CW Blog

Since I first blogged about N12 Technologies in 2015, it has progressed, step by step, in the  commercialization of its NanoStitch film products, which use vertically-aligned carbon nanotubes (VACNTs) to boost composite laminate properties, prevent delamination and enable thinner, lighter structures.

2017 was a big year for NanoStitch:

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JEC World 2018: Exhibit previews

 

JEC World, the composites industry’s largest trade event, is next week, March 6-8 in Paris. If you are headed to the show, CompositesWorld has assembled a preview of some of the exhibits that you will find there. The below list was generated from pre-show material sent to CW as of March 1. 

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The mission of the Aachen Center for Integrative Leightweight Production  AZL (Aachen, Germany) is to develop breakthrough technologies for the mass production of lightweight composite parts. It began the iComposite 4.0 project in 2016, and by its completion in Dec 2018, AZL and its partners will have demonstrated an integrative and self-regulating process for large-scale production of hybrid (glass and carbon fiber) composite parts. The goal is to cut cost 50% versus current processes for structural automotive parts, but the intelligent process chain developed will also have application in other industries.

CW interviewed Sebastian Stender, a research engineer at AZL, and Patric Winterhalter, composites product manager at German press manufacturer Schuler (Göppingen, Germany). “AZL contacted Schuler with the idea of this project,” says Winterhalter. “We worked together to obtain funding from the German government (BMBF).” They also assembled a network of strategic partners:

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This is the promised follow-up to my blog on the ZAero project for zero defect manufacturing of aerospace composites. Here, I speak with Franz Engel, managing director for InFactory Solutions, and Christopher Buchmann, the company’s head of material & process engineering. InFactory is a spinoff from Airbus that is commercializing a variety of automated, connected and intelligent systems for composites manufacturing. It also offers data analytics and engineering consulting services. One of its first products, an inline sensor for automated fiber placement (AFP) has already been installed and qualified in an MTorres AFP machine.

Now the company is developing a sensor which can provide data in real time on where the resin flow front is during infusion of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) and other composite parts, as well as the level of impregnation and state of cure. InFactory Solutions calls its technology Cure and Flow Front monitoring, or CFF-Monitoring

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This is going to be big: Automotive composites forecast

A company by the name of Global Market Insights Inc. (Selbyville, DE, US) contacted me recently, alerting me to the presence of a new forecast report for automotive composites. Their report, with the lengthy title “Automotive Composites Market Industry Size By Fiber (Glass, Carbon, Natural), By Resin (Thermoset, Thermoplastic), By Manufacturing Process (Compression, Injection, Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM)), By Application (Interior, Exterior, Structural) Industry Analysis Report, Regional Outlook (U.S., Canada, Germany, UK, France, Russia, Italy, Poland, Spain, China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Taiwan, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Saudi Arabia, UAE, South Africa), Growth Potential, Price Trends, Competitive Market Share & Forecast, 2017 – 2024” dated January 15, 2018, forecasts that the market for automotive composites will surpass $24 billion USD by the year 2024.

According to the report’s authors team lead, Amulya Agarwal, an engineer with experience in chemicals and materials, the global automotive composites market demand is expected to top 4,000,000 tons by 2024, driven by continuously growing efforts by vehicle manufacturers across the globe to reduce overall vehicle weight. Of course, the big conundrum is that while composites can reduce carbon emissions by improving fuel efficiency through lower vehicle weight, the cost question, lagging design tools process integration are holding back industry growth.

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