin system. The product is customizable to customer requirements, for a wide range of applications.

PPG Industries (Pittsburgh, Pa.) introduced several new products, including TufRov 4510 continuous-strand glass roving, targeted for long fiber technology (LFT), particularly long-glass/polyamide end products. Manufactured at the company’s facilities in Wigan, U.K., and Chester, S.C., the roving reportedly experiences minimal sizing rub-off at contact points during processing and offers improved hydrolysis resistance in polyamide compounds.

Pultrex Ltd. (Colchester, Essex, U.K.) displayed pultrusion, filament winding and pullwinding machine technology, which it has offered since 1974. The company is currently involved with a program in collaboration with several industry partners to convert unidirectional thermoplastic prepreg into off-axis sheet material for structural applications — machines should be available in early 2008.

Quickstep Technologies Pty. Ltd. (North Coogee, Western Australia) and mold release systems supplier Zyvax Inc. (Boca Raton, Fla., 1120) announced a business alliance. The pair will develop and promote composites production techniques that will combine Quickstep’s patented composites manufacturing process with Zyvax’s tool preparation products. Under the terms of the initial five-year agreement, Zyvax will supply tool preparation and mold release products to all Quickstep locations, including pilot production facilities, for use in testing and demonstrations.

RocTool (Le Bourget du Lac, France and Atlanta, Ga.) announced a breakthrough that it says improves resin transfer molding (RTM) cycle times using the company’s CAGE SYSTEM inductive mold heating technology. At its stand, the company displayed a reduced-scale car floor panel RTM’d using the system in a two-minute cycle — a target cycle time the company hopes will speed composites migration into automotive manufacturing. RocTool also announced a cooperative agreement with automotive parts molder Visteon Group (Van Buren Township, Mich.) to adapt the CAGE SYSTEM for the latter’s injection molding processes.

Röhm GmbH (Darmstadt, Germany), a part of Degussa’s High Performance Polymers business unit, showcased a variety of composite technologies and products featuring Rohm’s ROHACELL PMI (polymethacrylimide) foam core. In the spotlight: The company introduced its finite element analysis (FEA) service, offered by the group in Darmstadt to help customers design their parts with ROHACELL. Since the show, the company also has announced that it will open a new manufacturing facility for ROHACELL in the U.S.

Saint-Gobain Technical Fabrics (Zele, Belgium) released a new line of fine woven glass fabrics for use in molding recreational products, particularly in the windboard and surfboard markets. CF-8522 is a twisted roving fabric; CF-1522G and CF-7533-G are heat-cleaned, glass-clear, silane-finished fiberglass fabrics.

Saint-Gobain Vetrotex (Chambéry, France) introduced 979, a new high-performance chopped strand, available in 0.125-inch, 0.25-inch and 0.50-inch (3.18-mm, 6.35-mm and 12.7-mm) lengths. The fiber’s sizing is specifically formulated for maximum compatibility with polyester and vinyl ester resins used in bulk molding compounds (BMCs) to compression mold and injection mold a variety of parts, including auto headlamp reflectors and valve covers, and electrical junction boxes.

Scott Bader Co. Ltd. (Wollaston, U.K.) introduced Crestacoat 5000PA, a barrier coat designed to create an ultrasmooth gloss finish in FRP surface-critical FRP applications. In moldmaking processes, this barrier coat can be applied behind the gel coat to improve mold surface quality. A 1-mm/0.04-inch thick barrier coat reportedly reduces fiber pattern and orange peel effects. The product’s urethane acrylate resin reportedly ensures interlaminar adhesion properties, making it suitable for complex parts with sharp corners, and it reduces voids, cracking and prerelease in parts with sharp radii. Also on display: new Crystic Crestapol 1200 series resins (sold in Europe only, for now) that offer rapid cure and high filler capacity yet deliver good toughness.

Surface Generation Ltd. (Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, U.K.) touted reconfigurable pin tooling products: its low-pressure, Near-net-shape Pin Tooling, which provides an adjustable blocking structure on which tool surfaces may be formed with putties, and its Subtractive Pin Tooling mechanism, which enables rapid creation of net-shape tools for compression and injection molding and RTM. Designed for use with large, short-run parts, the tooling concepts reportedly reduce tooling leadtime by up to 90 percent and time to market by 40 percent.

Technobell Ltd. (Harrow, U.K.) is a producer of glass-reinforced polymer pipes as well as pipe manufacturing equipment. The company showed its SJM (sleeve joining), OGM (off line grinding) and SGM (sleeve grooving) machines for producing and joining composite pipes.

Telene (Drocourt, France) presented Reinforced Telene, a new grade of its Telene pDCPD (polydicyclopentadiene) resin product reinforced with mineral fiber and adapted for use with in-mold coatings, for reinforced reaction injection molding (RRIM) of large parts, such as swimming pools and truck components. The product offers higher modulus, lower CTE and greater impact resistance than parts that are molded from the neat resin.

Top Glass SpA (Osnago, Italy) displayed its range of pultruded profiles. One is the company’s line of tapered fiberglass lighting poles, up to 13.6m/44.6 ft tall. Also on the stand was Top Glass partner Fulcrum Composites (Midland, Mich., 1312), the producer of composites tube and rod products (including threaded rod) made with Top Glass’ thermoplastic polyurethane resin. The company introduced its moderately priced sandwich panel products, which combine a proprietary thermoplastic foam core and custom skins to form a finished panel that can be that can be postformed into curved shapes.

Software supplier VISTAGY Inc.’s (Waltham, Mass.) stand featured a Formula 1 car from the ING Renault team. ING’s chief designer Bob Bell discussed how VISTAGY’s FiberSIM software accelerated composite component design time by 17 percent, reduced part count, increased production consistency and reduced overall part layup time by more than 60 percent.