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DDECEMBERECEMBER 20122012 | VVOL.18OL.18 | NNO.O. 66 TIDAL TURBINE BLADES SEAWATER SECURE SECURESEAWATER Underground
DDECEMBERECEMBER 20122012 | VVOL.18OL.18 | NNO.O. 66
TIDAL TURBINE
BLADES
SEAWATER SECURE SECURESEAWATER
Underground Storage Tanks:
Rehabilitation
without Excavation
Cured-in-Place Pipe:
No-Dig Remediation Grows
COMPOSITES 2013 Preview
SPE ACCE & IBEX Reviews
compositesworld.com

CT DECEMBER 2012

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FEATURES

ACMA COMPOSITES 2013 Preview

The American Composites Manufacturers Assn. (ACMA, Arlington, Va.) returns its annual U.S. COMPOSITES exhibition and convention to the East Coast, Jan. 29-31, 2013, in Orlando, Fla.

SPE ACCE 2012 Review

Bursting at the seams, the 12 th annual Society of Plastics Engineers’ Automotive Composites Conference and Exhibition tops its previous bests.

IBEX 2012 Review

Under the banner “The Future of Marine Technology,” the 22 nd International BoatBuilder’s expo confronts a brave new world. By Ginger Gardiner

Cured-in-Place Pipe | Trenchless Trends

A variety of CIPP products are enabling the rehabilitation, rather than the excavation and replacement, of underground pipe for wastewater and drinking water. By Donna K. Dawson

Inside Manufacturing Underground Storage Tanks | Rehabilitation without Excavation

An unusual “lost-core” composite adds double-wall protection to noncompliant tanks, without excavation. By Ginger Gardiner

Engineering Insights Composite Tidal Turbine Blade | Toughened for Turbulent Salt Seas

Demonstrator design proves robust blade destined for a commercial-scale tidal turbine application. By Jeff Sloan

Table of Contents

tidal turbine application. By Jeff Sloan Table of Contents December 2012 | Vol. 18 | No.

December 2012 | Vol. 18 | No. 6

COMPOSITES

WATCH

Automotive | 5

Wind Energy | 7

Marine | 9

Automotive | 11

News | 12

COLUMNS

Editor | 3

Yin and Yang

DEPARTMENTS

Work In Progress | 24

Applications | 40

Calendar | 41

New Products | 42

Marketplace | 44

Ad Index | 44

Showcase | 45

COVER PHOTO

| 44 Ad Index | 44 Showcase | 45 COVER PHOTO Gurit (Newport, Isle of Wight,

Gurit (Newport, Isle of Wight, U.K.) faced a multifaceted challenge when it was approached by ANDRITZ HYDRO Hammerfest (Hammerfest, Norway) to develop composite blades for this tidal turbine, the HS1000, a 1-MW system destined for placement in waters controlled by the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC), near the Orkney Islands off the northern coast of Scotland (see p. 46). Source | ANDRITZ HYDRO Hammerfest

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CT DECEMBER 2012

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Yin and Yang

Editor

(513) 527-8801. PUBLISHER: MEMBERSHIPS: Yin and Yang Editor I was asked recently to give a short

I was asked recently to give a short primer on composites for a webinar targeting

designers and design engineers who work mostly with traditional materials like wood, concrete and steel but wanted to learn more about composites. I soon found myself working in PowerPoint, creating one of those advantages/disadvantages slides to describe the Yin and Yang of composites. I settled on an old trick:

Yin: Composites’ advantage is their massive adaptability — multiple combinations of resin, fiber, tooling and processing types are able to meet a variety of application requirements. Yang: Composites’ disadvantage is their massive adaptability — multiple combina-

tions of resin, fiber, tooling and processing types create complexity that can be difficult to manage and apply, and easy to screw up. The goal, of course, is to emphasize the Yin. Composites can reduce complexity (in part, through parts consolidation), save weight, increase strength and tough- ness and prolong product life. But one of the best aspects of composites’ Yin is that they can often eliminate or mitigate the Yang of

a legacy process or material. One legacy process

that involves some serious headaches is in-ground pipe replacement. For decades, replacing corroded and/or damaged sewer, water and other under- ground piping was expensive and inconvenient:

Repair crews had to dig up the old pipe and replace it. Such operations block or divert street traffic, seem to take forever and consume a great deal of

taxpayer-funded time and manpower. Into this breach has stepped cured-in-place pipe (CIPP), which allows cities and utilities to reline deteriorating pipe with composites that are cured in-situ, negating the need for large-scale trenching or digging. The “no-dig” composites liner provides

a more robust, corrosion-resistant, durable material that promises longer pipe life and

better bang for the taxpayer buck. (See Donna Dawson’s CIPP Update on p. 30). But it gets better. There are, in the U.S. alone, 587,000 underground storage tanks that, by law, must be upgraded to monitored double-wall construction to prevent leakage. Tradition says that each tank — most of them of 8,000 to 10,000 gal capacity, used for gasoline storage at retail outlets — must be dug up and replaced. The Yin of composites, however, says no: Like CIPP, an existing tank can be quickly and afford- ably upgraded with the in-situ addition of a double-walled composite liner, designed to last for at least 30 years. (You can read more about how in-situ repair is cutting costs here by up to 80 percent on p. 36, in an article by Ginger Gardiner.) The complexity of composites’ Yang might be a barrier of entry for designers and manufacturers used to working with traditional materials, but we are seeing a growing community of material specialists who can bring the best that composites have to offer to bear in new applications every day. Cured-in-place tanks are just one such example. We’ll continue to shed light on these innovations, and do what we can to help you and the rest of the engineering and manufacturing world appreciate and take advantage of composites’ Yin.

a

We are seeing a growing community of specialists bring the best that composites have to offer to new applications.

a growing community of specialists bring the best that composites have to offer to new applications.

Jeff Sloan

.

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AUTOMOTIVE

CT DECEMBER 2012

Composites

COMPOSITES WATCH

AUTOMOTIVE CT DECEMBER 2012 Composites COMPOSITES WATCH WATCH Automotive alliances seek faster composite part processing,

WATCH

Automotive alliances seek faster composite part processing, the U.S. PTC’s fate hangs in the electoral balance, a new all-terrain vehicle takes to water, and a U.S.-based glass fiber source expands its supply capability to countries of the former Soviet Union.

supply capability to countries of the former Soviet Union. Ford demonstrates a carbon fiber hood part

Ford demonstrates a carbon fiber hood part

Ford Motor Co. (Detroit, Mich.) on Oct. 9

displayed a prototype carbon fiber hood at the Composites Europe event in Düsseldorf, Germany. Developed in cooperation with the Hightech.NRW collaborative research project in Germany and Dow Automotive (Midland, Mich.), the prototype Ford Focus hood weighs at least 50 percent less than a standard steel version. As a result of prog- ress made during an ongoing research project involving engineers from Ford’s European Research Centre (Aachen, Germany), the production time for an individual carbon fiber hood is reportedly fast enough to be employed on a production line — a significant step toward increased use of lightweight materials in Ford vehicles. Inga Wehmeyer, advanced materials and processes research en- gineer at the Centre, says the hood comprises a sandwich construc- tion, with carbon fiber faceskins and a foam core. The carbon fiber faceskins feature several plies of a unidirectional 24K tow carbon fiber fabric supplied by Toho Tenax (Wuppertal, Germany). Weh- meyer says the plies are stacked, tacked together with epoxy bond- ing powder, and then placed around Evonik’s (Marl, Germany) RO- HACELL foam core. The resin is a thermoset provided by Henkel (Düsseldorf, Germany). The part is made via a refined gap-impreg- nation process, developed by IKV (Institute of Plastics Processing, at RWTH Aachen University). It works by injecting resin over a carbon fiber preform in a slightly open tool. The injection gate is located on one end of the mold cavity. As injection begins, the resin flows through and, importantly, over the preform in the small gap between the upper tool and the preform. During injection, the tool is gradually closed at a slight angle, compressing the preform on the end closest to the gate. As the tool angle closes, resin is forced into the remainder of the preform and, at the same time, forced through- out the remainder of the mold cavity. When the mold is fully closed, the compressed and fully wetout laminate is heat-cured. Wehmeyer emphasizes that Ford is in the initial stages of de- velopment, relying to date exclusively on hand layup for prototype hoods manufactured at Composite Impulse GmbH (Gevelsberg, Germany). Initial results, however, are positive, and she says that over the next six months, Ford will begin low-volume production trials at IKV, targeting a total cycle time of 15 minutes, which she believes is achievable. How soon consumers will see a carbon fiber hood on a produc- tion vehicle remains to be seen. Wehmeyer says Ford will evaluate

Source | Ford]
Source | Ford]

material and manufacturing costs carefully. “At the end of the day, we have a customer and customer expectations, and price is cer- tainly something we have to consider. Carbon fiber and its cost will be evaluated as we move forward with this project,” she says. “It’s no secret that reducing a vehicle’s weight can deliver major benefits for fuel consumption, but a process for fast and affordable production of carbon fiber automotive parts in large numbers has never been available. By partnering with materials experts through the Hight- ech.NRW research project, Ford is working to develop a solution that supports cost-efficient manufacturing of carbon fiber compo- nents.” The Hightech.NRW project began in 2010 and, although it has a charter through September 2013, it has already made significant progress toward its goals. But Wehmeyer warns, “Customers of Ford’s passenger cars should not expect to see carbon fiber-bodied exam- ples on sale in the near future. The techniques we have refined and developed for the prototype Focus bonnet could be transferred to higher volume applications at a later date.” The Ford European Research Centre’s involvement in the Hight- ech.NRW research project is a follow-on to Ford’s partnership with Dow Automotive, a collaboration announced earlier this year, to investigate new materials, design processes and manufacturing techniques. Dow and Ford say they intend to focus not only on de- veloping high-volume molding methods but also on establishing an economical source of automotive-grade carbon fiber — both quests are considered critical to increasing the range of future Ford bat- tery/electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Advanced materi- als, such as carbon fiber, are integral to Ford’s plans to reduce car weight, on average, by up to 748 lb/340 kg by the end of the decade.

