CW Blog

CW Talks: Highly automated thermoplastic laminate production

 

 The latest episode of CW Talks: The Composites Podcast has been published and features three guests: Gino Francato, global business leader for composite platform at SABIC; Arno van Mourik, CEO of Airborne; and John O’Connor, director of product and market strategy at Siemens. SABIC, Airborne and Siemens recently collaborated on the development of a new thermoplastic laminate manufacturing system called UDMAX.

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So, you want to overmold

 

For most of their histories, composites fabrication and thermoplastic injection molding have lived in their own worlds, linked by a common polymer DNA, but separated by process differences that have effectively cleaved these two industries.

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While the status of wind energy projects in the US tends to be as changing as, well, the wind, last week saw some exciting developments. Potential offshore wind farm projects were reported for both East and West coasts.

The US Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM, Washington, DC, US) is conducting assessments of the Atlantic Coast for offshore wind farm locations and is seeking public input. More information about how to submit input is available on the BOEM website.

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An SMC machinery provider adds automation

 

About the time that I started writing about the composites industry, I was introduced to the concept of SMC – sheet molding compound. SMC was already a well-established technology then, and that was about 20 years ago. The concept of cutting the glass roving over the moving resin film, flattened by the doctor bar, was explained to me by the principals of Finn & Fram (San Fernando, CA, US), including Dr. Jerry Fram. Many articles about SMC and its growth trajectory, including ever-improving quality and lower density, as well as machine improvements, have followed in CW ever since. So, I was intrigued this year at the JEC World in Paris to meet with a German company, Schmidt & Heinzmann (S&H, Bruchsal, Germany), a name that has turned up almost every time I tour a composites facility and see its equipment. It got its start in 1949 producing machinery for the plastics industry and started selling SMC and BMC equipment in 1973. It considers itself the leader in SMC technology, and is currently producing a wide variety of automated solutions for composites processing that go beyond just sheet molding compound production.

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