National Composites Week is born
National Composites Week will be held Aug. 26-30, celebrating the ways that composite materials and composites manufacturing contribute to today’s manufacturing landscape.
#braiding #outofautoclave #autoclave
We like to think of the composites industry as one large, cohesive manufacturing enterprise that revolves around the design, tooling and fabrication of fiber-reinforced polymer structures. In truth, however, the massive fiber, resin and process diversity of the composites industry, combined with the myriad requirements of different end markets, makes the composites industry actually an aggregation of several smaller industries (aerocomposites, autocomposites, wind composites, marine composites, etc.).
For instance, let’s say you did not know anything about composite materials or manufacturing, and I took you to a facility making boat hulls for recreational yachts. You would likely see some sprayup work, infusion of large structures, extensive use of glass fiber, vacuum bags, resin lines and a lot of manual labor.
Now, let’s say I took you to a facility making fuselage structures for a large commercial aircraft. You would see massive automated fiber placement (AFP) machines, extensive use of carbon fiber prepreg, huge autoclaves, large machining centers and relatively little manual labor (compared to the boat hull facility). Now, would you know that both facilities enjoy membership in the composites industry? I submit that the answer would be “no.”
So, each of us comes to the larger composites industry from a different perspective, skewed toward the goals and expectations of our customers. But we are united by a material that is fast-evolving and making a meaningful impact on how the world thinks about the things it makes.
Considering this dynamic, my next question is this: Outside of trade shows, how often do we — either as an industry, or as companies in the industry — pause to celebrate what we do and how we serve our communities?
With this in mind, braiding specialist A&P Technology decided to create a new initiative designed to shine a light on the composites industry, and to help the entire composites supply chain pause to celebrate its place in the industry. A&P approached Hexcel and CompositesWorld with the idea and together, we are launching National Composites Week, and it will be held Aug. 26-30.
The goal of National Composites Week is simple: Encourage manufacturers from throughout the composites supply chain — raw material suppliers, convertors, designers, toolmakers, fabricators, educators, students — to celebrate and bring attention to the myriad ways that composite materials and composites manufacturing contribute to the products and structures that shape the manufacturing landscape today.
Throughout the five-day National Composites Week celebration, participants will be encouraged to use social media, traditional media and in-person events to shed light on their operations, capabilities and products. Participants will be encouraged to host an open house, reach out to national and local media outlets or reach out to local schools and universities to draw attention to the value of composites in general and the importance of composites manufacturing to the community in particular.
CompositesWorld will participate, and we would like you to join us. Your participation can range from the simple (Instagram/Twitter/Facebook outreach; letter to editor of local paper) to the complex (in-person event). What you do and how you do it are entirely up to you.
CW, A&P Technology and Hexcel have launched a website — www.NationalCompositesWeek.com — that provides additional information about the event and provides a Host Guide and other documents you can download to help guide your participation. This site will also become the focal point of the National Composites Week celebration; we will post here logos of participating companies, photos, video, social media outreach and other examples we gather of National Composites Week events.
I look forward to seeing how you celebrate National Composites Week with us.
Lightweight, hard and stable at high temperatures, CMCs are emerging from two decades of study and development into commercial applications.
Applications aren't as demanding as airframe composites, but requirements are still exacting — passenger safety is key.
Fast-reacting resins and speedier processes are making economical volume manufacturing possible.