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COMPOSITES WATCH

U.S. wind energy industry uncertain as PTC indecision continues In the U.S., uncertainty in the
U.S. wind energy industry
uncertain as PTC indecision
continues
In the U.S., uncertainty in the domestic wind energy industry
continues due to lack of progress toward renewal of the Production
Tax Credit (PTC). According to the American Wind Energy Assn.
(AWEA, Washington, D.C.), the PTC provides an income tax credit
of 2.2 cents/kilowatt-hour for the production of electricity from
utility-scale wind turbines. Set to expire on Dec. 31, the PTC has
been renewed in previous years, often at the 11 th hour, but as each
expiration date approached, wind energy companies have taken
remedial actions — layoffs and shutdowns — to ensure survival if
Congress failed to act. Under the Obama Administration, the PTC
was reinstated for three years, giving wind energy investors, wind
farm owners and turbine suppliers some room to breathe. But the
2010 midterm elections, which gave control of the House of Repre-
sentatives to the Republican party, prompted some doubt, in the
wake of what Democratic congressional leaders saw as conserva-
tive obstructionism, about whether the PTC would survive its latest
11 th hour watch. The U.S. Senate Finance Committee, however, took
an important step toward extending the PTC on Aug. 2, 2012, by
passing a tax extenders bill, S. 3521, which includes an extension of
both the PTC and the investment tax credit (ITC) for offshore and
community wind projects. Further, the Repub-
(continued on p. 8)
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COMPOSITESWORLD.COM

COMPOSITES WATCH

COMPOSITESWORLD.COM COMPOSITES WATCH (continued from p. 7) lican leadership signaled, initially, a willingness to

(continued from p. 7) lican leadership signaled, initially, a willingness to cooperate “across the aisle” in the wake of President Obama’s re-election. (Notably, challenger Mitt Romney had signaled on the campaign trail the week before his loss that he had softened his stance on the PTC and would be willing to phase it out slowly, a marked departure from his prenomination stance.) At CT press time, however, legislation still hung in the balance. But there were indications that bipartisan support could be mus- tered for ongoing wind energy tax credits, according to the AWEA, including a recently proposed bill — introduced on Oct. 20, 2011, by Senator Al Franken (D-MN) — that would replace the renewable energy PTC with a 30 percent ITC for community wind projects.

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Technical Fibre Products Inc
Magnolia Plastics Inc. (Chamblee, Ga.), an AS9100-certified custom for-
mulator of high-performance epoxy systems, announced on Oct. 5 that
its board of directors had officially — effective immediately — changed
the company name to Magnolia Advanced Materials Inc. Magnolia’s
CEO Rick Wells noted, “Our new name better reflects our current busi-
ness and will grow with us as we add new chemistries and product lines.
My father, Don Wells, founded the company in 1957 and began by devel-
oping epoxy for the aviation industry and emerging U.S. space program.
Our tagline then was ‘Plastics for the Space Age.’ Our name has changed
but our commitment to excellence in customer service and innovative
product development will remain our primary focus.”
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© 2012 Interplastic Corporation. All rights reserved.

CT DECEMBER 2012

Marine composites tool- maker to revive idle Florida plant sphere tex Spheretex America, Inc. Signaling
Marine composites tool-
maker to revive idle
Florida plant
sphere
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Spheretex
America, Inc.
Signaling the return of health in the Florida boatbuilding market,
JRL Enterprises Inc. (Cape Coral, Fla.) announced plans to
purchase the former Wellcraft manufacturing facility in South
Manatee County, Fla., to expand the composite tool-making busi-
ness of its affiliated business, JRL Ventures Inc. The expansion is
projected to create at least 80 new jobs over three years, according
to Bob Long, president and CEO of both businesses. The former
Wellcraft facility has been shuttered since 2008 when the marine
manufacturing operation was moved, says Sharon Hillstrom,
president and CEO of the local Manatee Economic Development
Corp. The deal qualified JRL Ventures for performance-based
economic development incentives from the State of Florida and
the Manatee County Government.
“The former Wellcraft facility has the elements we need, such
as size, ventilation and some necessary equipment,” says Long.
“It’s virtually ready to house our expanded operations right away,
which is essential to our meeting production schedules for our
customers.”
Long says the company is purchasing an additional large
5-axis CNC router for the new location at a cost of almost $1 mil-
lion, installed.
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Source | GIBBS

COMPOSITESWORLD.COM

COMPOSITES WATCH

Source | GIBBS COMPOSITESWORLD.COM COMPOSITES WATCH New amphibious vehicle makes a splash MARINE GIBBS (Detroit, Mich.)

New amphibious vehicle makes a splash

MARINE
MARINE

GIBBS (Detroit, Mich.) reported on Oct. 15 that it will release the first high-speed sports amphibian, dubbed the GIBBS Quadski, for sale in the U.S. The seaworthy all-terrain vehicle (ATV) — or is it a roadworthy jet

ski? — is reportedly the product of millions of research dollars and years of development work in the U.S., New Zealand and the U.K. Featuring a hull made with composite materials, the Quadski is 10.5 ft long, 5.2 ft wide and 4.3 ft tall (3.2m by 1.6m by 1.3m), with a wheelbase of 5.8 ft/1.77m. It will be offered, initially, for use by one rider (no passengers). Quadski production is gearing up at a 54,000-ft 2 (5,017m 2 ) assembly plant in Auburn Hills, Mich. Touted by GIBBS as an entirely new form of transpor- tation for U.S. consumers, the Quadski is capable of reach- ing speeds of 45 mph/72.4 km on both land and water. The Quadski is equipped with a 175-hp BMW Motorrad engine and transmission. With the press of a button, its wheels re- tract when entering the water and deploy when approaching land. Reportedly, the amphibian transitions from water to land operation (and vice versa) in five seconds or less. The Quadski retailed for about $40,000 at its debut in November. The company expects to have more than 20 dealership loca- tions in place within the next 11 months, primarily in the Midwest, New York, Texas and the southeastern U.S. GIBBS has more than 300 patents, and patents pending, on its High

Speed Amphibian (HSA) technology and expects to find buyers not only in the consumer recreation category but also in the commercial and first-responder sectors as well.

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AUTOMOTIVE

CT DECEMBER 2012

New alliances test fast-cycle materials for automotive

Henkel (Düsseldorf, Germany and Rocky Hill, Conn.) reported on Sept. 24 that it has worked with machinery manufacturer Krauss-

Maffei (Munich, Germany) to develop a one- minute curing time for Henkel’s matrix resin Loctite MAX 2 polyurethane in a resin transfer molding (RTM) process. The significant improvement on the original goal of five minutes reflects a first-time achievement on a high-pressure dosing unit, and, according to Henkel, signals a potential breakthrough in the development of composite matrix resins for the manufacture of lightweight automotive components. Loctite MAX 2 is a recent Henkel development, a polyure- thane-based composite matrix resin that cures significantly faster than the epoxy products usually employed for RTM. Moreover, due to its low viscosity, Loctite MAX 2 reportedly penetrates and impregnates the fiber material more easily and, therefore, with less preform fiber displacement than competing RTM resins, enabling fast injection times, says Frank Deutschländer, global market manager, automotive, at Henkel. The primary goal of the Henkel/KraussMaffei collaboration, going forward, is a greater reduction in the manufacturing cycle times for as wide a range of components as possible. “We are confident that, in the near future, we will be able to significantly further develop the high- pressure RTM process through our co- operation with Henkel,” says Erich Fries, head of KraussMaffei’s Composites/Sur- faces business unit. A month later, on Oct. 25, TenCate Ad- vanced Composites BV (Almelo, The Neth- erlands) and BASF AG (Ludwigshafen, Ger- many) announced a cooperative alliance to rapidly develop, manufacture and com- mercialize thermoplastic (TP) composite materials suitable for high-volume automo- tive production. The goal is to offer car and light-truck parts manufacturers custom- engineered solutions for high-performance composite structures that will enable weight reduction (30 to 50 percent lighter than to- day’s metal parts) and mitigate carbon diox-

ide (CO 2 ) emissions. BASF reportedly will use its know- how in the formulation and production of thermoplastic resins to develop spe- cial variants of its trademarked Ultramid polyamide (PA), Ultradur polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) and Ultrason poly- ethersulfone (PESU) product lines. Ten- Cate Advanced Composites intends to contribute expertise in composites man- ufacturing processes, related to its trade- marked TenCate Cetex product portfolio,

to its trade- marked TenCate Cetex product portfolio, which is currently used primarily in aircraft structures

which is currently used primarily in aircraft structures and air- craft cabin interiors. “The next major advance in lightweight automotive construc- tions will not be possible without a dramatic reduction in process- ing costs. This can be accomplished by using continuous fiber rein- forced thermoplastic composites. The breakthrough for composites to mass production, however, has not yet been made. By working together with TenCate, we intend to jointly achieve this break- through,” explains Melanie Maas-Brunner, successor to Willy Hov- en-Nievelstein and new head of BASF’s Engineering Plastics Europe business unit in Germany. “TenCate Cetex laminates and prepregs have long been applied in commercial aircraft constructions, and are increasingly used in industrial manufacturing processes,” says Frank Meurs, group di- rector of TenCate Advanced Composites EMEA. “Now, TenCate intends to expand its activities in the automotive industry. We are looking forward to this joint effort in making new materials rapidly available for automotive mass production,” Meurs continues. The partners say that the ease of thermoplastic processing will dramati- cally reduce production cycle times. In addition, TPs have no shelf- life limitations, making mass production more practical, and they can be recycled. Target applications are semistructural parts and primary structures in car bodies and chassis.

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COMPOSITES WATCH

COMPOSITESWORLD.COM COMPOSITES WATCH Composites NEWS Owens Corning brings furnace on line in Russia, touts China office

Composites

NEWS

Owens Corning brings furnace on line in Russia, touts China office

Owens Corning (OC, Toledo, Ohio) revealed on Oct. 30 that a new furnace in its Gous-Khroustalny, Russia, glass reinforcements facility is operational, doubling plant capacity. The latest step to

Source: Owens Corning
Source: Owens Corning
e ca . On om site
e ca
. On
om
site

One call. One source.

Composites One.

e ca . On om site One call. One source. Composites One. One call to Composites

One call to Composites One puts you in touch with a single source offering the broadest array of products from the industry’s top suppliers. It connects you with technical experts and local customer service reps helping you find the products you need for both traditional and emerging markets. It empowers you to become leaner, greener and more productive through hands-on training in Closed Mold and other more efficient processes. And it gives you access to back-up support and value-added services that can help drive new business growth.

That’s the power of one. Composites One.

business growth. That’s the power of one. Composites One. 800.621.8003 www.compositesone.com www.b2bcomposites.com
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TALK. SEE. HEAR. LEARN from Lean Mean Closed Machine Experts - LIVE – at Booth #636 during COMPOSITES 2013 in Orlando, FL, January 29-31. For info, go to compositesone.com or closedmoldalliance.com.

increase OC’s global production capacity, the furnace will serve markets in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), made up of former Soviet republics. “Two years ago, we decided to increase production capacity in our Gous-Khroust- alny facility to support the growing needs of our CIS customers,” said Umberto Rigamonti, VP and managing director for the glass reinforcements business in Eu- rope. “This is aligned with our business strategy to support growth in emerging markets with local assets,” he continued. The Gous-Khroustalny plant will man- ufacture OC’s trademarked corrosion-re- sistant Advantex glass locally. The furnace start-up followed the opening, in Shanghai, China, of OC’s new China Composites Center, reportedly equipped with a state-of-the-art 6,000m 2 (64,584 ft 2 ) R&D facility.

