Preview: Composites 2011

The annual ACMA event returns to Florida, with a keynote look at composites from a military point of view.
#outofautoclave #cuttingtools #sustainability


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After taking its 2010 show to Las Vegas, Nev., the American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA, Arlington, Va.) is hosting COMPOSITES 2011, its annual trade show and conference, in sunny, warm Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Feb. 2-4 at the Greater Ft. Lauderdale Convention Center. As it does each year, ACMA’s show features a mix of conference sessions, keynotes, networking sessions, awards and exhibitions.

ACMA is kicking off the show this year with another high-profile keynote speaker. U.S. Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal (ret.), former commander of U.S. and International Forces in Afghanistan, will speak on Wednesday, Feb. 2, 1:45 to 2:30 pm. McChrystal is expected to share insight, experience and stories that will help composite companies understand the importance of openness, teamwork and forward thinking. He also will address use of composite materials in military applications. The day ends with the annual Opening Welcome Reception, sponsored by resin supplier Reichhold Inc. (Research Triangle Park, N.C.) at the Hilton Ft. Lauderdale Marina, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

The show’s second keynote address is scheduled form 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, Feb. 3 and open to all attendees. At CT press time, the second speaker had not yet been determined. The exhibit hall opens Thursday as well, from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and features more than 200 exhibitors representing all aspects of the composites manufacturing supply chain, from resins to tooling to fiber.

The annual awards lunch starts at noon on Thursday and features winners from one of the show’s biggest attractions: the Award for Composites Excellence (ACE) and Pinnacle Product Showcase and Competition, with products in several categories, including Creative Design, Innovation in Green, Process Innovation, Equipment Innovation and Sustainability. Winning products will be on display in the exhibit hall.

Thursday evening, look for networking receptions, sponsored by distributor Composites One (Arlington Hts., Ill.), emphasizing cast polymers, emerging markets, pultrusion, infrastructure/corrosion, building and construction, and international business. Composites One and closed molding systems developer Magnum Venus Products (MVP, Clearwater, Fla.) will bring their closed molding road show to Ft. Lauderdale, repeating a demonstration of MVP’s new Flex Molding Process, which made its debut at the IBEX Show in September (see CT’s postshow review under "Editor's Picks," at right).


Papers, education sessions

Education sessions and technical papers are being presented throughout all three days of the show, starting Wednesday morning and finishing Friday afternoon.

Broad education topics include design and engineering, business strategy, traditional and emerging markets, green composites, manufacturing, materials, regulation and legislation, and cast polymers. Notable presentation topics will include lightweight boat fabrication, robotic trimming, gel coat repair, mold release selection, resin transfer molding (RTM) and light RTM, plus sessions devoted to fiberglass sizing, control of combustible dust, the issue ofr styrene exposure, and techniques for lifecycle analysis. Additionally, there will be a presentation outlining the U.S. Department of Energy’s approach to wind power.

Technical papers will deal with a variety of issues related to design and engineering, green composites, manufacturing, traditional and emerging markets, materials and pultrusion. Notable areas of investigation will include collaborative engineering, vacuum infusion of complex shapes, reducing the flammability of cellulosic fibers, styrene-free resins, bio-composites, bond line read-through, waterjet cutting, epoxy prepregs with bio-based curing agents, the influence of glass on part design and performance, and evaluation of high temperature for pultruded composites.