CompositesWorld News for Jan. 31, 2020

Read news from Spirit AeroSystems, 9T Labs, Abaris Training Resources, Albany Engineered Composites, Scott Bader Company, and David H Sutherland & Co.
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Clean Sky 2 project announces new project updates

Update on 11th call for proposals and Clean Sky 2 projects, plus composites topics of interest in upcoming AEC2020 conference.

Clean Sky 2 January 2020 e-news

The Clean Sky 2 project, the EU Horizon 2020 program-funded research program developing innovative, cutting-edge technology aimed at reducing CO2, gas emissions and noise levels produced by aircraft, has released several recent announcements:


Clean Sky 2’s 11th Call for Proposals launched – deadline 28 April

Clean Sky 2 has issued its 11th Call for Proposals for innovations in sustainable aviation representing €45 million in funding for 35 topics, including 4 thematic topics. Questions may be submitted until March 13, 2020 (17:00 Brussels time) and the deadline to apply is April 28, 2020 (17:00 Brussels time). Updates are available on the Clean Sky 2 website.

For organizations interested in applying that want to learn more, registration is open for Clean Sky 2 Info Days, where experts will be on hand to give an insight into the Topics and discuss practical, legal, administrative and financial aspects:

Aerospace Europe Conference 2020

Save the date: Aerospace Europe Conference 2020

Clean Sky is pleased to take part in the very first edition of the Aerospace Europe Conference (AEC2020, Feb. 25-28, 2020) to be held in Bordeaux, France and organized by 3AF (Association Aéronautique et Astronautique de France) and CEAS (Council of European Aerospace Societies) with the support of Clean Sky, SESAR (Single European Sky ATM Research project) and ESA (European Space Agency).

AEC2020 will provide an exceptional opportunity to exchange knowledge and results of current studies and to discuss directions for future research in the fields of aeronautics and space. Clean Sky will be present with an exhibition stand and speakers in the conference program. Sessions that should be of interest to the composites industry include:

  • 008 - Passenger aircraft composite centre wing box structure optimization — M. KOWALSKI, Warsaw University Of Technology, PL
  • 127 - Hybrid Sheet Moulding Compound With Carbon Prepregs — J. SILVA, Inegi, PT
  • 136 - Automated Fiber Placement based manufacturing of carbon fiber reinforced sandwich shell parts — T. ZENKER, Fraunhofer, DE
  • 139 - Impact Resistant and Low-Weight Composite Solution for Aircraft Fuselage — R. RICARDO JORGE BRAGA ROCHA, Inegi,PT
  • 315 - Automated Joining and Assembly of Thermoplastic Fuselage Structures for the Aircraft Factory of Tomorrow — B. DIEHL, Fraunhofer IFAM, DE
  • 408 - Generating durable hybrid Ti/CFRP adhesive joints for aerospace structures by laser pretreatment — U. LOMMATZSCH, Fraunhofer IFAM, DE
  • 424 - Clean Sky SFWA BLADE and Saab‘s integrated composite upper cover — K. KARLSSON, SAAB ab, SE
  • 445 - Experimental and numerical study of the composite wing structure embedding solar cells — Q. ROUXEL, Gem – Institut De Recherche En Génie Civil Et Mécanique, FR
  • 481 - Development of a Multifunctional Fuselage Demonstrator — V. SEBASTIAAN, Fokker, NL
  • 503 - Optimizing in-situ consolidation of xenon flashlamp based automated fiber placement — D. DEDEN, DLR (German Aerosapce Center), DE
  • 564 - Sensing technologies in the frame of Structure Health Monitoring — M.-A. DE SMET, Airbus Commercial, FR
  • 588 - Genetic optimization of stacking sequences for laminated composite structures with ply drops — A.F. CORTESI, Scalian, FR
  • 606 - Design and manufacturing maturation of a Thermoplastic Composite Keel-beam — L. ANGEL, Eurecat Tech Center, ES
  • 734 - Optical fibre Bragg grating sensors for BVID detection on composite sub-components — S. GOOSSENS, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, BE
  • 746 - Structural Health Monitoring Cluster for Composite Airframe — Z. Sharif Khodaei, Imperial College, GB
  • 747 - Innovative manufacturing and numerical modelling of thermoplastic and thermoset composite structures for SHM aerospace application — M. Mora-Mendias, FIDAMC, ES

These and other announcements can be found in the latest Clean Sky 2 newsletter available online and also on the Clean Sky 2 website. The Clean Sky 2 program also publishes the Skyline magazine and has a video playlist on YouTube. 

Spirit AeroSystems announces 737 MAX production agreement with Boeing

Under the agreement, Spirit will restart production slowly, ramping up to reach a total of 216 MAX shipsets delivered to Boeing in 2020.

Boeing 737 MAX

Boeing 737 MAX. Source | Boeing

Spirit AeroSystems (Spirit; Wichita, Kan., U.S.), which announced workforce reductions earlier this month following suspension of 737 MAX production by Boeing (Seattle, Wash., U.S.), announced on Jan. 30 that it has reached an agreement with Boeing regarding production rates for the aircraft.