PEOPLE BRIEFS Strongwell Corp. (Bristol,Va.) announced two key changes: David Gibbs has been named VP,
PEOPLE BRIEFS
Strongwell Corp. (Bristol,Va.) announced two
key changes: David Gibbs has been named
VP, sales and engineering, and will have re-
sponsibility for corporate domestic and inter-
national sales, structural engineering, quality
assurance and R&D. Gibbs has logged 17
years with Strongwell, most recently as di-
rector, Virginia Operations. He holds a BS in
chemical engineering from Tennessee Tech
University. Mike Carr has been named di-
rector of sales and will report to Gibbs. Carr
will be responsible for Strongwell’s corporate
domestic and international sales and will su-
pervise field sales managers. Carr has been
with Strongwell since 1998, most recently as
a regional sales director. He is a graduate of
the University of Sarasota (Fla.).

CT DECEMBER 2012

CT DECEMBER 2012

ACMA COMPOSITES 2013 Preview

ACMA COMPOSITES Source | Orange County Convention Center
ACMA COMPOSITES
Source | Orange County Convention Center

2013 PREVIEW

THE SHOW IN BRIEF

WHAT:

COMPOSITES 2013

WHERE:

Orange County Convention Center, Orlando, Fla.

WHEN:

Jan. 29-31, 2013

Info:

www.acmashow.org

TUESDAY, JANUARY 29

ACMA Committee Meetings .

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Certified Composites Technician (CT) Tutorials .

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Welcome Reception (ticket required).

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WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 30

 

General Session Keynote (Speaker TBA)

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8:00 a.m. to 9:15 a.m.

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Exhibit Hall Open

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Specialized Networking Receptions (ticket required)

 

5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Education Sessions (technical papers, seminars)

 

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F or 2013, the American Compos-

ites Manufacturers Assn. (ACMA,

Arlington, Va.) returns its annual

U.S. COMPOSITES exhibition and conven- tion to the East Coast’s sunny, fun capital, Orlando, Fla., after a 2012 sojourn in the Desert West’s sun ‘n’ fun capital, Las Vegas, Nev. Named one of the 50 fastest growing trade shows in 2011 by Trade Show Execu- tive magazine, COMPOSITES 2013, ACMA claims, is the largest gathering of compos- ites professionals in North America. ACMA expects to see, in Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center, more than 3,500 visi- tors (up 25 percent in each of the past four years), who hail from the U.S. and 35 other countries. Based on past attendance data, attendees are likely to represent more than 650 companies that serve a total of 40 com- posites market segments and will include a host of government officials and academics from 32 colleges and universities. ACMA intends to treat them to more than 100 con- ference educational sessions and technical presentations and an exhibit hall with more than 220 exhibitors. For details on the show and events schedule, see “The Show in Brief,” at left.

more than 220 exhibitors. For details on the show and events schedule, see “Th e Show

COMPOSITESWORLD.COM

COMPOSITESWORLD.COM

ACMA COMPOSITES 2013 Preview

COMPOSITESWORLD.COM ACMA COMPOSITES 2013 Preview COMPOSITES 2013 EXHIBITOR LIST Exhibitor and booth data per

COMPOSITES 2013 EXHIBITOR LIST

Exhibitor and booth data per ACMA on Oct. 30, 2012.

ACS International Inc.

816

American Colors Inc.

1057

ADFORS Saint Gobain Americas Inc.

1155

AOC LLC

801

Adhesive Systems Inc.

972

Arkema

946

Advanced Plastics

911

Ashland Performance Materials

1045

Aerospace Manufacturing & Design

1239

ATC Formulated Polymers

645

Airtech International Inc.

532

AXEL Plastics Research Lab

707

Akzo Nobel Functional Chemicals

817

Bayer MaterialScience LLC

1033

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Becker Pumps Corp.

1237

Big C: Dino-Lite Scopes

1251

Binks

501

Breton

1167

CCP Composites

623

Cerex Advanced Fabrics Inc.

1069

Chem-Trend LP

744

Chomarat North America

1126

Chromaflo Technologies

745

CMS North America Inc.

808

Composite Polymer Design

1254

Composites One LLC

636

CompositesWorld/Composites Technology

1233

Controx – Neuhauser

667

CPIC/Fiberglass

1160

Crane Composites

917

Creative Pultrusions Inc.

545

CTG International (N.A.) Inc.

511

De-Comp Composites Inc.

505

DIAB Sales Inc.

711

Dixie Chemical Co.

615

Eastman Machine Co.

1139

Eco-Wolf Inc.

1067

EFI Composites LLC

814

Elliott Company of Indianapolis

723

Entec Composite Machines

1014

Entropy Resins

533

ES Manufacturing

502

Eurovac Inc.

823

Fiber Glass Industries, Inc.

910

Fiberglass Coatings Inc.

713

Fiber-Line Inc.

619

Freudenberg Nonwovens

632

Geiss LLC

655a

General Plastics Manufacturing Co.

1110

German Advanced Composites

655e

Gibco Flex-Mold Inc.

1055

Gruber Systems

933

GS Manufacturing

773

Gurit

872

GYS Sales Corp.

1211

Hawkeye Industries Inc.

712

Henkel Corporation

710

Hennecke Inc.

1123

HK Research

945

Hodogaya Chemical (USA) Inc.

873

Horn Co.

1216

Huber Engineered Materials

633

CT DECEMBER 2012

CT DECEMBER 2012

I.S.T. International Surface Technologies

561

Innovoc Solutions

508

Instron

519

Interplastic Corp./North

923

American Composites

ITW Insulation Systems

500

ITW Plexus

648

ITW SprayCore

1244

ITW WindGroup

748

Jensen Industries Inc.

1109

Jordan Reduction Solutions

1011

JRL Ventures Inc.

644

Jushi

USA

1015

Kaneka North America LLC

913

Kenrich Petrochemicals Inc.

611

Knowlton Technologies LLC

1010

Krauss Maffei Corp.

655f

Lauffer Pressen

655i

Lean

Mean Closed Mold

737

Machine

Litek

Composites Corp.

1122

Lucintel

1226

Magnum Venus Plastech

729

Mahogany Company of

944

Mays

Landing

MCC

Equipment & Service

544

Center

McLube Div. of McGee Industries

822

METYX Composites

1231

Micro Air

651

Milyon SA

547

Mistras Group Inc.

1208

Nederman LLC

1248

Netzsch Instruments North America

660

Nexeo Solutions

1000

Olympus

1138

Owens Corning Composite Materials

522

Performance Polymer Solutions Inc. (P2SI)

973

PCCR USA Inc.

1101

Performance Minerals

812

Corp.

Potters Industries LLC

1163

PPG

Industries Inc.

827

Precision Drive Systems

1222

Precision Fabrics

1156

Group Inc.

PRO-SET Inc.

806

Reichhold

600

Reinforced Plastics

649

Releasomers

1207

REXCO Mold Care Products

922

R.J. Marshall Co., The

701

SAERTEX USA LLC

716

Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering (SAMPE)

514

SCIGRIP Smarter Adhesive

504

Solutions

Scott Bader Inc.

1061

Sicomin

766

Sika Corp.

1127

SMOOTH-ON Inc.

1241

Solvent Recovery Systems

725

Spheretex America Inc.

655h

Structural Composites

915

SWORL (div. of Prairie Technology)

845

Taconic

1227

Technology Marketing Inc.

548

Teijin Aramid USA Inc.

516

The M.F. Cachat Co.

1206

Thermocoax

666

Thermwood Corp.

1154

3A Composites/Baltek Inc.

1245

3M

538

Toho Tenax America Inc.

517

Tricel Honeycomb

811

TSE Industries

554

Tyvarian International LLC

510

Unicomposite Technology

1072

Co. Ltd.

United Initiators SPI Inc.

717

United Soybean Board

618

Vectorply Corp.

1039

Ventilation Solutions

1016

Warm Industrial

1209

Nonwovens

Watkins & Associates Inc.

616

Wisconsin Oven Corp.

1223

Wm. T. Burnett & Co.

1232

Xamax Industries

549

ACMA COMPOSITES 2013 Preview

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Show Coverage

COMPOSITESWORLD.COM Show Coverage SPE ACCE 2012 Source | CT / Photo | Mike Musselman REVIEW Bursting

SPE

ACCE

2012

Source | CT / Photo | Mike Musselman

REVIEW

Bursting at the seams, the 12 th annual Society of Plastic Engineers’ Automotive Composites Conference and Exhibition tops its previous bests.

T he 12 th annual Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) Automo- tive Composites Conference and Exhibition (ACCE), held Sept. 11-13, took on much more of the look and feel of an

exhibition this year at the Michigan State University (MSU) Man- agement Education Center (MEC) in Troy, Mich. ACCE organiz- ers appropriated space historically used to accommodate the daily luncheons and opened those areas up to exhibitors. The luncheons were moved out to the MSU patio area in a massive tented space. The result was a substantial increase in exhibition area. Conference organizers reported that the 2012 event broke the previous attendance record (504 in 2011) with 636 registrations — a 21 percent increase. Although that was good news, it was clear to SPE’s Automotive and Composites divisions that the MEC is no longer big enough to contain this growing automotive event. In a postevent announcement, SPE revealed that the 13 th SPE ACCE will be held at the larger Diamond Center, in Novi, Mich. Creig Bowland, a senior research associate at glass-fiber suppli- er PPG Industries (Pittsburgh, Pa.), who served as the conference chair last year, took another turn in that position for 2012, oversee- ing a slate of 70 peer-reviewed paper presentations, two panel dis- cussions and five keynote speakers. And organizers also offered two postconference tours: one to the new Plasan Carbon Composites facility in nearby Wixom, and the other across the Canadian border to the new Fraunhofer Project Centre for Composites Research at Western University (London, Ontario).

