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Composites UK

News » News Archive » Summer 2011 Newsletter Date: 24 November, 2014
Summer 2011 Newsletter

Welcome to the articles that were included in the Summer 2011 Newsletter. To subscribe please send an email to info@compositesuk.co.uk with Subscribe Composites UK in the subject line.

Composites UK

UK to be Country of Honour at JEC 2012


JEC has confirmed that the UK will be the Country of Honour for the 2012 show.


Composites UK, UKTI, NCN and The National Composites Centre (NCC) are working together to coordinate a greater UK presence at the 2012 JEC exhibition with an aim of raising the profile of the UK composites industry. UK companies keen to be part of a UK area will be clustered around the Composites UK stand under the Union Jack flag. Composites UK are also planning for strong UK representation at all the technical forum.


Composites UK are gauging potential uptake from UK companies and are asking companies to contact their office by the end of June to register interest. Costs will be the same as taking an individual stand elsewhere within the main hall, individual company branding will remain an option and each company will liaise with the JEC organisers to sort out the details of their own stand.


Smaller companies wanting to take their first steps into JEC can book a space on the collaborative Composites UK stand where there will be 8 exhibitor spaces available – for more details please contact the Composites UK office. Composites UK is the accredited trade association (ATO) for the UKTI's Tradeshow Access Programme and have 12 TAP grants of £1000 each available to eligible UK exhibitors for the show. For more information contact the Composites UK office on info@compositesuk.co.uk.

Composites UK


Composites UK held their second annual Awards Dinner on the 5th May 2011 at the prestigious Midland Hotel in Manchester as part of their two day annual conference.


(l-r, Claire Wright, Amber Composites & Paul Darby, Cray Valley, David Taylor, Alpha Composites & Paul Hogg (University of Manchester), Tom Preece, National Skills Academy & Matt Hollinshead, Sunseeker International)


Nominations were entered by companies across the UK and were judged by the Composites UK Board of Directors.


The winners of the awards were:


Trainee/Apprentice of the Year 2010 Winner  - Matt Hollinshead, Sunseeker
Health, Safety and Environment Initiative 2010  - Amber Composites
Industry Innovation of the Year 2010  -  Alpha Composites


“With continued growth and development within the composites industry it was important that Composites UK support the achievements of individuals and companies in the sector” said Chris Little, Composites UK Chairman.


Winners received a glass trophy and a framed certificate. Matt Hollinshead also received a one year membership to Composites UK and £250 prize money from the National Skills Academy for Process Industries.


A Charity raffle was held at the dinner and money raised at the dinner was split between the MS Society and Cancer Research UK.


For more information email info@compositesuk.co.uk


Composites Engineering


The Composites Engineering Show will take place at the NEC in Birmingham from 9 - 10 November 2011 in conjunction with Aero Engineering, Energy Engineering and the UK Plastic Electronic Show.


Throughout the show there will be free to attend presentations in co-operation with Composites UK and NetComposites for which the complete programme will be announced soon.


The event will showcase the UK's leading technology suppliers and supply chain partners in the areas of:


  • Composites Raw Materials & Semi Finished products
  • Composites Design, Analysis, Simulation & Processing Technologies
  • Processors & Suppliers of Composite Parts, Components & Structures
  • Equipment Suppliers (inc Machining, Tooling, Curing, Moulding, Finishing, Curing, Testing etc)
  • Ancillary Service Suppliers (Training, Logistics, Business Support, Standards)
  • Maintenance & Recycling....and much more


Please feel free to drop by the Composites UK stand number 336 to discuss your current membership or for more information on what benefits you will gain from joining.


Website: www.compositesexhibition.com

Composites Europe


Composites UK are delighted to announce UKTI Trade Access Programme Grants for Composites Europe 2011. Under this scheme eligible British exhibitors can apply for financial support of £1,000.


