Plastics News correspondent Roger Renstrom gathered these items during the symposium and exhibition of the Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineering, held May 11-15 in Long Beach, Calif.
Worldwide business calls for new tactics
Firms need to develop long-term technology strategies with customers and suppliers, composites consultant Bob Griffiths said in his keynote address, ``Strategies for Success in the Global Composite Industry.'' Griffiths operates ERG Ltd. in Somerton, England, and is president of SAMPE Europe.
Two decades ago, aerospace prime contractors handled production in-house and subcontracted only to local companies. But now international subcontracting involves financial partnerships, searches for world-class technology and extensive foreign offset production requirements, Griffiths said.
Examples include the global diversity of Boeing Co.'s contemplated 7E7 aircraft and the vertical tail for the upcoming Airbus A380. Griffiths is a technical consultant for the Hamburg, Germany, arm of Airbus.
Griffiths identified key emerging aviation-related technologies such as hybrid fiber-metal laminates, resin transfer molding, noncrimp fabrics, thermoplastics, the rapid Quickstep curing process for carbon-fiber-reinforced plastics, resin infusion and Z-fiber pinning technology.
SAMPE Journal suit
comes to conclusion
SAMPE paid $100,000 - and $102,000 for its legal fees - in reaching a January legal settlement with Benjamin Diversified Consulting Inc. of Gilbert, Ariz. Benjamin filed a breach-of-contract suit in an Arizona court in July 2000.
During an emergency, SAMPE said, it retained the firm in May 1998 to edit the bimonthly SAMPE Journal. SAMPE canceled the five-year contract in June 2000 amid declining financial conditions and assigned the editing functions to SAMPE employees.
``We reached a mutual agreement that was beneficial to all parties,'' Cher Benjamin, a principal with the newsletter publishing firm, said by telephone May 13. ``We are still members of SAMPE.''
Securing the mediated settlement is costing $158,000 less than SAMPE would have paid to complete the terms of the Benjamin contract, Thomas Haulik, SAMPE president, told the society's directors May 12. ``Today, the Journal is published and edited by in-house staff at lower costs.''
Nanomaterials to be
topic of panel talks
Emerging technologies involving nanomaterials and nanocomposites surfaced through a panel discussion of top government scientists and the presentation of 22 mostly academic technical papers.
Ten federal agencies spent $694 million on nanotechnology research and development during the fiscal year ended Sept. 30. Funding of $774 million is projected in the current fiscal year, said Mihail Roco, a senior adviser with the National Science Foundation.
U.S. Air Force efforts are moving into advanced applications with multifunctional drivers to ``make polymers do more,'' said Richard Vaia, senior materials scientist with the Air Force Research Laboratory. Previously, a single function drove each application.
Joseph Koo promised as chairman of the SAMPE 2004 nanomaterials section to arrange for a panel of at least four industrial experts discussing existing products.
n 2Phase Technologies Inc. of Santa Clara, Calif., has shipped a reformable tooling system to Boeing Co.'s Phantom Works in St. Louis for a composites affordability and prototyping project, and another system to a Kodak Co. unit in Rochester, N.Y., for separate rapid-prototyping projects involving thermoformed camera bezels and thermoplastic materials. ... Bedford Reinforced Plastics Inc. of Bedford, Pa., installed a 1,200-square-foot, pultruded composite bridge deck of four interlocked vinyl ester and E-glass-reinforced modules in early May. Bedford is working on another deck for a mid-June installation. Each bridge replaces a Peterstown, W.Va., span of steel girders and wood decks. Each project is costing about $250,000, of which the deck accounts for $70,000. ... North Coast Tool and Mold Corp. of Cleveland added three seats of Catia version 5 product development software and put in place new machine tools worth about $1 million. ... RocTool SAS of Le Bourget du Lac, France, seeks a partner to market its high-speed composites transformation process in the United States. The process circulates an electric current to heat material rapidly in a cold custom-made mold. Resistive heat is used on a conductive, preimpregnated composite such as a carbon-fiber reinforcement and inductive heat is used on a nonconductive composite such as fiberglass. RocTool is demonstrating the capabilities for reduced cycle times and lower energy consumption in the European market and intends to enter the U.S. market in 2004.