PREFORMS IN THE PERFORMANCE TRACK

Preforms were a hot topic this year. Two full sessions were de- voted to new technologies in this area. For example, Dan Buckley of American GFM Corp. (Chesapeake, Va.) highlighted his com- pany’s light-curable binder, which reportedly cures in less than one second on simple, low-cost tooling. The light cure can be varied to selectively control stiffness where needed, and the preform can be combined with cores or with thermoplastic skins. He emphasized the importance of drapability, or, as he preferred, “conformability,” which is key to a successfully formed preform. Lee Harper of Nottingham University (Nottingham, U.K.) dis- cussed new work in producing carbon fiber preforms by spray- ing discontinuous fibers with binder, similar to Ford Motor Co.’s

The MSU Management Education Center auditorium was the largest of three ACCE speaker venues. Each was the site for a sizable number of the 70 speaker presentations.

site for a sizable number of the 70 speaker presentations. (Detroit, Mich.) P4 preforming method, originally

(Detroit, Mich.) P4 preforming method, originally developed in the early 1990s with Owens Corning (Toledo, Ohio) and Aplica- tor System AB (Mölnlycke, Sweden). Harper and his research team have created a process simulation tool to help predict sprayed fi- ber preform performance and then optimize the method. They also have developed a way to orient fibers during the spray process yet maintain fast fiber throughput. The oriented preforms deliver the same stiffness as continuous unidirectional tow, with good strength retention, claims Harper. Other materials, such as fabrics, can be in- corporated, offering a lower material cost option for molding high- performance structural parts. Sigmatex High Technology Fabric’s (Benicia, Calif.) Jonah Jimenez discussed his company’s ability to weave custom preforms using a high-speed, three-dimensional Stäubli (Duncan, S.C.) Jac- quard machine. Although he had to admit that the weaving process adds cost, Jimenez pointed out that material can be quickly and continuously produced in long rolls and in multiple shapes and fi- ber types at a price approaching that of 2-D fabrics. Interest also was high in a paper presented by Tommy Fristedt of LayStitch Technologies (Highland, Mich.) on a tailored fiber placement technique that produces a flat preform in a process he likened to printing, using stitched carbon tows for local reinforce- ment. The company claims almost zero waste, because the preform can be stitched and layed down exactly as needed, and stitching can be selective for maximum conformability. The company’s products have been used by Airbus for aircraft window frames, and Fristedt believes the low cost and improved speed, as well as the ability to incorporate electronic wires, for example, can yield cost-effective preforms for automotive applications.

THE VIRTUES OF VIRTUAL ENGINEERING

The conference theme, “Unleashing the Power of Design,” was best exemplified by the four sessions devoted to “Virtual Prototyping and Testing of Composites.” Fifteen speakers outlined the state of virtual design and development, and they explored both the strengths and

Show Coverage

Show Coverage remaining limitations of soft ware-based modeling and testing that reduce or eliminate the need

remaining limitations of software-based modeling and testing that reduce or eliminate the need for expensive iterative make-it-and- break-it development cycles. Dr. Mike Wyzgoski, a consultant to the American Chemistry Council (ACC), led off the sessions with an encouraging report that set the tone for the others as he described ACC-enabled initiatives to apply “predictive engineering” to long-fiber reinforced thermo- plastics. Wyzgoski emphasized the role of time in the progress of virtual engineering. Short-fiber thermoplastics, now a staple in the auto industry, are well characterized, he noted, but long-fiber ther- moplastics, a comparatively new approach, simply haven’t had the history yet that permits those who write and use the software to build the mathematical models necessary to simulate part perfor- mance and render predictions of actual performance that are ac- curate and reliable. ACC is “building bridges” between the U.S. Department of En- ergy (DoE), Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL, Oak Ridge, Tenn.) and others to expedite the mathematical modeling process. He reported that the work is close to producing commercially ap- plicable software. In one project, for example, researchers in a study called “Engineering Property Prediction Tools for Tailored Polymer Composite Structures” — funded by the DoE, ORNL and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL, Richland, Wash.) — com- bined forces with software writers from Autodesk (San Rafael, Ca- lif.) to develop models for predicting the extent of breakage during compounding and injection and the final fiber length in the part. Autodesk is now negotiating to incorporate the fiber length predic- tion models into its AMSA Mold Flow software. Wyzgoski outlined a number of other active efforts toward these ends that should soon bear fruit, noting that ACC sees its job as shak- ing the tree. “We’ve tried to plug gaps not covered by government funding,” he explains, noting that the ACC is “helping arrange funding and coordination for case studies of actual three-dimensional parts.”

SHORTENING THE THERMOSET CURE CYCLE

Also much discussed were advances in thermoset chemistries aimed at rapid processing. Roman Hillermeier of Momentive Spe- cialty Chemicals GmbH (Iserlohn, Germany) discussed a way to accelerate structural part cure with a new-generation epoxy resin formulated with a latent short cycle; the resin cures in five min- utes but maintains a lower viscosity for a four-times longer resin injection window in a gap impregnation resin transfer mold- ing (RTM) process while delivering a higher T g and a Class A finish. The new Momen- tive EPIKOTE resin (with EPIKURE curing agent), intended for carbon fiber automotive parts and at least 50 percent fiber volume, is aimed at automated, high-volume produc- tion. At the show, the company also offered an even faster-curing epoxy, EPIKOTE Resin 05475. Its two-minute cure cycle still allows for complete fiber wetting and mold

fill, and it delivers good mechanical proper- ties in the finished part.

R&D ON HIGH-PRESSURE RTM

A related area of high interest was the series of speakers involved in

R&D on increasing the injection speed in RTM processes to satisfy OEM automotive production rates. Raman Chaudhari, from the Fraunhofer-Institut für Chemische Technologie (ICT, Pfinztal, Ger- many), presented the results of his Ph.D research on the subject of high-pressure RTM. Noting from the outset that the process “isn’t ready for prime time,” he identified three process aspects that still

need work: the preforming process, the injection sequence and the

cure cycle. The high pressure and high resin-flow rate displace fibers

in the preform, and the length of time needed to wet out the pre-

form precludes the use of available fast-cure resins. A process variant, high-pressure compression RTM, leaves a gap between the preform and upper tool, permitting the resin to flow over the preform’s top surface. The mold closes after the preform is covered and forces the

resin into the preform while it consolidates the laminate. In tests, this method reduced injection time from 30 seconds to 7.5 seconds. Another presenter, Dr. Lolei Karine Kohun of the National Re- search Council Canada (Ottawa, Ontario), reported that her re- search, which compared high-pressure RTM (HP RTM) and high- pressure compression RTM, resulted in an even faster injection time for the latter. Using injection pressures from 6 to 15 MPa, compared

to

about 1 MPa for conventional RTM; a quadraxial noncrimp fabric

in

the preform, with up to 6 percent binder to prevent fiber wash; a

Voraforce epoxy resin (Dow Automotive, Midland, Mich.) formu- lated to withstand 300°C/572°F temperatures; and a mold tempera- ture of 100°C/212°F to reduce the resin viscosity and accelerate cure, the injection time was one minute, with complete cure in five min- utes. Further, the compression RTM alternative showed little deg- radation in mechanical properties at increasingly faster cycle times, while an HP RTM process without the compression feature exhibit- ed a definite downtrend in properties as injection speeds increased. The downtrend was attributed to the higher percentage of binder required to prevent fiber wash in HP RTM. The binder interrupted resin flow, creating voids. Experiments with vacuum assistance and reduced binder content, however, improved properties.

A VISION FOR VISIONARY DESIGN

Great advances are almost always the result of what pundits like to call “disruptive technologies.” ACCE had what one might char-

“disruptive technologies.” ACCE had what one might char- A strong roster of presenters in the area
A strong roster of presenters in the area of Virtual Prototyping and Testing outlined progress
A strong roster of presenters in the area of Virtual Prototyping and Testing outlined progress made
recently in the fast-growing field of predictive engineering.
Source | CT / Photo | Mike Musselman
CT DECEMBER 2012

| CT / Photo | Mike Musselman Source | CT / Photo | Mike MusselmanSource

COMPOSITESWORLD.COM

Show Coverage

| Mike MusselmanSource COMPOSITESWORLD.COM Show Coverage At right, Gary Lownsdale (Plasan Carbon Composites,
| Mike MusselmanSource COMPOSITESWORLD.COM Show Coverage At right, Gary Lownsdale (Plasan Carbon Composites,

At right, Gary Lownsdale (Plasan Carbon Composites, Bennington, Vt.) enjoys some good-natured kidding at the hands of Antony Dodworth (Dodworth Design, Buckingham, U.K.) about his passionate defense of composites during the first of the ACCE’s two panel discussions.

during the first of the ACCE’s two panel discussions. acterize as a disruptive keynote speaker. Oliver

acterize as a disruptive keynote speaker. Oliver Kuttner, CEO and co-owner of start-up automaker Edison2 (Lynchburg, Va.), spoke on the less than self-explanatory subject of “Correct Primary Deci- sions Leading to Positive Feedback Loops.” What conference-goers got, however, was memorable: not just a challenge to think outside the box, but a clear and kindly call to be done with the box and start over. Kuttner noted that many ACCE participants were addressing issues raised by the recently solidified new CAFE standard (54.5 mpge), and he asked how many in the auditorium were aware of the impending European carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) standards, slated for en- actment in 2016. Few raised their hands. CAFE standards, he said, are both footprint dependent (that is, the standard is eased for larger vehicles) and escapable (auto OEMs can draw a bye simply by paying the per-vehicle fine). Kuttner assumed that some automakers would simply consider it a cost of doing business to pay fines rather than comply. For that reason, he contended, the CO 2 standard is the real worry. It is nonnegotiable and absolute, and it will have to be met. He doubted that current lightweighting efforts would get automak- ers into compliance. “Trim here, trim there, will not be enough,” he warned. “And even if we do all that trimming, and it costs a fortune, and even if we get there, what do we do after that? We’ve exhausted all options. At some point, there’s nowhere to go.” Kuttner proposed, based on his experience as the winner of the recent Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize with a vehicle that averaged more than 100 mpge, that the alternative for auto OEMs

CW staffer Sara Black (right) speaks with Roman Hillermeier, a
CW
staffer Sara Black (right) speaks with Roman Hillermeier, a

representative of exhibitor and cocktail reception sponsor Momentive Performance Materials (Albany, N.Y.)

sponsor Momentive Performance Materials (Albany, N.Y.) is to fundamentally reinvent the automobile and quickly

is to fundamentally reinvent the automobile and quickly produce an

extremely fuel-efficient car as a niche vehicle (as few as 4,000 units). This would buy margin in the OEM’s CAFE average, he argued, and

the lessons learned would inform efforts to meet inflexible CO 2 regu-

lations. Four years ago, he and his team set out to do just that. Despite the fact that 65 cars were entered into the X Prize competition, he claimed that only two made the finals — both were his. Kuttner showed off a 50-lb/22.7-kg front suspension assembly de- veloped for his winning cars. Noting that one of the talking points at the conference was the expense of dealing with coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) mismatches and other issues at “connection points” where composites meet metal, he pointed out that the assembly has only two attachment points to the body in white. All the suspension

is in the wheel. Eliminating the strut tower, he explained, opens up

the auto interior. The suspension system, reportedly proven in 24- hour rally racing under brutal conditions, marked the “first domino to fall,” Kuttner claims, in a long series of rethinking and reworking

steps that led to a car that could, with a steel frame, get 129 mpge. And Kuttner told attendees that each of these technologies are for sale. He challenged automakers to think not only about next year’s model, but a model for the next decade. He suggested they envision

a car, for example, whose owner (or, potentially, time renter) plugs

in a personal tablet computer that interlocks with the cars ignition (thus preventing theft) and diagnostic systems and also displays data once read from now absent dashboard gauges. Kuttner called for a radical rethinking of how to combine technologies in like manner to

avoid duplication and thereby save significant cost.

