CW Blog

The Composites Index finished June at 52.7, marking more than 30 consecutive months of expanding composites industry activity, by far the longest stretch in the history of the Composites Index. The latest Index reading is 7.0% lower compared to the same month one year ago. The Index has reported a trend of slowing growth since reaching a peak in April 2018. 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 that the Index was propelled by a surge of employment activity followed by increased activity in supplier deliveries and production. The Index — calculated as an average of the components — was pulled lower by modest expansions in both backlogs and new orders, as well as contracting exports activity.

 

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A recently announced project by a group of European wind and chemical industry partners has been formed to advance recycling efforts for composite wind blades. The partnership includes WindEurope (Brussels, Belgium), the European Chemical Industry Council (CEFIC, Brussels, Belgium) and the European Composites Industry Association (EuCIA, Brussels, Belgium).

There are more than 2.5 million tons of composite material in use in the wind energy sector with 130,000 wind turbines active in the European Union (EU) today. But as the industry develops, aging turbines will need to be replaced — in the next five years 12,000 wind turbines are expected to be decommissioned. Broadening the range of recycling options is critical as the industry continues to grow.

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Natural fiber enables e-bike for package delivery

 

EAV set out to design its natural fiber eCargo bike as a scaled down light commercial vehicle (LCV) rather than an up-engineered bicycle. Source | Electric Assisted Vehicles Ltd.

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Bigger, better, faster, more

 

It’s June 11 as I write this. I am on United flight 81 en route to the 2019 Paris Air Show (June 17-23) by way of Manchester, U.K. I have attended the Farnborough Air Show before, but this will be my first time at the Paris event.

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Producing composite parts with a class A finish is not the Holy Grail — there are plenty of companies that do this on a routine basis. However, doing so using resin infusion without expensive tooling or gelcoats and at a rate of one part per hour? Well, that is something unique.

Plastics Unlimited was started 25 years ago by Terry and Nancy Kieffer, explains their son Dakota Kieffer, sales and marketing director for the company. “They were farmers in Iowa and had started looking for a new and growing industry,” he explains, “They thought plastics would be better than welding or woodworking and they did not want to compete with their neighbors. They looked at injection molding, rotational molding and recycling plastics, but then came across thermoforming, and really understood it.” (Thermoforming uses heat and vacuum/ pressure to shape thermoplastic sheets into shaped parts.)

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