CW Blog

Composite Advantage (Dayton, OH, US) recently announced the completion of two new FRP bridge projects employing the company’s FiberSPAN FRP composite deck. The supplier has been developing lightweight, high-strength, cost-effective FRP products for structurally demanding applications and corrosive environments since 2005.

In October, Composite Advantage announced that a 143-year-old wrought iron bowstring arch-truss bridge in London, Ontario was given a new deck. In 2017, the City of London, Ontario launched a $7.9 million project to remove, dismantle and rehabilitate Blackfriars Bridge – Ontario’s oldest working crossing. Concrete combined with current traffic loads proved too heavy for the historic structure. London-based Dillon Consulting (London, Ontario, Canada) and the City of London selected Composite Advantage’s fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) FiberSPAN deck following research and study of the product’s performance on two Ottawa vehicle bridges. 

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CAMX 2018 offered tons of insights materials, processes, tools and innovations for the composites industry. CW was treated to an upclose peek at a tool used in creation of a part for the carbon fiber wing of Boeing’s (Chicago, IL, US) 777X airliner. Cincinnati Inc.’s (Harrison, OH, US) additive manufacturing product and sales manager Rick Neff was kind enough to spend some time walking us through the company’s additively manufactured trim tool that it created for Boeing – a tool that happens to hold the record for the world’s largest 3D printed tool. In this video, Neff explains the creation of the tool and also how Boeing uses it for laying up the carbon fiber wing tip for the 777X airplane.

 

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I’ve showcased a lot of companies that offer automation solutions for composites manufacturing, including those in my 2015 article on turnkey manufacturing systems and another list of companies in my print articles and blog series on Automated Preforming. One company I haven’t yet covered is Schmidt & Heinzemann (Bruchsal, Germany). Sara Black wrote about the company’s automated bonding system in a post-JEC blog earlier this year. But my focus here is the company’s approach to automated preforming, which it claims produces complex 3D preforms with short cycle times and reproducible high quality.


SOURCE: Schmidt & Heinzemann

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One of the highlights from CAMX 2018 was a video that gave attendees a glimpse of the future through the eyes of the composites industry. It gives a great overview of how composites have the potential to continue improving our lives in so many areas from improving aging infrastructure to advancing transportation to renewable energy to aerospace. The video features Dave Cooper, VP, Glass Reinforcements at Owens Corning (Toledo, OH, US) and Leon Garoufalis, president & COO at Composites One (Arlington Heights, IL, US)  discussing composites applications, innovations, sustainability, growth and the future of the industry. 

 

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A race seems to be underway to develop stronger, lighter and more cost effective pressure vessels that can withstand the extremely cold temperatures of rocket fuels. In the past, using composites for the storage of cryogenic liquid fuel – liquid hydrogen, liquid oxygen, liquid methane – has been met with concern revolving around the potential for leaks, due to microcracking of traditional carbon/epoxy composite laminates at extremely low temperatures. A leap forward with the technology seems to be underway. 

In July it was reported that Ingersoll Machine Tools (Rockford, IL, US) has created the world’s largest fiber placement machine – 51 feet tall, 136 feet long and 43 feet wide – for Blue Origin (Kent,  WA, US) that will be used to manufacture composite cryogenic rocket fuel tanks as well as payload fairings. 

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