CompositesWorld News for Dec. 10, 2019

Read news from ACMA - American Composites Manufacturers Association, CAMX - The Composites and Advanced Materials Expo, Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering (SAMPE), Albany Engineered Composites, and Solvay Specialty Polymers
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Gregg Balko to retire after 16 years leading SAMPE North America

After serving as CEO and executive director for 16 years, Gregg Balko plans to retire in July 2020. SAMPE leadership has formed a committee to search for a successor.

Gregg Balko of SAMPE North America

Gregg Balko, CEO and executive director of SAMPE North America. Source | SAMPE

The Society for the Advancement of Materials and Process Engineering North America (SAMPE, Diamond Bar, Calif., U.S.) has announced that Gregg Balko, CEO and Executive Director, will retire in 2020 after having served as CEO and executive director for more than 16 years. Balko will continue with SAMPE through July 1, 2020 to aid in the transition for his successor.

“It has been a great honor to lead this organization over the last 16 years, and I am extremely proud of the value we have created together for our members and volunteers,” says Balko. “I want to thank each of our members for their support and ongoing commitment to bringing enhanced educational opportunities to the industry. Now is the right time for my retirement, on both a personal and professional level, and I look forward to helping the board of directors transition this role to the next generation of leadership. SAMPE is well positioned for future success with a strong team, solid financial foundation and exciting growth prospects.”

“Gregg has been instrumental in shaping SAMPE into the organization it is today,” says Tim Shaughnessy, president of SAMPE North America. “Through his leadership, SAMPE North America is financially stable, and our brand perception was elevated from a national level to a truly global organization. In addition, Gregg worked with the American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA, Arlington, Va., U.S.) to create the Composite and Advanced Material Expo (CAMX), a conference that truly addresses the needs of the world’s materials community. Gregg’s tireless service through years of both growth and challenges has positioned our organization for continued success after his departure. We thank him for his years of dedicated service and wish him the best in retirement.”

The SAMPE leadership has formed a search committee, composed of North America SAMPE President Tim Shaughnessy, and current SAMPE members. The committee has engaged the consulting firm Vetted Solutions to facilitate the search.

For further information as well as to provide recommendations to the Search Committee, please contact SAMPE’s executive search consultant, James J. Zaniello, President at Vetted Solutions, via email at jim.zaniello@vettedsolutions.com.

Albany Engineered Composites to work on Wing of Tomorrow program

Albany has signed a two-year agreement with Airbus to apply its 3D reinforced composites technology to next-generation wing substructure applications.

Airbus logo

Source | Airbus

Albany International Corp. (Rochester, N.H., U.S.) announced on Dec. 6 that its subsidiary, Albany Engineered Composites, has signed a two-year Collaborative Research Agreement (CRA) with Airbus (Toulouse, France) on the Wing of Tomorrow program, to apply Albany’s 3D reinforced composites technology to next-generation wing substructure applications.

Albany’s 3D composite technology, used extensively today in the CFM LEAP Engine, will be adapted to meet the requirements of Airbus’s next-generation airframe and production system. Albany says its innovative resin-infused dry 3D fiber preform technology will deliver a cost-effective, out-of-autoclave (OOA) wing substructure solution to Airbus that achieves superior damage tolerance and resistance to out-of-plane loads, and is more scalable to desired production rates for next-generation, single-aisle aircraft.

“We are very pleased to collaborate with Airbus to apply our 3D design and manufacturing know-how to their next generation aircraft,” says Olivier Jarrault, Albany International president and CEO. “We believe Albany provides unique design and production capabilities to Airbus, and this agreement marks an exciting and important next step in our relationship.”

Read more CW coverage about Wing of Tomorrow:

Irkut Corp. completes construction of fourth MS-21-300 flight test aircraft

Russian jetliner with OOA infused wing steps nearer to certification. See CW’s historical timeline of the MS-21.

Irkut MS-21 aircraft

Source | Irkut Corp.

The Irkutsk Aviation Plant, a branch of Irkut Corp. (a part of United Aircraft Corp., Moscow, Russia), has completed systems diagnostics of the fourth MS-21-300 aircraft designed for flight tests.

The results of first prototypes testing were taken into account in the aircraft production process. Three of these aircraft are now undergoing flight tests, while two of the four continue undergoing static tests, in pursuit of certification from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA, Cologne, Germany) for flight and entry into service.

On Nov. 28, the newest aircraft was transferred from the final assembly shop to the plant's flight-test division.

The MS-21 features the world’s largest infused, out-of-autoclave carbon fiber composite wings, which are manufactured by AeroComposit (Moscow, Russia). For more on the manufacture and progress of the MS-21 and its composite wings, see CW’s timeline of past coverage:

In Nov. 2019, the MS-21 completed its third flight test for EASA certification.

In Aug. 2019, Irkut Corp. presented MS-21 to the public for the first time.

In. March 2019, the third MS-21-300 joined the flight test program.

In Feb. 2019, EASA completed the first flight session of the MS-21-300 certification program.