To be eligible for funding a company will need to match the SME definition and have less than 25% income coming from export OR have not been exporting for more than last 10 years.  The export part of the T&C will be waived off if the exhibitor has not taken part in the previous edition of the show. For full terms and conditions click here.


You do not have to be a member of Composites UK to apply for a grant.


The number of grants is limited (there are 6 remaining) and will be allocated on first come first served basis.


For more information and to download an application form click here. The deadline for applications is 12th August.




If you have any enquires about this scheme please direct them to info@compositesuk.co.uk.



Ground-breaking Carbon Chassis from Lamborghini made using Araldite® RTM system

The long awaited successor to the Murciélago, the Aventador LP700-4, has recently been unveiled at the 2011 Geneva Auto Show.  It is now gaining widespread recognition as an extremely important model, being the first flagship from Automobili Lamborghini SpA to feature a production carbon fibre chassis, made using an Araldite® resin system for Resin Transfer Molding (RTM).

Automobili Lamborghini SpA has been working with carbon fibre composites for 30 years; indeed the Italian auto-maker was responsible for the first carbon fibre component on a production car and the first carbon fibre tub on a road car.  Composites were also used to produce all of the body panels and several portions of the Murciélago’s spaceframe structure, when it was in production between 2002 and 2010.

In order to meet increasingly stringent environmental regulations, Lamborghini’s corporate strategy is now directed at increasing the power-to-weight ratios of its cars, reducing the overall weight and thereby reducing vehicle emissions. 

To achieve this goal, the company has identified carbon fibre composites as a key technology.  It is committed to become a ‘Centre of Excellence’, promoting collaboration and developing best practices to maximise the use of composite materials in production vehicles, as well as driving technological advancement in this area forward.

The company’s current R&D activities are aimed at the development of composite-intensive primary structures that meet weight, cost and production rate requirements, to fulfil the corporate strategy.  This involves the evaluation of non-conventional technologies as well as the development of new ones. 

While traditional composites used in the luxury sports car industry have typically utilised aerospace-derived prepreg materials for autoclave cure, out-of-autoclave processes are now believed to provide unparalleled efficiencies in terms of cost and production rate, while leaving performance and quality unaffected.  Among these processes, Lamborghini is focusing on liquid resin processes (VaRTM and RTM), oven-cure prepregs, preforming technologies (braiding, non-crimp fabrics and thermoforming), and advanced compression molding.

The first project to come out of the company’s new corporate strategy is the Aventador LP700-4’s carbon composite chassis.  Designed, developed and manufactured at Lamborghini’s headquarters at Sant’Agata Bolognese, where all the bull signed cars are manufactured, this carbon chassis is also expected to be built into other Lamborghinis in the future.

Lamborghini produced the bulk of the chassis with the support of Huntsman Advanced Materials, who provided an Araldite® resin system especially adapted for Lamborghini’s ‘RTM-Lambo’; a Resin Transfer Molding (RTM) processing technique.

During the patented ‘RTM-Lambo’ process to produce the chassis, pre-formed carbon fibre reinforcements are impregnated with a precise amount of the Araldite® resin.  This advanced technique uses lighter molds made of carbon fibre, rather than steel or aluminium and is heavily automated.

The Aventador’s chassis also includes epoxy foam sections, adding the space needed to create shapes without introducing unnecessary layers of carbon fibre.  The foam also dampens noise and harmonic vibrations, like heavy insulation would on a metal-chassised car.

To meet all the RTM requirements, the resin must have a very low viscosity, sufficient-pot life and good fibre impregnation capabilities.  Furthermore, it must be able to deliver the mechanical properties required to ensure the strength and torsional rigidity of the chassis.  In being adapted with a carbon fabric orientation and quality, the Araldite® resin fulfils all these requirements. 

The entire passenger cell of the Aventador, including the roof, weighs just 147.5kg. This lightweight is not at the expense of rigidity - indeed it takes 35,000 Nm (25,800lb ft) of torque to twist it by one degree.

