SME: COMPOSITES Manufacturing 2013 colocates with AERODEF

Billed as "By Manufacturers. For Manufacturers," The Society of Manufacturing Engineers defense-related exhibitions were held side-by-side this year at the Long Beach Convention Center.

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Billed as "By Manufacturers. For Manufacturers," the Society of Manufacturing Engineers' (Dearborn, Mich.) defense-related exhibitions were held side-by-side this year at the Long Beach Convention Center. Composites manufacturers were well represented at the combined COMPOSITES Manufacturing 2013 and AERODEF Manufacturing exposition March 19-21, 2013.

CompositesWorld Weekly was there and found the following exhibits of interest to professionals in the composites industry.

AC&A (Lake Forest, Calif.) exhibited a 40 percentscale model of a new all-carbon composite UAV capable of vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL), needing no runway, catapult or nets for launch and recovery. AC&A designed the parts and tooling, and built the model for DZYNE Technologies (Irvine Calif.). The DZYNE “ROTORwing” concept uses pivoting wings to convert between airplane and helicopter. The plane ascends like a helicopter to a height of 2,000 ft/610m, then rotates the wings forward into airplane mode. The flight propellers power the rotor without a heavy gearbox. The full-scale UAV will have a 22-ft/6.7m wingspan and an operating endurance up to 20 hours. 

MAG IAS LLC (Hebron, Ky.) presented its Dockable Gantry System, trademarked GEMINI, which combines both Automated Tape Laying (ATL) and Automated Fiber Placement (AFP) on one platform. The system can quickly dock (detach and secure) one head and pick up another for optimum use of the machine. Two dockable head options are available for ATL, and three for AFP. The GEMINI features MAG’s CM100 control and ACES software to control and operate its multiple interchangeable heads. It also accommodates different widths of materials. The original concept was developed in conjunction with ATK Aerospace Structures (Clearfield, Utah) and the first machine is being used by ATK at its Large Structures Facility in Iuka, Miss., where it will service multiple but as yet  unidentified programs. (MAG America was recently acquired by Fives industrial engineer group in Paris, France.)

Ingersoll (Rockford, Ill.) featured automated fiber placement (AFP) machines and composite programming software manufactured in Rockford. Ingersoll has recently installed its first material inspection system on a production AFP, which will inspect slit tapes and tows for defects prior to deposition onto the part. The company has shipped its fifth AFP to Alenia Aermacchi, which uses the machines for manufacture of fuselage sections for Boeing’s B787 in its Grottaglie, Italy, facility near Taranto. Ingersoll fiber placement equipment is also used by Premium Aerotech (Augsburg, Germany) for construction of fuselage sections and other structures for the Airbus A350 XWB.

American Rotary Tools Company (ARTCO, Monrovia, Calif.). Sonofile ultrasonic cutters that have been available in Japan for several years are now distributed in the U.S. through ARTCO. The cutter will cut composites up to 20 mm/0.79 inches layered thicknesses in precured or prepreg form. Carbide or steel blades are used to make a clean cut on carbon fiber or other composite material, plastic, rubber and auto interiors with no debris and no fraying. Ultrasonic cutters are quiet, and do not emit smoke or other air contamination. The devices are available in several sizes and styles and can be hand held or mounted on industrial robots or automated machinery.

LMT Onsrud LP (Waukegan, Ill.), a tooling supplier to the aerospace industry, introduced two new routers for composite materials: One is a diamond film coated, solid carbide compression router that LMT says prevents delamination on the top and bottom edges of the composites. The second is a high performance composite router marketed as a true cutting tool, which cuts the material into distinct chips that remove heat from the cut. It can be used in both handheld and CNC applications.

Tiodize (Huntington Beach, Calif.) was on hand displaying its range of FIBER/LITE fiberglass and carbon composite fasteners and fastening devices made by compression matched-die molding. Composite hydraulic fittings for aircraft water systems — potable water as well as wastewater — were introduced as a potential new product, replacing stainless steel fittings.

Stratasys (Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.) demonstrated the benefits of additive manufacturing, a growing technology that creates 3D parts, layer by layer, from a computer CAD drawing. This might be loosely compared to tape laying or fiber placement of prepreg, layer by layer, from a computer program. But in the case of additive manufacturing, powdered metals, polymers or other materials are melted and sequentially deposited onto a substrate according to the computer program. This is truly a lights-out manufacturing process, with no need for a part mold or machining. The part is simply built up in sequentially deposited thin layers. One application for the composites industry would be manufacture of a 3-D part that could be used as a water-soluble mandrel for filament winding. When the wound part is complete, it would be immersed in warm water and the mandrel melted away.

Hawk Ridge Systems (Irvine, Calif.) featured SolidWorks Premium 2013 3D Design software and its CamWorks integrated computer-aided machining (CAM) system. SolidWorks is a development of Dassault Systemes, headquartered in Vélizy-Villacoublay, France. Hawk Ridge is a worldwide SolidWorks reseller, providing sales, support, services and training at 15 locations in North America.

Other composites-related exhibitors included the following:

Applied Aerospace Structures Corp. (AASC, Stockton, Calif.), which specializes in lightweight structures for the aerospace industry.

Performance Polymer Solutions Inc. (P2SI, Moraine, Ohio), offering next-generation materials, engineering and technical support for demanding applications and temperatures in aerospace, wind energy and other high performance production areas.

Composite Fabrications Inc. (Anaheim, Calif), produces advanced composite details, assemblies and tooling for aerospace, military and commercial applications.

Onexia Inc. (West Chester, Pa.) provides custom machines, tooling and holding fixtures for composite manufacturing processes.

C.A. Litzler Co. (Cleveland, Ohio) is a leader in continuous processing ovens and machinery for carbon fiber oxidation; continuous drying technologies through combination dryers and ovens (for example, combining radiant/infrared and convention heat transfer); fiberglass roving dryers; impregnating, saturating and coating systems for various fibers, including solution-based prepreg machinery and hot melt prepreg machinery; infrared heaters; and dip molding and coating systems.

 

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