Under the agreement, Spirit will restart production slowly, ramping up deliveries throughout the year to reach a total of 216 MAX shipsets delivered to Boeing in 2020. Spirit does not expect to achieve a production rate of 52 shipsets per month until late 2022. The parties are continuing to negotiate other terms, Spirit says.

According to Spirit, the rate agreement is based on several assumptions including Boeing’s expected production rate and the successful return of the 737 MAX to service. The 737 MAX contractual agreement is a requirements contract between Boeing and Spirit and the rate may change at any time.

Spirit is a significant supplier on the 737 MAX program, with its workshare accounting for 70% of the airplane’s structure. This includes the entire fuselage, thrust reversers, engine pylons and wing components. In addition, the MAX represents more than 50% of Spirit’s annual revenue.

9T Labs secures $4.3 million in funds to develop, scale-up continuous fiber 3D printing solution

The Swiss company has closed a seed financing round and added two additional industry veterans to its board of directors.

9T Labs continuous-fiber 3D printing leadership team

Source | 9T Labs

9T Labs (Zurich, Switzerland) has announced that it has closed a seed financing round of $4.3 million to finish the development of its industrial 3D printing solution and to scale-up the first mass manufacturing industrial use cases. 

9T Labs’ proprietary technology combines advanced software algorithms, 3D printing technology and post-processing, and is offered as a solution to ease the use of industry-grade carbon fiber composites, driving down lead times and production costs to accelerate industry growth.

The company, which is a spin-off of ETH Zurich, was founded by Chester Houwink, Giovanni Cavolina and Martin Eichenhofer in 2018, with the goal of making carbon fiber composite materials as accessible as ordinary metal materials. The company has secured $4.3 million from existing investors around Wingman Ventures and new contributions from Investiere and the Technology Fund. Furthermore, 9T Labs is supported by the ESA BIC program.

Read more about 9T Labs and its continuous carbon fiber 3D printing technology.

In addition, as part of the financing round, Andreas Wuellner and Bertrand Humel van der Lee have joined the company’s board of directors, bringing together 40 years of experience in fiber composite processing and manufacturing. Until the end of 2019, Andreas led the composites business of SGL Carbon. Bertrand Humel van der Lee is an expert in sales, services and marketing related topics who was until recently chief customer operations officer and managing director at EOS.

“Knowing from experience what limits the widespread adoption of advanced fiber composite solutions, I found 9T Labs’ integral technology approach to overcome such limitations, fostering the adoption in mass manufacturing, very convincing,” Wuellner says.

“In contrast to plastic and metal 3D printing companies, which compete with the existing and established automated CNC manufacturing solutions, 9T Labs enters a market which has not yet seen standardized automation and software solutions for mass manufacturing, providing a huge market potential,” van der Lee says.

Abaris provides on-site technical training for Proterra customers

The training is a joint effort designed to teach structural composite repairs to Proterra’s more than 100 North American metro-transit customers.

Proterra bus

40-foot Catalyst electric bus. Source | Abaris

On Jan. 28, Abaris Training Resources Inc. (Reno, Nev., U.S.) announced the completion of the ninth training class for Proterra (Burlingame, Calif., U.S.), a leading innovator in heavy-duty electric transportation. The training is a joint effort designed to teach structural composite repairs to Proterra’s more than 100 North American metro-transit customers. The most recent class was held Jan. 7-9, 2020 for the Toronto Transit Commission in Toronto, Canada, and another class is scheduled in May for the Edmonton Transit Service in Edmonton, Canada.

Proterra is reported to be the only transit bus manufacturer using composite material for its buses. Proterra’s bus body utilizes carbon fiber-reinforced composites in the construction, resulting in a lightweight, impact-absorbing and corrosion-resistant vehicle. Unlike steel bus frames, Proterra’s composite material maximizes vehicle performance and life while minimizing repairs and maintenance. (Read more about the design and manufacture of Proterra’s Catalyst bus.) 

“The lightweight composite material we use to build our battery-electric buses removes 4,000 pounds of weight compared to a typical metal bus frame and chassis, which allows us to store more energy on board and increase the range of the bus to meet the daily route needs of transit agencies,” says Ryan Popple, Proterra CEO. “Having a composite body is what helped us exceed the world record for longest distance driven by an electric vehicle on a single charge — 1,101.2 miles with 660 kWh of energy storage.”

Proterra partners with Abaris to offer a thorough, multi-day training class for structural composite maintenance for all of its customers. The three-day classes offer a mix of classroom and hands-on repair practice in the shop.

“Our Proterra training consists of discussions about reinforcement materials (i.e. stitched and random mat, etc.), material safety, repair design considerations, adhesive bonding to both composite and metals, fastener installation, resins and other fibers,” says Michael Meringolo, primary Abaris technical instructor on the program. “The shop work consists of three repairs: minor impact (typically outer skin and slight core damage), medium energy impact to the outer skin and full depth core, and high energy, structure impact damage, consisting of removing the outer skin and core to gain access to the inner skin, repair of the inner skin, core fill, and repair of the outer skin.”

