Correspondent Roger Renstrom gathered these items at the Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering Sym-posium and Exposition, held March 25-28 in Anaheim, Calif. Using a new polymeric substance, a joint venture of Culver City Composites Corp. and Advanced Polymer Sciences Inc. will market chopped molding compound and prepreg for high-temperature and corrosion-resistant applications. An agreement was signed March 11.
``The molecular structure allows better performance than with existing thermoset resins,'' said Paul Pendorf, president of both the joint venture and Los Angeles-based American Mate-rials & Technologies Corp., parent of Culver City Composites.
Donald Keehan, a founder of Advanced Polymer in Cleveland and chairman of the joint venture, invented and patented the organic/inorganic hybrid chemistry, which has been used initially in coating applications.
Advanced Polymer will sell resin to the joint venture under an exclusive Western Hemisphere and European license. Culver City Composites will prepreg material for the venture at its plant in Culver City.
Separately, Pendorf said Culver City Composites and BFGoodrich Co.'s research and development center in Brecksville, Ohio, plan to co-develop a polyimide under a license from TRW Inc.
Culver City Composites would produce the high-temperature resin, known as Superimide 800, as a next-generation product in the PMR15 field. The parties signed a letter of intent Jan. 25 and expect limited sampling to begin within several months.
American Materials purchased Culver City Composites, formerly SP Systems Inc., from the Montecatini unit of Italian conglomerate Montedison SpA on Dec. 20.
Lewcott prepreg used for structural needs
Prepreg supplier Lewcott Corp. has two low-temperature-curing epoxy-based systems for use in structural applications and two low-smoke, low-flame, phenolic-based systems for air and ground transportation interiors.
The epoxy versions cure in at 250-325§ F. EP250 has dielectric properties suitable for use in radomes, and EP251 has toughened characteristics, according to Carl Varnerin, market manager of composite materials. The phenolics FTR402 and H823 cure in the range of 250-275§ F. H823 has been used to make fire-resistant panels for the V-22 Ospry.
Lewcott operates two horizontal coating lines, each equipped with tenter frame and clips to secure materials, and one vertical line. The company can process heavy-woven rovings and nonwovens. Customers use the prepregs of glass, carbon and aramid reinforced fabrics to make lightweight, high-performance composite components.
Lewcott began operations in 1965 and employs 55, including 35 in manufacturing functions. The company occupies a 45,000-square-foot facility in Millbury, Mass., and reported 1995 sales of more than $9 million.
In addition to the structural composite group, Lewcott uses prepreg for abrasion products including open-weave glass-phenolic for grinding wheels and filtration products including, nonwovens impregnated with ab-sorbing media such as activated carbon.
Software system aids aerospace engineers
Composite Design Technol-ogies Inc. of Wellesley, Mass., has issued sophisticated software that enables aerospace engineers to manage data in the process of making advanced composite parts.
FiberSim works within a user's computer-aided design manufacturing system and visualizes true fiber orientation for a particular geometry, process and material combination.
``Our software can reduce time and cost in designing and manufacturing the parts,'' Steven Luby, president, said in an interview at SAMPE.
A designer works with the material properties of objects such as plies, cores, rosettes and sequences rather than pure CAD geometry.
The tools include the FiberSim composite engineering environment, which Sikorsky Aircraft uses now.
Other FiberSim software manages data for laser projection, flat pattern and laminate properties.
Composite Design Technolo-gies was formed in 1991, employs 12 and anticipated sales of more than $1 million for the fiscal year that ended March 31.
Akzo Nobel unit adds carbon fiber capacity
Fortafil Fibers Inc., a business unit of Akzo Nobel NV, has increased its carbon fiber production capacity to 5 million pounds per year and its manufacturing staff by 25 percent.
According to Peter Oswald, vice president of sales and marketing, the company began production in February on ``the world's largest capacity carbon fiber production line,'' designed to make 3.3 million pounds per year.
The line has new oxidation ovens, high-temperature carbonization furnaces and online sizing and winding equipment. Footings for the building were poured in February 1995.
Fortafil began developing its carbon fiber technology in the late 1960s and started commercial production in 1984 with a 1.7-million-pounds-per-year line. Manufacturing facilities occupy a 20-acre site in Rockwood, Tenn.; the sales and marketing function is in Knoxville, Tenn.
Fortafil's long-term strategy focuses on developing high-volume carbon fiber markets for applications in civil engineering, infrastructure and energy production and storage, Oswald said in an interview at SAMPE.
Fortafil 3-brand carbon fiber, with a modulus of 33 million pounds per square inch and a tensile strength of 550,000 pounds per square inch, is being supplied for electronics, medical, industrial, sporting goods and some automotive applications.
Courtaulds plc of Coventry, England, supplies precursor to Fortafil.
Akzo Nobel, based in Arnhem, the Netherlands, reported 1995 profit of $817.2 million on sales of $13.4 billion. The Akzo Nobel fibers group's 1995 operating income was about 4.4 percent of sales of $2.2 billion, up from 2.2 percent in 1994.