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., 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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Automotive composites draw international crowd to Detroit

From September 4 through 6, 2019, just under 900 people attended the 19th-annual Automotive Composites Conference & Exhibition (ACCE) organized by the Automotive and Composites Divisions of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE, Bethel, Conn., U.S.). Held in the Detroit suburbs, the event featured four parallel technical tracks all three days, three keynotes, two panel discussions, two evening receptions, and an exhibition. A large student poster competition and a parts competition rounded out the program. 

This year’s event was smaller — in terms of attendance, presentations and sponsorship — than it’s been the last few years. Organizers cited a direct conflict with the China Composites Expo (September 3-5 in Shanghai, China) as well as events like the triennial Kunststoffe (K 2019) plastics show in Düsseldorf, Germany, October 16-23 and earlier dates for the annual Composites and Advanced Materials Expo (CAMX), co-organized by the American Composites Manufacturers Assoc. (ACMA, Arlington, Va., U.S.) and Society for the Advancement of Materials and Process Engineering (SAMPE, Diamond Bar, Calif., U.S.) in Anaheim, Calif., September 23-26 as impacting participation. Nonetheless, the event drew thought-provoking presentations, interesting technologies, and an engaged international audience. 

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The Composites Index registered 49.4 in August, which indicates slowing contraction over the prior month. 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 underlying data revealed a surprise expansionary reading in export business activity in August. The Index — calculated as an average of its components — was raised higher by expansionary readings in production, supplier deliveries and exports, and was pulled lower by employment, new orders and backlogs. 

The August Index indicated an unusually large eight-point spread between production and new orders. Since records began in 2011, the spread between new orders and production has often been very small, as fabricators often quickly adjust production to new orders. The combination of increased production despite weak new orders activity was apparent in August’s backlog data, which reported another month of contraction.

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Thermoplastics in the quest for aerospace weight savings

 

When it comes to conversion of metallic aerostructures to thermoset composites, most of the low-hanging fruit — wing, fuselage and tail structures — has been picked. In next-generation aircraft, thermoplastic composites are sure to play a major role in large structures as well. In the meantime, however, there are conversion opportunities available today for thermoplastics . 

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