By comparison, the Murciélago, with its metal chassis, had a torsional rigidity rated at around 20,000 Nm per degree.  In effectively deploying carbon composite materials, the Aventador is more robust and boasts a much higher torque than its predecessor.

“The Araldite® resin system developed by Huntsman has been extremely well adapted for the ‘RTM-Lambo’ technique.  It has excellent mechanical and curing properties and a suitable viscosity profile versus time, allowing us to meet rigorous performance and cost requirements,” explained Luciano De Oto, Head of Lamborghini Advanced Composite Research Center (ACRC).

“To fulfil increasing production rates as we move forward with our strategy to deploy more carbon fibre in the future generations of our high performance cars, this RTM process is the answer.”

In combination with the Araldite® resin, the ‘RTM-Lambo’ technique creates a chassis that is lightweight, robust and capable of delivering the power-to-weight ratios outlined in Lamborghini’s corporate strategy.  It also offers a cost effective solution for the repeatable production of structural parts with mechanical and thermal performances comparable to autoclaved prepregs.

With the Aventador’s chassis, Lamborghini and Huntsman have created a ground-breaking package.  The first production carbon fibre chassis from Lamborghini is also recognised as being steps ahead of any other production carbon chassis available today.

Website: www.huntsman.com

Amber Composites


Amber Composites Announces New Manufacturing Plant


As part of a program to invest in technology and equipment, Amber recently announced the building of a dedicated facility for the production of composite materials. Focusing on Amber’s prepreg, surface film, adhesive film and syntactic core range of products, the new building, which is already well into construction, will more than double the production area. The new building will be fully operational in 2012.


Established in 1988, Amber has in recent years undergone significant changes following a change of management.  Amber has installed a UD manufacturing line, a high-tech research and development laboratory and improved its cold storage facility and core processing capabilities.


“The demand for lightweight materials continues to rise”, said Jonathan McQueen, Managing Director of Amber Composites, “and we’re investing in new technology and equipment so that we can continue to develop our product range while keeping our lead times as short as possible”.


Website: www.ambercomposites.com



Cristex will shortly introduce STABILISED WOVEN CARBON FABRICS based on modern veil technology


Cristex will be able to provide woven fabrics from 160g to 650g stabilised by the use of ultra lightweight resin compatible veils from 6g to 30g/m². 


Stabilisation will improve cutting, handling and shaping of fabrics without compromising their drape characteristics.


Cristex is a leading supplier of composite textile materials woven, stitched and braided in Carbon, glass, aramid and thermo plastic fibres. For more information please visit our website.


Website: www.cristex.co.uk

PRF Composite Materials


PRF Composite Materials is pleased to announce the installation and commissioning of its second 5metre CNC machine for composite kit cutting.


The new topcut-bullmer machine compliments the existing machine and enables PRF to offer additional kit cutting for composite manufacturers. PRF are able to cut ballistic grade Kevlar® layered up to 25mm thick in addition to most commercially available materials in dry or prepreg form at up to 1.8metre widths. PRF’s multilayer cutting technology is a cost effective kitting solution.


Using PRF’s CNC service will save you money:
• Material savings  → Reduce waste with improved nesting
• Improvement in quality  → Consistent machine cut parts
• Save time and labour costs → Kits supplied ready for use


PRF accepts CAD drawings via email and can also digitise templates where drawings are not available.


Contact PRF to increase efficiency and save money with composite kits.
Tel: +44 (0)1202 680022, email: mail@prfcomposites.com, web: www.prfcomposites.com



Zwick/Roell Launches their 2011 Student Competition


The development and use of new materials and technologies has always played an essential role. A substantial part of this development takes place in universities. Huge efforts are expended in university research and education worldwide to increase competitiveness and meet global challenges, for example climate and environment protection.


