Plastics News correspondent Roger Renstrom reported these items from the Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering's May 23-27 symposium and May 24-26 exhibition in Long Beach, Calif.
SAMPE registration revenues up over '98
In its first use of Long Beach facilities, SAMPE had 17.1 percent more exhibition revenue and 5.8 percent more registrations than during 1998 activities in Anaheim.
Exhibits in the new venue generated $727,200, SAMPE President John Willis reported. He said 1998 exhibit revenues were $621,000.
The Long Beach site attracted about 5,600 registrants vs. last year's 5,293.
Turnkey factory supplier Century Design Inc. of San Diego and tapered mandrel supplier Lynco Grinding Co. Inc. of Bell Gardens, Calif., provided on-site machinery, tooling and guidance for 350 people who built carbon-fiber pool cues at a SAMPE exhibit.
Each participant took a hands-on role in aspects of the prepreg cutting, machine rolling, shrink wrapping and oven curing. The $15 fee benefited the SAMPE Los Angeles chapter, which sponsored the symposium.
Epoxies challenge cyanates in space
Cytec Fiberite Inc. has developed epoxy formulations that can replace cyanate ester for solar arrays, reflectors and optical benches in commercial satellite structures. Development took one year; sampling began in late May.
The Cycom 5555 epoxy prepreg system's outgassing capability begins to approach that of cyanates but, unlike cyanates, it is easy to fabricate, said David Bernard, business manager of Cytec Fiberite space products in Anaheim, Calif.
The epoxy is priced at least 5 percent below cyanate on base-line fiber, cures at 275° F with a variety of space-qualified adhesives and takes less time to dry, Bernard said. Cytec Fiberite's cyanate ester system Cycom 5575-1S cures at 350§ F, but processors report that the material is difficult to handle and process.
Cytec Fiberite will manufacture Cycom 5555 in Anaheim with a variety of fibers in unidirectional tape and fabric forms and, if needed, will add production in Wrexham, England.
BP Amoco develops lower-price product
BP Amoco Polymers Inc. has added to its line of ultrahigh-conductivity graphite fibers with $700 per-pound K-800X.
The new, continuous-pitch-based product can achieve many of the high-end properties of K-1100, which costs $1,600 per pound now and was $3,000 four years ago.
K-800X is suitable for some battery sleeves, some boards for standard electronic modules and aerospace electronics enclosures, said Chris Levan, pitch carbonfiber technology manager in Alpharetta, Ga., with the polymers unit of BP Amoco plc.
The Georgia site developed and made the initial fibers, and gathered performance data from major prepreg makers.
The firm plans to commercialize production at its Greenville, S.C., plant by July, Levan said.
Hexcel Corp. adds resin, fabric lines
Hexcel Corp.'s composite materials segment is adding resin systems and heavier tow fabrics as a result of cross-fertilizing its technology assets in the United States and Europe.
It's a ``real positive step,'' said James Koshak, the segment's vice president in Pleasanton, Calif., for the Americas and Pacific Rim.
A new nonaerospace, fast-cure resin system is being produced in Lyon, France, Koshak said. Separately, the company is looking at lower-cost fabrics that a facility in France developed and that Boeing Co. and Airbus Industrie are evaluating.
Hexcel recently opened a new cyanate ester prepreg plant in Gilbert, Ariz., and relocated space-satellite material work from a Tempe, Ariz., contract arrangement with Cytec Fiberite Inc., Koshak said. Hexcel had acquired Fiberite Inc.'s space satellite business line and a broad license to Fiberite's structural prepreg technology in 1997.
The 1998 acquisition of Clark-Schwebel Inc. diversified Hexcel further into electronic fiberglass materials for printed circuit boards and strengthens the firm's supply chain from fiber to fabric to prepreg, Koshak said.
Hexcel, a major advanced structural materials supplier, seeks to achieve ISO 9002 registration for its facilities by the end of 1999, Koshak said.
Hexcel is supplying Airbus partners with prepreg for vertical and horizontal aircraft stabilizers and composite keel beams.
At SAMPE, Hexcel introduced low-temperature-curing, flame-retardant adhesive Redux 610 for ground-transportation applications.
GKN still growing through acquisition
GKN plc of London continues to add bulk to its aerospace capabilities in advanced polymer matrix composites and metallic structures.
``The objective is to assemble integrated structures,'' said A.J. Roden, public affairs manager in East Cowes, England, with the GKN Westland Aerospace subsidiary.
Starting with five sites in May 1997, the unit since has acquired seven operations in the United States, England and Germany, including Chem-tronics Inc. of El Cajon, Calif., in February; and joint venture Dow-UT Composite Products Inc. of Wallingford, Conn., and Tallassee, Ala., in November. Now, the size of GKN's U.S. aerospace holdings equal those in Europe, Roden said.
The aerospace activities focus on component fabrication, system integration and manufacturing of gearboxes and transmissions and also involve cockpit windows for military and commercial aircraft.
In a SAMPE paper, staff engineer Debora Duch discussed resin transfer molding and GKN's commercialization of phthalonitrile to replace titanium on high-service-temperature aircraft engine components.
GKN Westland Aerospace employs 6,000, had 1998 sales of $700 million and aims to reach $1.6 billion by 2005.
Lewcott Corp. introduced three prepreg products at SAMPE and indicated the firm is considering expansion beyond the 25,000-square-foot facility that it owns in Millbury, Mass.
Lewcott wants to upgrade its laboratory facilities for additional development of resin and prepreg systems, said Carl Varnerin, composite manager with the pre-preg business unit. Sales of the composites products have been growing at an annual rate of about 20 percent.
In April, seven companies began evaluating advanced phenolic prepreg system LC194, which self-adheres to aramid honeycomb for use in the aircraft interiors aftermarket.
Lewcott also added EP255 self-adhesive toughened epoxy cures in the range of 235°F-275°F and EP254 toughened 250°F curing epoxy for rolling applications such as fishing rods or pole vault poles.
Joseph Zingaro joined Lewcott as manager of the phenolic resins business unit. Lewcott appointed Technology Marketing Inc. of Salt Lake City as a distributor of its prepreg products in the West. Lewcott employs 65 and reported 1998 sales of $12 million.
Starting July 8, advanced composite materials maker Bryte Technologies Inc. will move 20 miles to a 65,000-square-foot facility it constructed in Morgan Hill, Calif.
Currently, the company leases 35,000 square feet in San Jose. It began planning the move a year ago.
Bryte will relocate its existing equipment — two unidirectional, four fabric and two tow prepreg lines — and segregate some units in environment-controlled space suitable for producing specialized materials, said Scott Unger, vice president and chief operating officer.
Bryte was acquired April 30 by an Atlanta-based unit of Royal Ten Cate NV of Almelo, the Netherlands, and Jorg Huber was appointed Bryte's president and chief executive officer.
Ten Cate operates a composites division in Nijverdal, the Netherlands, employing more than 80. Bryte employs 46.
At SAMPE, Bryte introduced the quick-cure toughened epoxy EX-1548 and, for vacuum-assisted resin transfer molding, the cyanate ester-based resin EX-1545.