Plastics News correspondent Roger Renstrom gathered these items at Composites '98, held Feb. 9-12 in Anaheim, Calif.
Composites reduce jet's weight, parts
The fuselage of the Premier I business jet consists of two polymer composite parts and weighs 600 pounds vs. a comparable metal model with 3,000 skins, stringers, stiffeners, clips and bulkheads and a weight of 1,000 pounds.
The Wichita, Kan., aircraft subsidiary of Raytheon Co. uses a Cincinnati Milacron Inc. seven-axis Viper system and anticipates using it for an 84-inch-diameter shell of an eight-passenger Hawker Horizon, due out in 2001.
Priced at $3.9 million, the six-passenger Premier has metal wings, a metallic-and-composite tail section and a 70-inch-diameter fuselage of carbon fiber and epoxy that encases a Nomex honeycomb.
Raytheon plans to roll out its first Premier this summer.
Milacron modifying equipment for Bell
Cincinnati Milacron Inc. is building a small version of its Viper fiber-placement system for December shipment to Textron Inc.'s Bell Helicopter business in Fort Worth, Texas.
Bell intends to use the seven-axis, computer numerically controlled system to make a composite grip-blade attachment to the main rotor of a twin rotor aircraft. The rotors tilt between horizontal and vertical orientations.
A partnership of Boeing Co. and Bell produces the tilt-rotor craft, known as the V22 Osprey, for military applications. A commercial version is being developed.
The system for Bell will cost about $2 million. Other Viper systems cost about $4 million each.
Northrop Grumman Corp. expects to receive a standard system in June, for parts for the F-18 E/F fighter in El Segundo, Calif.
Lectra reports rise in sales for 1997
Lectra Systemes SA's technical textiles business recorded 1997 sales at nearly a 25 percent increase, Robert Abbruzzi said. The firm does not break out sales.
Lectra's textile systems cut polymer, composite, synthetic and natural fiber and fabric, paper and rubber materials.
The technical textiles business sells knife, laser and waterjet cutting systems for aerospace, automotive and upholstery applications, said Abbruzzi, cutting systems products manager at Lectra's Santa Fe Springs, Calif., Western regional office.
Lectra Systemes of Cestas, France, employs about 1,200, including 110 in the United States.
Companywide, Lectra sales increased 14 percent to about $200 million. The firm's 21 percent share of the worldwide market for computer-aided-design-and-manufacturing cutting systems ranks second to South Windsor, Conn.-based Gerber Scientific Inc.'s garment technology subsidiary.
Kindt-Collins shifting its base of customers
Kindt-Collins Co. of Cleveland is focusing on supplying materials to thermoforming and injection molding shops rather than its historical base of pattern shops, Timothy Schrum said. Schrum is the firm's West Coast sales manager in Huntington Park, Calif.
Kindt-Collins, a maker and distributor of castable resins such as urethanes and epoxies, is responding to a nationwide, workplace trend.
``I don't see a following of youngsters into the pattern trade,'' Schrum said. Instead, the pattern shops are acquiring computer numerically controlled machines and automated design capabilities, turning ``away from wood and converting to urethanes or epoxies for making foundry patterns.''
Consulting engineer Alfred Newberry of Harrison, Ark., received $500 for his Composites '98 technical paper. He described how he designed, and Tankinetics Inc. of Harrison fabricated and field-wound, an 82-foot-diameter fiber-reinforced-plastic tank for a chemical processor. The paper was titled, ``The World's Largest Diameter Helically Wound FRP Tank.''
Entrepreneurial product development engineer Brian E. Spencer of Lincoln, Neb.-based Spencer Composites Corp. received this year's J.H. Hall composites manufacturing award at Composites '98. The award recognizes individuals for leadership, technical developments, patents or educational activities. Spencer's firm researches and designs composite prototypes.