Some of the latest topics are lightweight materials, intelligent materials, biomaterials and composites. Zwick’s aim in announcing this special award for scientists is to honor these achievements. The award will be presented during the Zwick University Day 2012.




Young university scientists with PhD or Master’s Degree, who have published their thesis within the last 5 years. The scope of papers considered The field of interest is a scientific publication (less than 3 years old) where the innovative use of mechanical testing equipment plays a major role.
Special consideration will be given to applications where some or all of the equipment was designed and produced as part of the thesis.


The panel of judges


The panel of judges will be chaired by Mr. Robert Strehle, Industry Manager for Academia at Zwick. Judges from internationally renowned universities will nominate the winners.




1st prize Paul Roell Medal and € 5,000
2nd prize € 2,000
3rd prize € 1,000


Zwick will cover the travel expenses and accommodation to attend the award ceremony. For all papers submitted the participants will receive a certifi cate for successful participation.




• The deadline for Zwick to receive submission is 1st November 2011
• The winners will receive their awards during the Zwick University Day in 2012
Research Paper Details
• All submitted documents and communication must be in English
• Abstract of the paper, maximum 300 words
• The complete paper
• Pictures and videos of the application with the testing equipment clearly recognizable
• Participant’s curriculum vitae/résumé


Please submit your documents to:


Zwick GmbH & Co. KG
Robert Strehle
August-Nagel-Str. 11
89079 Ulm, Germany
E-mail: robert.strehle@zwick.com


Website: http://www.zwick.de/en/news/zwick-science-award.html

Solent Composite Systems


Solent Composite Systems Ltd (SCS), manufacturer of ProTek™ composite passive fire and blast protection systems, and Composites UK member has recently delivered an innovative all-composite freezer module to an offshore platform in Norway.


The project was delivered to the Gullfaks platform for Statoil in a very rapid timescale including independent certification by Det Norske Veritas (DNV) verifying blast and fire performance. The modular freezer construction comprises lightweight ProTek™ panels fixed to structural pultrusions, which allow SCS to deliver a low thermal conductivity with a U value of 0.2 W/m² ºC.


Due to space limitations on the platform the walk-in freezer, which measures 7.5m long by 2m wide x 2.5m high, is designed to form an extension to the existing living quarters and therefore has to meet the same criteria for explosion and fire performance; this is equivalent to 1.5 Tonne / m² blast load and 60 minutes fire protection.
The entire structure weighs no more than 2.5 Tonnes with less than 3% being metallic parts and each lightweight panel was installed by platform personnel using no special handling aids.


The use of composite panels and pultruded structural members ensures that the insulation requirements are met with a minimal thickness panel since there are no metallic elements to affect the freezer performance. Another aspect of the reduced space is that the module had to be installed from inside the freezer since there is no access to install fixings from outside the module. SCS manage this by using stainless steel blind fixings designed to be installed where access is restricted to one side only.


Further details of the freezer container design along with photographs taken during trial assembly at SCS premises and during installation offshore are attached.


The project was coordinated by SCS Norwegian agents, Module Solutions and Systems AS and with freezer experts RK Offshore.


The SCS ProTek™ system meets all current requirements for jet-fire, pool fire and blast protection. ProTek™ enclosures are typically used for ESDV/actuator protection must also withstand wind and wave load acceleration movements under extreme climatic conditions. The high insulation properties of the ProTek™ system ensures minimum temperature rise, thus providing essential integrity of the protected equipment. In addition ProTek™ delivers sound attenuation up to 38dB(A) according to NORSOK R-004.


ProTek™ is manufactured from an advanced composite panel system which is lightweight and has wide design versatility. Being virtually inert, there is zero corrosion risk and outstanding weather resistance, thus offering a maintenance free life for at least 30 years. In addition ProTek™ does not contribute to water or air pollution Fire and blast performance is certified by Lloyds and DNV and will withstand a two hour jet fire test at 0.3 kg /sec gas release, and blast tests up to 1.5 barg.