MULTI-MATERIAL VEHICLES: NO MINCED WORDS

Immediately following Kuttner’s keynote address, he and five others assembled on the dais for the first — and most lively — of two panel discussions on the subject of the “Multi-Material Vehicle.” Modera- tor Lindsay Brooke, senior editor of Automotive Engineering Maga- zine (SAE International, Warrendale, Pa.), questioned panelists on the subject of Design and Assembly. The panelists included Kuttner; Saad Abouzahr, senior manager, materials engineering, at Chrysler Group LLC (Auburn Hills, Mich.); Dr. Antony Dodworth, managing director at Dodworth Design (Birmingham, U.K.); Dr. Jay Baron, president, CEO and chairman of the board of the not-for-profit Center for Auto- motive Research (CAR, Ann Arbor, Mich.); Gary Lownsdale, director of R&D and engineering at Plasan Carbon Composites (Bennington, Vt.); Tom Pilette, VP of product and process development for Magna Exteriors and Interiors (Troy, Mich.); and Dr. George Ritter, technol- ogy director at the Edison Welding Institute (EWI, Columbus, Ohio). When asked to define the term “multi-material car,” Abouzahr, Dodworth and Baron pointed first to autos as we know them. Steel has, to some extent, been replaced by aluminum, plastics and com- posites. However, Abouzahr noted that the challenge ahead is to re- place steel with lighter materials in the body in white, calling it “the last frontier.” Dodworth noted that the new Porsche has seven mate- rials, and the Audi A2 sports 23 kg/50.7 lb of carbon fiber compos- ites. Baron pointed out that the challenge, going forward, is the CTE differences between materials that must be joined and then painted. Kuttner agreed, noting that vastly reducing the number of connect- ing points through redesign of the vehicle architecture will be a key

Source | CT / Photo | Mike Musselman

CT DECEMBER 2012

to multi-material compatibility. He envisioned a radical re-engi- neering of the automobile that will launch a “golden age” to come. Lownsdale noted that sports cars, such as GM’s Chevrolet Corvette and Chrysler’s Dodge Viper, have been multi-materials showcases for years. He pointed out that weight reduction, in fact, has been a recurring theme since the 1960s and noted that each time the topic came up, joinery was an issue. He recalled his work on early Saturns, which incorporated thermoplastic fenders and door panels on an otherwise steel body, and fasteners were the critical factor. Agreeing with Kuttner, Lownsdale predicted, “In this decade, materials and ar- chitecture will both count.” Ritter, a joinery expert, agreed that joints are critical and noted that the EWI “phone is ringing” already with requests for assistance on joinery issues. When Brooke broached the subject of recent partnerships of OEMs with carbon fiber producers, Abouzahr noted the reluctance he saw firsthand at Chrysler when early composites efforts didn’t work, recalling one time when he suggested a plastic engine mani- fold at a meeting only to be asked to leave. He recalled a time when an RTM process proved unready and a part was made, instead, from aluminum. He noted that today the OEM still does not know composites technology and is reaching out to those who do. Baron pointed out that most OEMs are staffed by mechanical engineers, not chemical engineers, who know little about resins and other subcomponents of composites. “So this is a barrier. You need to get the steel, aluminum and composite people together — not work- ing separately but together to bring all the material options into the fold,” he said, adding, “Obviously, the government will have take a big part in that.” It will require, he added, “all kinds of cooperative efforts. There is no one solution. You have to find compatible people who can come together and work on this.” Lownsdale saw, in that, the need for education. “You have to spend time conveying what you’ve learned to the engineers who actually do the work,” he said, insisting, “Mechanical engineers can understand polymers!” He argued that they would, in fact, bring to the discussion a fresh perspective. “They approach material differently than chemi- cal engineers,” he said, but contended, “That’s an advantage, thinking about the material mechanics on a chemical level.” As automakers combine materials into a subsystem, he predicted that “cross-polli- nation” will create a knowledge base that could extend back to the design engineer. That, he said, is “the only way it will work.” Fireworks were lit, however, when Abouzahr suggested that pro- ponents of structural and Class A auto composites still bear the bur- den of proof that composites and composite molding processes can indeed produce parts of sufficient quality fast enough to meet OEM expectations and be adaptable to OEM paint lines. Until then, he said, OEMs are unlikely to make a wholesale commitment. Lownsdale took strenuous objection to that characterization, noting that his own com- pany has a very cordial and close relationship with his company’s Viper program and has already demonstrated technology sufficient to satisfy those demands. He pointed out that Plasan has a 17-minute (layup to primed part) production process in place and is close to a shorter 11-minute process. He claimed that it is possible to mold the part in as few as two minutes, noting that when other steps of the process (not directly composites-related) catch up with that, the entire process can be downsized time-wise to incorporate the shorter mold cycle.

Show Coverage

to incorporate the shorter mold cycle. Show Coverage The ACCE’s panel discussion on day two considered
to incorporate the shorter mold cycle. Show Coverage The ACCE’s panel discussion on day two considered

The ACCE’s panel discussion on day two considered the topic “Predictive Analysis of Multi-Material Automotive Structures.” Doug Smock (far left) medical content editor at Plastics Today (Los Angeles, Calif.), moderated the discussion between (left to right) Roger Assaker, CEO and cofounder of e-Xstream Engineering (Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium); Olivier Moriset, general manager of industry strategy and innovation at ESI North America (Farmington Hills, Mich.); Dr. Hannes Fuchs, senior engineer at Multimatic Engineering (Detroit, Mich.); Mark Minnichelli, director of commercial technology at BASF Corp. (Greenville, Ohio); Tim Palmer, presales manager at MSC.Software Corp. (Santa Ana, Calif.) and Jeff Webb, the instrument panel and console technical specialist at Ford Motor Co. (Dearborn, Mich.).

technical specialist at Ford Motor Co. (Dearborn, Mich.). Baron made a cogent point, however, when he

Baron made a cogent point, however, when he contended, “The best part is no part.” He went on to explain that innovative part con- solidation is a huge benefit offered by composite materials. Fewer parts overall vastly reduces the time and the number of discrete steps and critical joints necessary to produce them.

CARBON FIBER SUPPLY & DEMAND, REVISITED

As always at such events, the panelists were asked a perennial ques- tion: As aerospace programs consume increasing quantities of carbon fiber, will there be enough supply for automakers? Ritter noted that the opportunity for significant carbon fiber use is greater than ever before. Although the steel industry has been aggressive in designing alloys that can be made thinner, Ritter noted that strategy can only go so far. Lownsdale applauded the recent alliances and partnerships that virtually every automotive OEM has made with a carbon fiber producer to ensure its supply. And, he added, what is really happen- ing at this point is judicious use of smaller quantities of carbon fiber where needed — not entire bodies. Elsewhere during the event, ORNL’s Cliff Eberle discussed his or- ganization’s efforts to develop alternative carbon precursors, includ- ing lignin and polyolefin. The lab’s new carbon fiber line is slated to open in February 2013. And presenter George Husman of Zoltek Corp. (St. Louis, Mo.) asserted that most molders are struggling with process — that is, finding the most effective and efficient way to make carbon parts. He believes that a carbon fiber-filled sheet molding compound (SMC) shows much promise, because of its lower density than glass at the same fiber content, and he said that thinner parts are possible with carbon fiber. He also discussed the use of unidirectional continuous fibers in selective reinforcement of a low-cost, injection molded part. “We need more creative design for manufacturing,” Husman summed up. | CT |

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COMPOSITESWORLD.COM

Show Coverage
Show Coverage
IBEX 2012
IBEX
2012
REVIEW
REVIEW

Source | IBEX

Under the banner “The Future of Marine Technology,” the 22 nd International BoatBuilders’ expo confronts a brave new world.

T he marine industry’s largest technical trade event was held, again this year, far inland along the Ohio River, at the Kentucky Exposition Center (Louisville, Ky.). The Interna-

tional BoatBuilders’ Exhibition (IBEX) was cohosted Oct. 2-4 by

Brooklin, Maine-based Professional BoatBuilder magazine and the National Marine Manufacturers Assn. (NMMA, Washington, D.C.). IBEX opened this year with a keynote address by Steve M. Murdock, former director of the U.S. Census Bureau. He set the tone for the exhibition’s examination of the marine market’s future by discussing how demographic trends in the U.S. population could affect boating. He suggested the boat market could double in size

if the industry could increase boat buying among Hispanics to the

same level it has achieved among non-Hispanics. The NMMA added

a special market intelligence session that featured economists and

market specialists in fishing, outdoor sports and boating. NMMA president Tom Dammrich noted that boat sales are continuing to rise in most marine segments. This was confirmed by Matt Cham- bers, president of Marine Concepts (Cape Coral, Fla.), who cited an increase in new model development across boat types and sizes, from kayaks and ski boats to high-performance craft and models

from 40 to 50 ft in length. To keep up, Chambers says, his company

is expanding into a new location and has purchased its sixth CNC

machine, supplied by PaR Systems (Shoreview, Minn.), to meet demand for faster cutting, tighter tolerances and the ability to cut carbon fiber and other hard-to-cut materials. Many exhibitors noted that IBEX attendance (up just 1 percent over 2011) reflected the continued sluggishness in the marine mar-

Composites One’s Closed Mold Alliance attracted throngs again this year with outdoor infusion molding demonstrations.
Composites One’s Closed Mold Alliance attracted throngs again this year
with outdoor infusion molding demonstrations.
Source | IBEX

Although attendance (up 1 percent vs. 2011) mirrored the still sluggish marine industry, exhibitors CT visited said it was the best IBEX event in three years but also indicated that the peaks that once followed industry slow-downs could be a thing of the past.

followed industry slow-downs could be a thing of the past. ket, and though they continue to

ket, and though they continue to see positive signs, they believe the peaks that once followed industry slowdowns are a thing of the past. Comments were made that this was the best IBEX in three years (see Fig. 1 & 3 for comparisons), and there was surprise, as well, at the lack of talk about the new styrene labeling rule now in effect and its possible implications for the industry. IBEX composites seminars continued to look forward, urging the industry to continue its improvement in materials, design and processing, with special emphasis on vacuum infusion process- ing and curing (e.g., “Vacuum Bag Basics,” “Cure Cycles and Post Curing,” and “Vacuum Infusion for Carbon Fiber Laminates”). In addition to the technical focus, presenters looked at marketing op- portunities overseas (“Global Production BoatBuilding”) and how manufacturers can improve efficiency and costs, in sessions titled

FIGURE

1

IBEX 2012 SHOW STATISTICS

• 100,000 ft 2 of exhibit space

• 520 exhibitors from 12 countries

• 4,701 attendees from 31 countries and 46 states

• 92 technical & business seminars

• 120 marine industry expert speakers

• 16 free workshops

FIGURE

 

Cores &

Prefab.

