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.
Cape Composites Inc. opens prepreg facility
Cape Composites Inc. of San Diego opened a new, 35,000-square-foot factory equipped to produce 2 million pounds of prepreg per year. There is space for additional lines to quadruple the output.
During May, Cape installed a new, 65-inch-wide, solution-coating prepreg line valued at $250,000 and capable of coating more than 6,000 yards of fabric per day.
Cape closed its old San Diego solution-coating facility, which housed a 50-inch horizontal treater with a daily capacity of 1,000 yards.
The new operation eliminates use of volatile organic compounds and hazardous air pollutants, according to President Dave Abrams.
In another move to broaden the prepreg market, Cape announced lower pricing of $7.99 per pound for carbon-fiber areal weights of 300 grams per square meter for customers purchasing at least 10,000 pounds per shipment.
In June 1998, Cape had set standardized prices aimed at increasing volumes with automotive, marine and infrastructure markets.
``We are ready for these high-volume markets today, and we can double our capacity in less than six months,'' Abrams said.
Also at SAMPE, Cape introduced a line of C705SC quick-cure resins, initially for solution-coated prepregs that Cape makes. The resins cure above 275° F, typically within three minutes at 300° F.
John Powers joined Cape as director of sales and marketing May 24. He had been sales and marketing manager with prepreg maker Advanced Composites Group Inc. in Tulsa, Okla.
Cape Composites retained Technology Marketing Inc. of Salt Lake City as a distributor in the West, and Southbrook Technologies of Alpharetta, Ga., as a sales representative in the Southeast.
SGL fiber introduced into North America
SGL Carbon AG of Wiesbaden, Germany, consolidated its U.S.-based sales, support and distribution center in a division headquarters in Gardena, Calif., and introduced a high-strength, 60,000-continuous-filament carbon fiber in the North American market.
SGL aims to take advantage of its manufacturing sites in the United States and Europe, said Daniel Layden, sales manager with the SGL Carbon Composites USA unit. During 1997, SGL acquired RK International Ltd. in Inverness, Scotland, in January and Hitco Technologies Inc. in Gardena in December. The purchases added to SGL's capacity in Meitingen, Germany, to make polyacrylonitrile-based carbon fiber and pre-oxidized fiber products.
The product addition complements SGL's heavy-tow line. SGL supplies chopped and milled carbon fibers to U.S. compounders.
Advanced Glassfiber studies new process
Advanced Glassfiber Yarns LLC of Aiken, S.C., is partnering with Southern Research Institute of Birmingham, Ala., to develop high-performance applications for a new process with S-2 glass reinforcements.
Polycomp Inc. developed the direct-reinforcement fabrication technology for impregnating continuous fibers with standard thermoplastic resins at low cost with low void content, said Daniel Leslie, the venture's director of marketing.
On Sept. 30, Advanced Glassfiber became a joint venture. A U.S. unit of Groupe Porcher Industries of Badinieres, France, acquired 51 percent of the business from Owens Corning for $340 million. Owens Corning of Toledo, Ohio, contributed manufacturing plants in Aiken and Huntingdon, Pa., and some proprietary technology. Owens Corning retains 49 percent ownership.
The venture employs 1,500 and principally makes yarns for electronics, industrial and construction markets. It has other manufacturing plants in South Hill, Va., and Battice, Belgium.
Lydall Manning fins newer applications
Specialty weaver Lydall Manning has developed quartz and aramid applications to complement its woven lines of polyacrylonitrile- and pitch-based carbon fiber and prepreg materials.
``Lydall applied technology to new material areas,'' said Kevin Lynch, who in September became president of Lydall Inc.'s Green Island, N.Y.-based Manning Division. He had transferred from Lydall's technical paper division.
Lydall Manning also makes nonwoven materials in Green Island for thermal insulation and flame-barrier applications. A site in Fort Washington, Pa., weaves unidirectional fabrics for aerospace, recreation and medicine.
Lydall Inc. of Manchester, Conn., acquired the business, then known as Textile Technologies Inc., in December 1996.
Toray manufacturing carbon fiber in Ala.
A new Decatur, Ala., operation of Toray Industries Inc. began manufacturing 12,000- and 24,000-filament carbon fiber in April on a line that mirrors the parent company's production capability in Ehime, Japan.
The Alabama site will have annual capacity of about 4 million pounds of carbon fiber. The Ehime plant can make about 10 million pounds, and the facility of Toray subsidiary Soficar in France, nearly 1.8 million pounds.
Toray will continue to import some materials, said F.E. Tipton, national sales manager in Santa Ana, Calif., for the Toray Carbon Fibers America Inc. unit.
Russo recognized 3 Fellows inducted
SAMPE presented Vincent J. Russo with its highest honor and inducted three Fellows.
Russo received the George Lubin Memorial Award for significant technological achievements in the materials and processes field. Russo is executive director of the aeronautical systems center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. He is the senior civilian responsible for developing and acquiring U.S. Air Force aeronautical weapons systems, managing more than 56 major programs and executing an annual budget of more than $8 billion.
Named as SAMPE Fellows were Allan Crasto, composites group leader and senior materials scientist at the University of Dayton (Ohio) Research Institute; Charles Harper, president of Technology Seminars Inc. in Lutherville, Md.; and Howard Kliger, president of H.S.K. Associates Inc. in Edison, N.J.
Crasto, Harper and Kliger join the ranks of 72 other SAMPE Fellows recognized since the group was founded in 1944.
Special recognition was accorded the late Morton Kushner, who died May 5 after a long illness. Kushner was SAMPE president from1968-1970 and a Fellow.