In Jan. 2019, Irkut Corp. completed construction of the third MS-21 test aircraft.

In August 2018, CW published a case study on the MS-21’s infused and co-cured composite wings, and the implications for the future of aerocomposites

In July 2018, the second MS-21 test aircraft completed a successful flight.

In Oct. 2017, an MS-21 test aircraft flew from Irkust, Russia to Moscow.

In July 2016, a MS-21 composite wing box was delivered for static tests.

In June 2016, Irkut announced that its MS-21 out-of-autoclave (OOA) wing and wing box were nearly ready for their first flight.

In Jan. 2014, CW reported a case study on the resin-infused MS-21 wings and wingbox.

In 2011, FACC first revealed the composite wing box for MS-21 aircraft.

Solvay supplies high-performance thermoplastic film to Safran

Solvay will supply Halar ECTFE high-performance thermoplastic films for Safran’s LEAP engine acoustic panels.

Solvay supplies thermoplastic film for Safran use on composite aircraft engines

From left to right: Isabelle Lindemann, key account manager at Safran, Solvay Specialty Polymers global business unit; Thierry Haud, VP of Safran Purchasing, Safran; Sonia Bouquet, Composite Materials Purchasing Department, Safran; Dr. Alexander Vogel, head of Compounding at Solvay Specialty Polymers global business unit; and Etienne Collart, regional sales manager EMEA South, Aerospace Business Line, Solvay Composite Materials global business unit.

Solvay (Brussels, Belgium) has signed an agreement with Safran (Paris, France) to supply its Halar ECTFE high-performance thermoplastic film for its acoustic panels used on CFM International LEAP engines. According to Solvay, the films made from Halar ECTFE, with additional plasma treatment, offer excellent adhesion to composite substrates as well as superior aesthetics.

Solvay’s high-performance Halar ECTFE, a partially fluorinated semi-crystalline polymer, is used as a protective layer on the engine acoustic ring panel. It is reported to be strong and tough, with high resistance to erosion, abrasion, UV radiation and aircraft chemicals and fluids.

The lightweight, durable film is said to retain its properties over a broad range of temperatures, and displays high impact resistance even at low temperatures. It is said to be an ideal barrier against water vapor, oxygen and other small gas molecules, and meets stringent aerospace requirements regarding fire and burn-through resistance.

“Solvay is a longstanding and trusted partner of Safran, delivering advanced composite material solutions for both our aircraft engines and nacelle programs,” says Thierry Haud, VP of Safran Purchasing. “The supply agreement for Solvay’s high-performance thermoplastic film extends our mutual collaboration and further consolidates the relationship between us as we enlarge our cutting-edge portfolio of materials, techniques and processes.”

“As a world leader in high-performance thermoplastic and composite materials with a global operational infrastructure, Solvay is fully committed to supporting Safran as it ramps up the design and integration of applications for the LEAP engine program,” says Mike Finelli, president of Solvay’s Specialty Polymers global business unit. “The benefits of our broad material offering further helps the ambitious LEAP engine program to best maintain its performance and noise levels throughout the engine's life.”

AMRC Cymru research facility opens in North Wales

Among other projects, the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre Cymru will support the Airbus Wing of Tomorrow program.

Advanced Manufacturing Centre Cmyru

Source | AMRC

On Nov. 28, the Welsh government and University of Sheffield AMRC announced the opening of the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre Cymru (AMRC Cymru) in North Wales. The 2,000-square-meter, £20 million ($1.3 million USD) center will house Airbus (Toulouse, France) as its first major tenant, providing research space for next-generation wing technology development for the Wing of Tomorrow program.

The center is also intended to be a catalyst for growth and job development in the Deeside, North Wales region, providing area businesses with increased access to advanced technologies, helping them to drive improvements in productivity, performance and quality. Situated in the Deeside Enterprise Zone, it will focus on advanced manufacturing sectors, including aerospace, automotive, nuclear and food.

AMRC Cymru is backed by £20 million from the Welsh government, and managed by the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre. It is predicted the new center could increase gross value added (GVA) to the Welsh economy by as much as £4 billion over the next 20 years.

“Projects such as this help to drive innovation and excellence, enhancing Wales’ reputation a as place to invest and do business. It will play a key role in bringing academia and businesses closer together, boosting skills,” says Economy and North Wales Minister Ken Skates. 

“We’re delighted to be the first major business tenant of AMRC Cymru. The facility is world-class and the perfect home for our most significant research and technology program Wing of Tomorrow,” says ​​​​​​​Paul McKinlay, Airbus senior vice president, head of the company’s Broughton plant. “The program will inform the next generation of wings so when we launch a new aircraft program, we’ll have the technologies and systems ready to design and build the wings at the rate we need them.”

“The fact the Welsh Government chose this area to invest in such innovation underlines the value of the business in the region and we look forward to seeing the development of cutting-edge technologies in a range of industries as a result of this,” McKinlay adds.

AMRC Cymru was designed and project managed by Arup and the construction was carried out by Galliford Try.