2

Cores

Reinforcements

Structures

B3 SmartPac (SP High Modulus)

 

 

Compsys

   

(Melbourne, FL)

DIAB

   

Mahogany Composites (Mays Landing, NJ)

 

NIDA CORE (3M)

   

Plascore (Zeeland, MI)

   

CT DECEMBER 2012

FIGURE

 

3

IBEX BY THE NUMBERS

Year

Exhibitors

Visitors

2006

820

4,509

2007

900

4,570

2008

750

3,924

2009

470

4,567

2010

546

5,161

2011

556

4,672

2012

520

4,701

Although boatbuilders and other marine manufacturers have returned to IBEX in the wake of the recent recession — this year’s attendance is higher than the two best years before the recession — exhibiting companies are still recovering from the blow.

— exhibiting companies are still recovering from the blow. Source | www.tradeonlytoday.com “Plant Layout,” “Cost

Source | www.tradeonlytoday.com

“Plant Layout,” “Cost and Efficiency of Resin Infusion,” and “Light- weight Composite Technology for Improving Efficiency.” And one seminar focused exclusively on composites regulatory issues. Notably, Composites Consulting Group (DeSoto, Texas) pre- sented test results that compared single-bag vs. double-bag vacuum infusion in an attempt to determine what, if any, value the latter may have for marine applications. The Group noted that single-bag infusion with tight process control and double-bag infusion were shown to deliver roughly the same result; but presenters agreed that the sample — 10 test pieces —was too small to be statistically con- clusive. Additional testing is under consideration.

ON THE SHOW FLOOR

Increasing efficiency through better use of materials and labor was also the trend among Composites Pavilion exhibitors. Kitting was

a common theme (see Fig. 2 on p. 20), spreading beyond reinforce-

ments and cores to prefabricated stringers and bulkheads, as well as precut and preseamed vacuum bag materials. Other efficiency innovations on exhibit included tools with vacuum capability to remove debris and reduce consumables (see Dynabrade item, p. 22) and adhesives designed to replace the labor of mechanical fasteners (see ITW Plexus item, p. 22). Among the first-time exhibitors in the Pavilion were two long- time marine industry composites suppliers — French Canadian resin source Tri-Tex and Japan-based ACMOS Inc., represented by its U.S. sales office in Maryland — and a surfacing veil supplier, Creatis LLC, from Indiana. The CT staff found these and other exhibits of interest to marine composites manufacturers on the show floor, of which the follow- ing is a notable sampling.

SEMIPERMANENT MOLD RELEASES

With a 26-year history in the U.S., ACMOS Inc. (Lutherville, Md.),

a supplier of mold release systems compatible with urethane, poly-

ester, vinyl ester and epoxy resins, exhibited its semipermanent release systems for the first time at IBEX. In the spotlight was its new ACMOScoat 82-9100, which reportedly saves 30 percent in

application time by enabling more demolded parts per application. With its headquarters in Nomura, Japan, the company has facilities located in Bremen, Germany, in addition to offices in Lutherville and nearby Hanover, Md. www.acmos.com

Show Coverage

and nearby Hanover, Md. www.acmos.com Show Coverage BREATHER STRIPS FOR VACUUM INFUSION Airtech International

BREATHER STRIPS FOR VACUUM INFUSION

Airtech International (Huntington Beach, Calif.) introduced its MC-79 vacuum breather strip. According to the company, it simpli- fies vacuum bagging and helps control flow in resin infusion. Made from Dahltexx SP-2 fabric, this strip material helps to ensure wet out and avoids dry patches by providing even vacuum distribu- tion over the part for efficient air removal. It can be applied over the surface of a laminate with no resin bleed out and little mark-off; or it can be used with a localized vacuum source to draw resin into dry areas or to avoid dry patches via stringer top vacuum manifolds. www.airtechonline.com

via stringer top vacuum manifolds. www.airtechonline.com MOLDING COMPOUND CORE SUBSTITUTE ATC Formulated Polymers

MOLDING COMPOUND CORE SUBSTITUTE

ATC Formulated Polymers Inc. (Burlington, Ontario, Canada) an- nounced type approval for its Core-Bond family of products by the marine vessel classification society the American Bureau of Ship- ping (ABS, Houston, Texas). ATC’s CEO, Jean-Pascal Schroeder,

(ABS, Houston, Texas). ATC’s CEO, Jean-Pascal Schroeder, AIREX T92.80 SealX, a sealed version of 3A Composites’
AIREX T92.80 SealX, a sealed version of 3A Composites’ AIREX T92 thermoplastic PET foam, reportedly
AIREX T92.80 SealX, a sealed version of 3A Composites’
AIREX T92 thermoplastic PET foam, reportedly offers the lowest
foam resin uptake during infusion. Used in the carbon/epoxy
sandwich hulls of the 50-ft/15m Fifty-Fifty catamaran, it helped
minimize weight, enabling the yacht to break a longstanding speed
record in Hungary’s 2012 Balaton Lake Regatta.
Source | Plascore

COMPOSITESWORLD.COM

Show Coverage

COMPOSITESWORLD.COM Show Coverage also discussed how a variety of boatbuilders are experimenting with POLY-BOND B55LV

also discussed how a variety of boatbuilders are experimenting with POLY-BOND B55LV Molding Compound to reduce material and labor cost in the production of various parts. Campion Boats (Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada), for example, is replacing core with B55LV in hatches that are gel coated on both sides us- ing a low-pressure displacement molding process (also known as squish molding) to eliminate consumables and reduce tooling costs for simple parts. Campion claims additional savings by eliminating skin layer reinforcements without print-through issues. Schroeder says other builders are using B55LV in hard tops and door tops and are experimenting with it as a substitute for syntactic core, saying it offers a lightweight, tappable material with reportedly twice the screw retention of plywood. www.atc-fp.com

HANDS-ON TRAINING COURSES

CCP Composites (Kansas City, Mo.) publicized its CCP University, an annual schedule of more than eight hands-on training courses offered across the country, with topics including Tooling Construc- tion, Gelcoat Application and Patching and Closed Molding/LRTM/ CCBM/VIP. The company also provides the industry-renowned Cookbook applications guide, which is now available digitally on CD- ROM and via its Web site at www.ccpcompositesus.com.

UNIQUELY PATTERNED CARBON FIBER WOVENS

Composite Fabrics of America (CFA, Taylorsville, N.C.) exhibited its TEX- TRAL 3K and 12K carbon fiber fabrics in standard widths to 80 inches/203 cm (greater widths, custom), with “unique” weaves that create visual impact. Al- though CFA is only three years old, it says it benefits from the more than 90 years of textile experience acquired by parent Schneider Mills (New York, N.Y., and Taylorsville). “Le- veraging our parent company’s extensive weaving expertise, we have developed technologies enabling us to weave carbon, aramid and other advanced fibers into fabric patterns that are both struc- turally sound and aesthetically striking,” said regional sales director Jack Loudermilk. CFA supplies all of the traditional composite fab- rics, plus more than 30 different exotic TEXTRAL weaves, and can create customer-exclusive designs like logos. www.cfamills.com

SPRAYABLE, REUSABLE RUBBER VACUUM BAG MATERIALS

Distributor Composites One (Arlington Heights, Ill.) continued its annual Closed Mold Alliance demonstrations and promoted the newest addition to its wide array of closed molding materials and equipment options: SPRAYOMER nonsilicone reusable vacuum bag materials. Manufacturer SR Composites (Henderson, Nev.) lent testimony to SPRAYOMER’s advantages, which come from using modified natural rubbers with extreme tear-resistance and flex- ibility, enabling the formation of reusable bags that are reportedly thinner and lighter than silicone bags, with a typical payback vs. disposable bags at 25 to 30 cycles for parts of practically any size

or shape. The base material is biodegradable and renewable, with a carbon footprint estimated at 50 percent that of synthetic rubber. www.compositesone.com

COMPOSITE STRUCTURAL AND INFUSION FLOW ANALYSES

Composites Consulting Group (CCG, the consulting arm of DIAB, DeSoto, Texas) highlighted its work in flow modeling analy- sis, done in conjunction with Vectorworks Marine (Titusville, Fla.) on the latter’s 145-ft River Hawk patrol boat, which features what is

Source | Vectorworks Marine
Source | Vectorworks Marine

believed to be the largest infused hull to date (see photo), and the M10 hovercraft. The M10 relies on 10-ft/3m diameter, all-carbon- fiber propeller ducts that weigh in at only 210 lb/95.3 kg each, a feat enabled by CCG’s analytical consulting expertise (see also En- gineered Bonding Solutions item, p. 23). www.ccg-composites.com

DECORATED SURFACING VEILS

Creatis LLC (Millersburg, Ind.) offered its Phantom Veil polyester and glass fiber surfacing veils, available printed with one of more than 30 “standard” and “nonstandard” designs (e.g., camouflage, brick, marble, sandstone and a variety of wood grains) or with a custom design, such as a logo. The company offers 1m 2 /10.8-ft 2 samples, short lead times and has a one-roll (100m 2 /1,076-ft 2 ) mini- mum order for standard designs. www.creatisllc.com

DUST/DEBRIS-CAPTURE TOOLS

Dynabrade (Clarence, N.Y.) promoted its extensive line of vacu- um-operated dust- and debris-capture tools, including drills and diamond-wheel cutoff tools, offering reduced consumables costs for composites machining. For example, its orbital sander with vacuum capability reportedly extends the life of the sanding disk by suck- ing debris into the vacuum to prevent disk clogging. A longer disk life also reduces the number of consumable change-outs and boosts overall machining efficiency. www.dynabrade.com

