Editorial - 8/1/2005
I'm sure you've already noticed that this issue is our largest in a long time —more than 72 pages packed with useful technical information. In fact, we had so much to include that we had to leave out our Subscription Form! For those who want to subscribe or need to renew a subscription, here's a good opportunity to
I'm sure you've already noticed that this issue is our largest in a long time —more than 72 pages packed with useful technical information. In fact, we had so much to include that we had to leave out our Subscription Form! For those who want to subscribe or need to renew a subscription, here's a good opportunity to familiarize yourself with our online form.
The articles in this issue include a notable architectural application of composites that happened right in our own backyard. An ambitious civic arts project designed to call attention to Denver's newly expanded Colorado Convention Center, the big blue bear pictured on our cover was built using a fabrication process that was unusual in that the molds were cut directly from computer design files, bypassing the typical intermediate models and plugs and saving significant project cost. The very versatile filament winding process gets the "basics" treatment this issue, in a guide for prospective buyers of winding equipment. You'll find a primer on the process, with special focus on the variety of hardware and software options available to make sure you get the right machine for the job at hand. As composites make further inroads into the world of wheeled vehicles, fabricators are looking for ways to make part production faster and achieve cost parity (or better) with metal. One way they're doing it is with in-mold finishing techniques that can produce Class A finishes without the expense of post-mold painting. Also in this issue, a premier U.S. military shipbuilder reveals its new strategy for fast-tracking composites-intensive minesweepers, destroyers and LPTs through what has historically been a one-at-a-time construction process. Our "plant tour" describes the multistation process that permits work on as many as four ships at a time. And CT's"Engineering Insights" feature highlights a rugged molded composite wheel design for racing all-terrain vehicles (ATVs). The wheels incorporate short carbon fiber reinforcement in a specially modified nylon matrix that maximizes the wheel's capacity to stand up to extreme impact loads.
You'll find our preview of the upcoming ACMA COMPOSITES 2005 show. After hopping for several seasons from coast to coast, the Association has selected a show venue right in the population center of North America. Columbus, Ohio is within a day's drive (600 miles) of half the U.S. population and half the ACMA's membership. That should make it one of the most fabricator-friendly composites trade shows in recent memory. You'll find a map of the show floor and booth locations for the 201 exhibitors already onboard for the event in our Exhibitor List.
Finally, a "head's up" for you suppliers out there. We're gearing up for SOURCEBOOK 2006. Those of you who have listed with us in the past will soon receive a notice, via e-mail, that it's time to go to our Web site and resubmit or update your listing in this industry's most complete composites directory — now the only composites directory available both in print and online. Look for "SOURCEBOOK 2006" in the subject line, then just follow the simple instructions. If you've never listed with us, you can sign up here.
By the way, I'm writing this in the wilds of Wyoming. I've almost finished with a 500-mile trek, on foot, from Denver to my mother's home in Powell, Wyoming. It's something I've wanted to do for many years and it's harder — and this week, hotter — than I expected, but it's been a Great Adventure. I'll be back in time for the ACMA show. See you there!