CW Blog

IACMI Winter 2020 Meeting

 

The Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI, Knoxville, Tenn., U.S.), held its winter membership meeting in Dayton, Ohio, U.S. January 21-23 and provided an update on activities of the public-private US Department of Energy consortium, which works to accelerate material and processing technologies for composites manufacturing.

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Composites Index ends year on production boost

 

The Composites Index closed 2019 with a December reading of 49.2. Readings during the second half of 2019 averaged 48.5, representing a mild contraction in the industry’s activity level. Index readings above 50 indicate expanding activity, while values below 50 indicate contracting activity. The further away a reading is from 50, the greater the change in activity. Gardner Intelligence’s review of the December data found that the Index was supported by an expansionary, six-month high reading for production. This boost to the Index was offset by a sharp contraction in backlog activity. Employment, supplier deliveries, new orders and exports all reported mildly contractions activity levels, thus having little impact on the Index, which is calculated as an unweighted average of these six components.

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CFRP preform technology is fast, flexible, efficient

In the ongoing quest to make carbon fiber composites more affordable and better suited for high-volume automotive production, Teijin Carbon Europe GmbH, a Teijin Group company (Wuppertal, Germany) has developed a process it calls part-via-preform (PvP). Specifically designed to meet the needs of the automotive industry, PvP is a method for rapidly creating near-net-shape preforms using binder-modified carbon fiber rovings. Preforms are subsequently infused with epoxy or polyurethane resins and formed via resin transfer molding (RTM) or high-pressure RTM (HP-RTM). When combined with RTM/HP-RTM, the process is said to optimize material use, reduce waste, offer high levels of design flexibility, use commonly available equipment, produce both structural and aesthetic (automotive Class A) parts and reduce production steps, labor, waste and costs compared to manufacturing with other fabrics or prepregs. Presently, Teijin is only selling finished parts made via the PvP process rather than licensing the technology itself.

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Diving deeper into composite processes

 

I have a second job. I’m a martial arts instructor and spend a lot of time thinking about the best ways to work with students to fine-tune details in their technique. I often see students reach a level of understanding and find themselves stuck, not really growing or making new progress. At this point, breakthroughs and improvements usually happen after completely dissecting something the student already thinks they know and starting over at the beginning with an open, receptive mind — a concept that in my training we call “beginner’s mind.”

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Advancing thermoplastic composites and RTM for Clean Sky 2 in Spain

 

The EURECAT Centro Tecnológico de Catalunya (EURECAT Technology Centre Catalonia, Barcelona, Spain) is a private, nonprofit R&D organization with 11 facilities, 650 employees and 50 million euros in annual revenues. “It is the second largest R&D center in Spain,” explains Angel Lagraña Hernandez, program director for the aeronautics and space market at EURECAT. He explains that part of EURECAT’s revenue is from the Catalan government and of the remainder, half must come from private companies — mostly small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) — while the other half may be public, such as the European Union-funded Clean Sky 2 program. “We now have 18 Clean Sky projects,” notes Lagraña, “which we were awarded purely on the basis of competitive submissions in response to calls for proposals.”

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