According to Abaris, this ongoing training effort has successfully trained dozens of mechanics since its inception in 2016 and is scheduled to continue into the new decade. 

People in Composites: January 2020

Albany International Corp., DHSutherland, the National Composites Centre and Scott Bader Co. Ltd. announce new hires within the composites manufacturing industry.

Scott Bader non-executive chairman Paul Smith

Scott Bader recently appointed Paul Smith as non-executive chairman. Source | Scott Bader

Albany International Corp. appoints new president and CEO

Albany International Corp. (Rochester, N.Y., U.S.) announced on Jan. 21 that its Board of Directors has appointed A. William Higgins as president and CEO, effective Jan. 20, to succeed Olivier Jarrault, who has resigned by mutual agreement with the Board. Erkie E. Kailbourne, who currently serves as a director of Albany, will return to his role as chairman of the Board of Directors, succeeding Higgins. Jarrault will assist with the transition.

Higgins previously worked as CEO and chairman of CIRCOR International Inc. from 2008-2012. Prior to joining CIRCOR, he held a variety of senior management positions with Honeywell International and AlliedSignal. Higgins has served on the Board of Albany since 2016 and as chairman of the Board since February 2019. Higgins will be closely supported by business segment leaders Daniel Halftermeyer, President – Machine Clothing – and Greg Harwell, Group President – Albany Engineered Composites, as well as Chief Financial Officer Stephen Nolan.

“I am excited to assume this role and will continue the progress we have made in driving operational excellence across the business under Olivier’s tenure. We have an exceptional team at Albany, and I look forward to working closely with Daniel, Greg, Stephen and the other members of the senior management team as we execute our strategy to deliver great value to our customers and shareholders,” says Higgins.

DH Sutherland hires new senior technical salesperson

DHSutherland (Beaverton, Ore., U.S.) announced on Jan. 21 that it has added Matt Pentland as senior technical salesperson to its team. Pentland brings more than 10 years of experience at companies such as Toray Composite Materials America and Heatcon Composite Systems, where he served leading aerospace companies across both OEM and MRO parts of the industry.

“We are very excited to have Matt join our team. His unique skillset of both OEM and MRO parts of the aerospace industry will help us to serve a broader range of our advanced composite customer’s needs. With Matt stepping into the role in the Eastern U.S., he’ll bring tremendous value to the DHSutherland network of customer and supply partners,” says Andrew Crouse, DHSutherland president.

National Composites Centre announces new member of steering board

The National Composites Centre (NCC, Bristol, U.K.) has announced that Colette Cohen OBE will join its steering board as independent chair.

Cohen has been CEO of the Oil and Gas Technology Centre (OGTC) since 2016, successfully establishing it as the ‘go to’ technology center for the industry. She has worked in the oil and gas industry for more than 25 years and is a committed and active role model for women in the industry. In recognition of her contributions, Cohen received an OBE for her services to the oil and gas industry and government collaboration in the 2020 New Year’s Honours list.

At her NCC role, Cohen is responsible for providing independent scrutiny and challenge to ensure the NCC is successful in achieving its mission and strategic objectives. She will independently advise the University Executive Committee on NCC and strategic matters. Colette will also support and challenge the NCC CEO.

Cohen has previously served on the board of Oil & Gas UK and the OGA Decommissioning Board. She is now the Chair of the National College for Onshore Oil and Gas, sits on the Technology Leadership Board and is a Non-Executive Director for both OPITO and NORECO. She is also a Commissioner for the Just Transition Commission for Scotland.

“Colette is a fantastic fit for the NCC — bringing a wealth of industrial experience and diversity of thinking to our steering board at this critical time. We are impressed by her championing of industrial transition of the oil and gas industry to a net zero future and look forward to her input on our composite sustainability initiatives. We also hope that Colette will work with us to help the U.K. unlock capability in digital engineering across the engineering portfolio,” says Richard Oldfield, NCC CEO.

Scott Bader appoints new non-executive chairman

Adhesives, resins and gelcoats manufacturer Scott Bader Co. Ltd. (Wollaston, U.K.) announced on Jan. 16 that Paul Smith has been appointed as non-executive chairman. Scott Bader’s current executive chairman, Kevin Matthews, will remain as CEO of Scott Bader.

Smith is an experienced chemical industry professional and has held a number of executive and non-executive positions. He is currently executive chairman of Duranta Energy Ltd., a 120-Ktpa food waste to biogas plant in the U.K. He brings more than 45 years of experience growing specialty chemistry-based businesses, including 14 years as chief executive at Rahu Catalytics and the Catexel Group Companies within the Unilever Ventures portolio.

“I have known Scott Bader since my early days in the chemical industry some 40 years ago, visiting Wollaston as a young salesman and long been an admirer of the company and its values. I am excited to join a strong and forward looking management team, and look forward to making a material contribution to its future growth and success,” Smith says.