CW Blog

This week, CW is reporting live from the show floor at CAMX 2019, held at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, Calif., U.S.

Each day of the show, we produce a daily newspaper, the Show Daily, with the latest news, events, and exhibit information from the show. Not at the show? No problem. We’ll also post links to the Show Daily here.

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Rocket module manufactured with in-situ consolidation survives first flight test

 

On the frigid morning of March 4, 2019, at the Swedish Esrange Space Center north of the Arctic Circle, Ralf Engelhardt, research associate at the Chair of Carbon Composites at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), was waiting for a rocket to launch. This rocket, part of the REXUS program (Rocket Experiments for University Students), jointly managed by the German, Swedish and European space agencies, contained a carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) module that Engelhardt and his team had spent more than three years designing, manufacturing and testing. As far as they knew, it would also be the first such rocket module manufactured by in-situ consolidation. They also knew that the module, which was 40% lighter than the aluminum modules typically used in these rockets, had passed a battery of coupon-level, sub-component level and full-scale tests. Nevertheless, Engelhardt would have to admit, in retrospect, “the launch was a challenge for my heart.” When the countdown began, the only way to be sure about the outcome was to sit back and watch.

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This week, CW is reporting live from the show floor at CAMX 2019, held at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, Calif., U.S., today through Thursday.

Each day of the show, we produce a daily newspaper, the Show Daily, with the latest news, events, and exhibit information from the show. Not at the show? No problem. We’ll also post links to the Show Daily here.

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Fiberglass industrial fan manufacturer builds on tradition

 

Hudson Products (Hudson, Beasley, Texas, U.S.) is a leading manufacturer of air-cooled heat exchangers and axial flow fans. The company’s fiberglass Tuf-Lite axial flow fans have been in production for more than 60 years and are preferred for industrial applications. More than 250,000 Tuf-Lite fans are currently in use worldwide. 

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Automated joining of hybrid metal-thermoplastic composite structures

Hybrid metal-composite structures continue to be of interest for automotive and aerospace applications, offering reduced weight and improved performance by putting “the right material in the right place.” Thermoplastic composites (TPCs) are attractive for such multi-material structures due to their rapid processing, including the ability to be welded and thermoformed. However, joining composites to metals has, until now, relied mostly on mechanical fasteners, which require drilling holes that damage load-bearing fibers. Adhesive bonding has also been used, but a number of thermoplastics are difficult to bond in this way; also, adhesives add material and weight. For example, the BMW i3, which uses a carbon fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) chassis and plastic body panels, uses 16 kilograms of adhesive, which partially counteracts the weight-saving potential of composites.

FlexHyJoin is a project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, conducted from Oct 2015 to Dec 2018, which sought to address the challenges of joining TPC and metal parts. Coordinated by the Institut für Verbundwerkstoffe (IVW) — a non-profit research institution of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate and the Technical University of Kaiserslautern, Germany — FlexHyJoin brought together 10 partners from across Europe to develop an automated process enabling a TPC automotive roof structure to be assembled into a metal body-in-white (BIW). The strategy was to produce a weight-neutral, high-strength join — without adhesives or fasteners — by laser pretreating metal brackets and attaching these to the roof stiffener via induction and laser joining. This was achieved in a single, automated production cell with integrated process control and inline nondestructive testing (NDT).

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