HYBRID URETHANE/SILICONE ADHESIVES

ITW Plexus (Danvers, Mass.) has developed the H-Series product line of one-component, semistructural urethane/silicone (hybrid) sealant adhesives that offer UV-resistance plus excellent elongation and flexibility. Described as a green product line, it is isocyanate- free, with low to no volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The adhe- sives are targeted to replace welds and metal fasteners in secondary structures, aesthetic applications and any applications with exposed bondlines. www.itwplexus.com

CT DECEMBER 2012

STRUCTURAL ADHESIVES

Engineered Bonding Solutions LLC (Titusville, Fla.) celebrated the one-year anniversary of its Acralock adhesives in August. “We are rapidly expanding to meet the interests beyond North America into Asia, Europe and South America,” said company president Matt Brandli, who spotlighted recent marine applications: Sportsman Boats (Summerville, S.C.) uses SA10-100 to bond stringers to the

Source | Vectorworks Marine
Source | Vectorworks Marine

hull and UV-resistant SA10-40WHT for small parts. Vectorworks Marine (Titusville, Fla.) used Acralock structural methacrylates in two foreign military projects, the 145-ft River Hawk patrol boat and two land-and-sea capable 70-ft M10 hovercraft (see photo) for EPS Corp. (Tinton Falls, N.J.). (See also the previous Composites Con- sulting Group item, p. 22). www.acralock.com

COMBINED E-GLASS/E-CR GLASS ROVINGS

Owens Corning Composite Materials (Toledo, Ohio) announced that its OptiSpray roving products are available globally. Designed for spray-up processing in marine, transportation and other ap- plications, OptiSpray products are made with Owens Corning’s patented Advantex glass fiber, which combines the mechanical properties of E-glass with the corrosion-resistance of E-CR glass. OptiSpray’s benefits are said to include easy chopping, rolling and air release; flat lay down and uniform dispersion; and excellent con- formability without spring back, including in challenging vertical parts. www.owenscorning.com

UV-RESISTANT METHACRYLATE ADHESIVES

SCIGRIP Smarter Adhesive Solutions (Durham, N.C.) showcased its SG100-series of UV-resistant, two-part methacrylate adhesives. “The newly reformulated SG100-series delivers superior adhesion properties, while requiring minimal surface preparation for bond- ing a wide range of materials used in boatbuilding and marine ap- plications,” said regional sales manager Kirk Miller. These nonyel- lowing adhesives are intended for bonding composites, metals or thermoplastics, and the reduced surface prep is said to cut labor costs and production cycle times. www.scigrip.com

RECYCLED POLYETHYLENE TEREPHTHALATE FOAM

3A Composites, div. of Schweitzer Technologies Group (Sins, Switzerland) exhibited AIREX T92.80 SealX, a sealed version of its AIREX T92 polyethylene terephthalate (PET) thermoplastic foam. Said to exhibit the lowest resin uptake during infusion, compared not only to other PET cores, but to PVC foam as well, the foam is available in densities from 5 to 12.5 lb/ft 3 (80 to 200 kg/m 3 ). 3A claims this closed-cell foam core with recycled PET content is easy to process with no outgassing. It withstands process temperatures

Show Coverage

outgassing. It withstands process temperatures Show Coverage up to 302°F/150°C and it can off er cost

up to 302°F/150°C and it can offer cost savings, for example, by replacing PVC foam core with an equal-property SealX to reduce resin uptake. The result is said to decrease resin usage and there- fore nets a cost-per-part savings, plus savings in core cost, with minimal impact on component weight (see photo and caption, p. 21).

www.3acomposites.com

EPOXY RESIN SYSTEMS

Tri-Tex (Saint-Eustache, Quebec, Canada) exhibited its East System (the name has a 25-year history and is not related to West System) epoxy laminating and infusion resins, casting resins and fairing compounds. The epoxies include 24 individual systems for either room-temperature or elevated-temperature cure, including filled and unfilled systems and several systems with short-fiber reinforce- ments. www.tritex.com

REINFORCEMENT/FLOW MEDIA COMBO

Vectorply Corp. (Phenix City, Ala.) showed off its VectorCore rein- forcements, which combine structural continuous glass fibers and a highly permeable polypropylene-fiber flow media. Intended for closed molding applications, the combination of glass reinforce- ment and flow media reportedly provides much higher mechanical properties compared to all-chop fiber or continuous filament mats (CFMs). Further, the VectorCore materials are said to have supe- rior conformability and contribute to better surface cosmetics in the finished composite part. www.vectorply.com

EXPAND-IN-PLACE EPOXY FOAM

PRO-SET (Bay City, Mich.) exhibited its M1034/M2037 expand-in-place epoxy foam. When it is mixed, this product creates, in-situ, a closed-cell epoxy foam with very uni- form cell sizes. The expanding epoxy foam can be used as a core for lightweight composite structures. After cure, it will bond with fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP), metals and low-density core materi- als. To date the expanding foam product has been used in boat rud- ders, dagger boards and keel fins, but it also could see applications, says the company, in marine tidal turbine blades and stabilizer fins. www.prosetepoxy.com | CT |

and stabilizer fi ns. www.prosetepoxy.com | C T | Contributing Writer Ginger Gardiner is a freelance
and stabilizer fi ns. www.prosetepoxy.com | C T | Contributing Writer Ginger Gardiner is a freelance

Contributing Writer Ginger Gardiner is a freelance writer and regular CT contributor based in Washington, N.C. ginger@compositesworld.com

Read this article online | http://short.compositesworld.com/Z3QAJ3FL.
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Work in Progress

COMPOSITESWORLD.COM COMPOSITESWORLD.COM Work in Progress WTTC opens upsized Source | Matt Bennett/Massachusetts

WTTC

opens

upsized

Source | Matt Bennett/Massachusetts Governor’s Office

WIND BLADE TEST FACILITY

W ind turbine sizes and, specifically, rotor blade lengths and tower heights are increasing. CT recently high-

lighted power provider Alstom’s (Levallois-Perret Cedex, France) installation of 73.5m/241-ft long blades manufactured by LM Wind Power (Kolding, Denmark) on the world’s largest offshore wind turbine at Carnet, France. Previous CT articles have addressed the 40-year trend toward ever-longer blades, detailed the design criteria that drive the trend, and identified the corresponding design and materials challenges (see “Learn More,” p. 29). Briefly, blade length is growing because turbine power output is proportional to the square of blade length, and blade volume and weight are proportional to the cube of blade length. Practically speaking, longer blades sweep a larger area and, as a result, con- tact a greater volume of available moving air. More wind energy is captured and converted to electricity, which is passed along to the grid. Higher towers, in turn, elevate those longer blades to greater heights, where air speeds are typically faster and possess greater ki- netic energy. These factors influence wind turbine economics. Lon- ger blades mean fewer towers and reduced transportation and in- stallation expenses for a given designed power output. This reduces the overall cost of generated electricity per kW/hr. And minimizing

Fig. 1: Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick (at podium) and (far right, front row) Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and WTTC executive director Rahul Yarala, and (back row, left) Congressmen Mike Capuano and Ed Markey were among those in attendance at the May 18, 2011, opening ceremony.

those in attendance at the May 18, 2011, opening ceremony. the number of towers is of

the number of towers is of particular interest to offshore wind farm operators due to the high installation and maintenance costs in of- ten demanding marine environments. Finding the optimum balance between blade length, turbine cost and power output is the ongoing challenge, and, in the latter half of this century’s first decade, it became increasingly difficult, due to the inherent size and capability limitations of the world’s wind blade testing facilities. Testing is essential to meet the design, optimization and commercialization challenges associated with longer blades. An urgent need for testing facilities capable of validating designs and providing certification testing for blades as long as 100m/328 ft was recognized both in the U.S. and Europe.

SCALING UP FOR THE FUTURE

Several proposed blade testing labs that could meet this need were described in CT’s April 2010 issue (see “Learn More”). In the U.S.,

Work in Progress

Fig. 2: Exterior view of the WTTC’s massive large-blade testing facility (parked autos show scale).
Fig. 2: Exterior view of the WTTC’s massive large-blade testing facility (parked autos show
scale).
Source | Matt Bennett/Massachusetts Governor’s Office

and allows actuators to be placed so the blade can be fatigued in the flapwise and edgewise directions simultaneously. In addition, new techniques like Ground Resonance Excitation (GREX) are being developed. GREX employs floor-coupled hydraulics to provide greater flexibility for testing longer blades while maintain- ing relatively higher test frequencies. This is well suited for 40m/13-ft and longer blades that may have low stiffness where blade-mounted actuators can be less effective. The highest test frequency that can be achieved also helps keep the test duration as short as possible.

also helps keep the test duration as short as possible. the Wind Technology Testing Center (WTTC,

the Wind Technology Testing Center (WTTC, Boston, Mass.) opened on May 18, 2011 (see Figs. 1-3). It is the only lab in the U.S. that can test blades up to 90m/295-ft long. This $35 million to $40 million facility was built quickly and is owned and operated by the WTTC Division of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC, Boston, Mass.). Key partners include the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL, Golden, Colo.). Major funding for the project came from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Trust.

In addition to creating roughly 300 construc- tion and engineering jobs in Massachusetts, this investment is supporting innovation in the U.S. wind industry and further development of offshore wind resources. Two other testing facilities capable of handling these long blades have commenced operations in Europe (see sidebar, p. 26). The WTTC is a large — 33.6m by 100.8m by 24.4m (110 ft by 330 ft by 80 ft) — temperature-controlled facility located on a site that was previously a scrap metal yard. This site was contaminated with petroleum, polychlorinated biphenyls, metals and volatile organic

compounds, which necessitated remediation and extensive permit- ting, and these obligations affected the design of the lab. But its location offers transportation ad- vantages that, in the long term, will overcome the costs of permitting and construction because cus- tomers can ship large blades to WTTC on barges. This capability was cited by TPI Composites Inc. (Scottsdale, Ariz.) as one reason why the blade- maker opened its new blade R&D and prototyping plant in nearby Fall River, Mass., in 2010.

