Business Briefs: May 2011 HPC

Advanced Composites Group, C.A. Litzler, The Tomcat Group, SGL, North Coast Composites, GRPMS, Sikorsky.

Advanced Composites Group Inc. (Tulsa, Okla.) recently received the 2010 Boeing Performance Excellence Award. The Boeing Co. (Chicago, Ill.) issues the award annually to recognize suppliers that have achieved superior performance. ACG Inc. maintained a silver composite performance rating for each month of the 12-month performance period from Oct. 1, 2009 to Sept. 30, 2010.

C.A. Litzler Co. Inc. (Cleveland, Ohio) has acquired the technical assets of Western Advanced Engineering Co. (WAECO, Orange, Calif.), a worldwide supplier of custom hot-melt prepreg machines. Says Matt Litzler, president of C. A. Litzler Co., “We have long admired the technology that Steve Velleman developed over the years at WAECO, and we are very pleased that Steve has entrusted Litzler with carrying on the WAECO name.” WAECO is the originator of the trademarked “S-wrap” prepreg process, which can increase production speed on a standard hot-melt prepregging line to as high as 100 ft/min (30.5 m/min).

The Tomcat Group (Wichita, Kan.) and Growth Management and Constructive Changes (GMC2, Laguna Niguel, Calif.) announced Feb. 22 an agreement whereupon they will team to provide consulting services to the global aerospace and defense industry. The primary mission of the Tomcat Management Group, headed by Charles (Chuck) Gumbert, is to provide senior-level interim management services to the aerospace manufacturing and MRO market segments with a focus on underperforming assets. GMC2 provides professional services involving contract changes & claims and/or litigation research, and is headed by Edward G. Carson. 

European Precursor GmbH (EPG), a joint venture between SGL Group – The Carbon Company (Wiesbaden, Germany) and Lenzing Group (Kelheim, Germany), reported on Feb. 17 that it has received a €1.5 million/$2.12 million (USD) grant from the Bavaria FIT program under the Bavarian undersecretary of the state of Katja Hessel. The grant will fund EPG’s development of a novel high-performance carbon fiber precursor, the nature and composition of which was not revealed by SGL. Founded at the end of 2006 and based in Kelheim, EPG’s objective is to develop and supply carbon fiber precursor exclusively for SGL Group and European production. Since the establishment of the joint venture, both parties have invested approximately €25 million in a production facility that serves industrial applications, particularly in the automotive engineering and wind energy sectors. This joint venture secures SGL Group’s long-term supply of raw materials for carbon fiber targeted to these applications.

North Coast Composites (Cleveland, Ohio) reported on Feb. 24 that it has been chosen by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI, Tel Aviv, Israel) not only to build the tooling for the composite rudder assemblies for the Gulfstream G250 business jet but also to manufacture them via resin transfer molding (RTM). The contract, for 250 rudders, is valued at $6 million (USD). The carbon fiber/epoxy G250 rudder integrates lightning strike protection, net-molded ribs and spars, and rudder skins into a comolded, single-piece, solid laminate. North Coast reports that this complex part is the first of its kind and was made possible by specially designed RTM tooling and a streamlined, highly efficient manufacturing process.

GRPMS, a member of Umeco Composites Structural Materials (UCSM, Heanor, Derbyshire, U.K.), reported on April 11 that it has entered into a distribution agreement with Sigmatex (UK) Ltd. (Runcorn, U.K). GRPMS will distribute the Sigmatex product range in the U.K., Ireland, France, Scandinavia, Finland and the Baltic states. Sigmatex products include woven, unidirectional, multiaxial and three-dimensional carbon fiber reinforcements. GRPMS provides service in the composites market, working through its network of distribution centers.

Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. (Stratford, Conn.) officially opened a new facility at its Florida Assembly and Flight Operations (FAFO) campus on March 22, establishing experimental assembly-line operations for the new CH-53K heavy-lift helicopter. The 60,000 ft2/5,574m2 facility, previously home to Pratt & Whitney-Rocketdyne, has been completely updated, with overhead power and air dropdowns, new aircraft workstands and overhead cranes that will support aircraft final assembly and rotor head/quality control assembly operations. Five System Development and Demonstration (SDD) prototype aircraft will be built at the FAFO facility. Two additional airframe test articles will be produced at Sikorsky’s main manufacturing plant in Stratford. Once assembled, the aircraft will be delivered to the Sikorsky Development Flight Center (DFC) in West Palm Beach, Fla., for flight testing. The new aircraft program, currently in the SDD phase, could produce as many as 200 aircraft, The CH-53K helicopter’s major subcontracts have been awarded and are valued at more $1.1 billion (USD).