Fig. 3: This interior view of the WTTC shows a blade attached to one of
Fig. 3: This interior view of the WTTC shows a blade attached to one of the lab’s three blade
root mounting fixtures. On the right is a larger, unoccupied blade-mounting fixture, showing the
range of root diameters each fixture can accommodate.
Source | Rahul Yarala/WTTC
CT DECEMBER 2012

TESTING PARAMETERS

Wind turbine manufacturers and designers need static and dynamic performance data for their blades. This is reflected in current industry standards, such as IEC 61400-23, and in manu- facturers’ test protocols. To simulate a 20-year service life, the testing lab must mechanically initiate up to 5 million fatigue cycles in the edge- wise and flapwise directions. WTTC primarily uses hydraulic hardware developed jointly with NREL and MTS Systems (Eden Prairie, Minn.) to perform resonant exciter-based fatigue tests. WTTC’s Universal Resonance Excitation (UREX) system excites the blade at its natural frequency by means of attached, double-ended MTS 244 hydraulic actuators, linear bearings and adjustable masses that apply resonant frequency cyclic loads. A typical installation is shown in Fig. 4, p. 27. UREX testing requires less test energy than competing systems. This reduces test costs

COMPOSITESWORLD.COM

Work Work in in Progress Progress

COMPOSITESWORLD.COM Work Work in in Progress Progress IN EUROPE: FRAUNHOFER-IWES, N A REC TAKE BLADE TESTING

IN EUROPE: FRAUNHOFER-IWES, NAREC TAKE BLADE TESTING TO 100M/328 FT

Two rotor blade testing facilities in Europe have answered the call for testing capability that will accommodate today’s longer blade designs for offshore wind turbines with newly constructed blade test sites. Fraunhofer-Institut für Windenergie und Energiesystemtechnik (IWES, Bremerhaven, Germany), the first to complete its expanded facility, is now able to test 90m/295-ft blades, up from 70m/230-ft test lengths two years ago. Fraunhofer-IWES’s new test equipment is housed in a recently completed €11 million ($14.3 million USD) testing hall funded by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF); the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU); the European Regional Development Fund (EFRD); and the state of Bremen, Germany. Blades are attached to a massive 1,000 metric tonne/2.2 million lb tiltable mounting block made of steel and reinforced concrete, with di- mensions of 14m by 12m by 12.5m (45.9 ft by 39.4 ft by 41 ft). Because the mounting block can tilt up to minus 20° from vertical, even very long blades can be displaced to the appropriate levels (see the discussion of tip deflection and its relationship to blade angle in the main article). The ability to rotate the mounting block allows test technicians to accelerate the testing procedure and affords greater flexibility in adjust- ing the mounting angle of the rotor blade during testing. During a static test, as the rotor blade is loaded with cables, it can be simultaneously tilted by hydraulics mounted to the tilt block. During static loading, the force applied to the blade from each hy- draulic cylinder is controlled using a load cell placed between the blade and the loading cable. This setup enables Fraunhofer-IWES personnel to precisely control the loads and subsequent deformations and strains of the blade throughout a testing regime. For dynamic fatigue tests, the rotor blade can be loaded in vertical and horizontal directions. The distribution of the bending moment along the rotor blade can be adjusted by varying the test frequency or adding weights. For dynamic tests at the first eigenfrequency, the energy requirement is reduced compared to quasi-static fatigue tests. Fraunhofer-IWES has developed new methods for biaxial fatigue tests that allow simultaneous loading in the flap and edge directions. This test method reportedly reduces the test duration and costs, and provides a more realistic load situation. Through measurement and frequency analyses, the rotor blade’s ei- genfrequencies can be determined. Hundreds of strain gauges, load cells, cable sensors, angle sensors and sensors capable of measuring variously acceleration, temperature and humidity are said to generate a wealth of data for analysis. In addition to its facilities for testing full-scale rotor blades, the laboratory infrastructure includes facilities for coupon and component testing, providing characteristic values for the evaluation and development of rotor blade substructures.

Similarly, the not-for-profit National Renewable Energy Centre (Na- REC, Blyth, Northumberland, U.K.) now has the capability to test blades up to 100m/328-ft long. The new blade testing hall is 123m/403.4 ft long and is housed within the 5,700m 2 (61,354 ft 2 ) steel frame building at NaREC. The new building is reportedly the second of three structures to be completed at Blyth as part of a more than £80 million ($128 million) investment by NaREC in accelerated testing of offshore wind turbine blades and other renewable marine energy technologies. The test hub is a 15m/49.2 ft high concrete superstructure on a “substantial” foundation. It features two huge blade attachment rings. The top ring, 8m/26.3-ft in diameter, is said to accommodates blade lengths up to 100m/328 ft. The bottom ring accommodates blades of smaller root diameters. The hub arm includes substantial foundations. To achieve the exact position of the rings within the concrete structure, 216 post-tensioned bars have been cast in to extremely tight tolerances of ±3 mm (0.118 inch). Special winches, fixed to 132 circular steel rings in the floor, also have been manufactured and will be used to flex the blades during testing. NaREC also incorporates a facility that is capable of testing blades up to 50m/164 ft in length, in accordance with IEC and ISO standards or customer requirements. Dynamic and static tests are undertaken and can include the determination of natural frequencies, modal analysis, postfatigue and failure assessments. This ISO 17025-certified lab has been in operation for seven years. The new facility is being commissioned and accredited to ISO 17025 standards. It was jointly funded by the U.K. Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the U.K. Department of Energy and Climate Change (£11.5 million/$18.4 million), Regional Development Agency One North East (£2 million/$3.2 million) and the ERDF, managed in the U.K. by the Department for Communities and Local Government, which secured a £4.7 million/$7.5 million ERDF investment. NaREC was established in 2002 as a Center of Excellence for new and renewable energy technologies. It is, therefore, a collection of research, testing and development facilities across the spectrum of the renewable energy sector. It offers not only testing and prototyping of large on- and offshore wind turbine blades, but also tidal turbines and other subsea equipment, micro-renewables and high-voltage electrical equipment. NaREC also has facilities and consultancy expertise for the development and integration of large- and small-scale renewables into the energy mix, including assistance with small-scale embedded power generation and systems analysis services. Further, NaREC has the over- sight of what it says is the U.K.’s only independent photovoltaic (solar energy) R&D laboratory, which is capable of small-scale manufacturing and solar cell process development.

— John Winkel

CT DECEMBER 2012

The WTTC is using the latest data acquisition systems devel- oped at NREL. This custom system, built with National Instruments (Austin, Texas) hardware, enables test personnel to monitor as many as 540 channels in the lab simultaneously. It is capable of very fast sampling rates, even while it communicates with test control systems. The system is expandable and, therefore, could accommo- date even longer blade test articles or a future demand for a greater number of sensors per unit of blade length. Other performance specifications for the WTTC are shown in Table 1, p. 29. In test facility design, a key parameter is the amount of blade tip deflection that it can accommodate. This parameter directly af- fects facility size and cost. Tip deflections can be increased by an- gling the blade upwards and by increasing the mounting height above the floor. WTTC accomplishes this with two test stands that have mounting heights of 6.5m/21.3 ft above the floor and a 6°

mounting heights of 6.5m/21.3 ft above the floor and a 6° Work in Progress Source |

Work in Progress

of 6.5m/21.3 ft above the floor and a 6° Work in Progress Source | Rahul Yarala/WTTC
of 6.5m/21.3 ft above the floor and a 6° Work in Progress Source | Rahul Yarala/WTTC
of 6.5m/21.3 ft above the floor and a 6° Work in Progress Source | Rahul Yarala/WTTC

Source | Rahul Yarala/WTTC

Fig. 4: A view of the WTTC’s resonance exciter system, set up for fatigue testing.

UMAINE’S OFFSHORE WIND LAB SPORTS 70M/230-FT TESTING … AND MORE

Source | DeepCWind Consortium
Source | DeepCWind Consortium

The first two wind blades delivered to the Offshore Wind Laboratory, part of the Advanced Structures and Composites Center at UMaine, were used to test the functionality of new testing equipment installed in the lab and to train staff members and student researchers to use the testing system.

tions. The tank will be 130 ft long, 75 ft wide and 15 ft deep (39.6m by 22.9m by 4.6m) and will be able to propagate waves at a different angle than the wind. When all is said and done, the AEWC lab will encompass 100,000 ft²/9,290m² and cost $100 million.

As part of the AEWC’s efforts to develop offshore wind energy systems, Dagher says the organization is manufacturing a 1:8-scale floating turbine that is expected to be completed by April 2013. It will feature a composite tower, and composites will be used in some parts of the floating structure. Dagher says it will be tested in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Maine from April to September 2013. Unlike the WTTC, which is allied with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (Golden, Colo.), the UMaine facility operates independently. Reportedly, 90 percent of its operational funding comes from grants and its outside income. The construction project benefited from a total of $17.4 million (USD) in funding provided by a Maine bond issue, the Maine Technology Asset Fund and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

— John Winkel

The Offshore Wind Laboratory’s new wind turbine blade test lab, part of a 38,700-ft² (3,595m²) expan- sion of the University of Maine’s (UMaine) AEWC Advanced Structures and Composites Center (Orono, Maine), was first announced in February 2009. Construction of the lab began in earnest during sum- mer 2010. The lab was completed in late November 2011, the equipment was calibrated and tested, and commercial clients were able to use its services begin- ning in spring of this year. The lab received certification in August 2012 and, according to the lab’s director Dr.

Habib Dagher, it has already been used by several “top 10” wind energy OEMs. Dagher emphasizes that the AEWC lab is a full-service facility, offer- ing testing and material characterization services that cover each stage of blade development, including coupons, spars, root sections, blade sections and complete blades. The lab’s blade test fixture (see photo) is anchored in bedrock and stabilized by more than 4.5 million lb (2,041 metric tonnes) of steel and concrete. The lab can provide up to 1 million lb (453.6 metric tonnes) of fatigue and static loads and is capable of testing up to 70m/230-ft long wind blades. In North America, the Offshore Wind Laboratory is second in size only to the Wind Technology Testing Center (WTTC, Boston, Mass.). The AEWC lab also includes what Dagher says is one of the largest environmental chambers in the U.S., capable of measuring static and fatigue characteristics under a variety of tempera- tures, humidity levels and UV light exposures. The AEWC’s new wave and wind basin is under construction and due to be completed by the end of 2013; it will allow for the testing of wind turbines in an offshore environment under wave and wind condi-

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CT DECEMBER 2012

Source | WTTC

angle above horizontal. Wedge plates can modify this angle, yield- ing a range from 0° to 12° above horizontal. These stands are for

the largest blades. A third test stand, suitable for shorter blades, has

a mounting height of 5m/16.4 ft above the floor with an 8° angle above horizontal, which can be modified to between 0° and 16°.

WTTC TESTING RESULTS

The WTTC has had a full testing workload since it opened, despite prolonged uncertainty about renewal of the U.S. Production Tax

Credit (PTC). Its benefits and the political obstacles to renewing

it have been covered by CT (see “Learn More”). Six blades have

undergone testing there, including blades manufactured by Clipper Windpower LLC (Carpinteria, Calif.), which were used to verify the integrity of WTTC’s data acquisition systems during static and

fatigue load tests; LM Wind Power; and Blade Dynamics (New

TABLE

 

1

SPECIFICATIONS FOR WTTC

Load Capacity