SCS has more than 20 years’ proven track record of providing engineered composite solutions to the energy industry – not only offshore oil and gas, but wind and tidal stream. SCS energy industry expertise coupled with world class Quality, Health and Safety and Environmental compliance to ISO standards, enables it to safely take on major projects and take them thorough to timely and cost effective completion.


Website: www.solentcompositesystems.com



The National Composites Certification and Evaluation Facility (NCCEF) is an independent ISO 17025 accredited test laboratory (test centre No 4566). The accreditation was assessed by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) against a suite of international ASTM composite material test procedures. This demonstrates the competence, impartiality and performance capabilities of the NCCEF laboratory. 


We have proven to our customers that we have been successful in meeting the requirements of international accreditation standards and consequently give them confidence in an increasingly diverse global marketplace by ensuring consistently high standards in the quality of our products and services. We are active partners within international committees to develop standardized test methods for composite materials thus ensuring we are fully up-to-date with the correct standards.


Whilst currently outside the scope of the ISO 17025 accreditation, the test laboratories are supported by a wide variety of industrially relevant NDE and composite manufacturing processes including the world class X-ray tomography capability housed in the Henry Moseley Laboratory of the University of Manchester.


If you would like any further information please visit http://www.futurecomposites.org.uk/NCCEF.html

Magnum Venus Products


Dramatic Improvements In Radome Production With Flex Molding Process

Based on the Geodesic Dome invented by Buckminster Fuller in the 1954, Radar Domes, or Radomes, have been used to protect microwave and radar antennas around the world for more than half a century.


A Radome is constructed of material that minimally attenuates the electromagnetic signal transmitted or received by the antenna. In other words, the Radome is “transparent” to the radar or radio waves.


They are designed to protect the antenna surfaces from harsh environmental conditions including wind, rain, ice, sand, etc., or to conceal the antenna from public view. They also provide a measure of protection for personnel working around antennas with moving parts.


Radomes can be produced in multiple shapes (spherical, geodesic, planar, etc.) depending upon the particular application, using multiple materials including fiberglass, PTFE-coated fabrics and more.


In January 2003 a new company entered the market to produce and sell Radomes made using GRP products. That company is Micris, Ltd.


Located in the United Kingdom, Micris, Ltd. began by producing enclosures for the fire and safety industry, and began manufacturing Radomes after purchasing a small company that specialized in producing small Radomes. Since that time, Micris Ltd. has expanded the Radome product line and now offers them in sizes that vary from 1.1 meter in diameter up to 4.8 meter diameter standard, with specific designs up to 6.0 meter.


They began producing Radomes using both the “traditional” solid laminate open molding production method, and two layer sandwich construction using a variety of core materials and vacuum infusion.


Both the solid laminate and sandwich core Radomes are assembled from multiple panels, the number of panels depending on the size of the Radome. The number of panels is the same for each production method, but the sandwich core/infusion method provides a degree of thermal insulation, high strength, lower weight and improved dielectric performance not available with the solid lamination method.


The challenge with these “standard” production methods is a lack of part consistency with solid lamination, and the higher cost and increased labor required of the vacuum infusion bagging. After completing a three year study in conjunction with Manchester University, Micris decided they needed to find a more effective way to manufacture their products that would increase production and precision from part-to-part that would allow them to be tuned to any given frequency.


Micris Operations Manager Mike Boyle turned to Magnum Venus Plastech distributor MVP-Europe for help. MVP-Europe had been working with Micris in supplying various injection systems used in their production. In October 2010, after discussing the production challenges Micris was having, Neil Scott of MVP-Europe invited Mike Boyle and Mick Thompson to a demo day they were co-hosting with Cray Valley Resins to showcase a new production method developed by Magnum Venus Plastech called Flex Molding Process.


Flex Molding Process is a comprehensive package that consists of the Patriot Innovator Injection Systems, accessories and patent pending seals specifically designed to optimize infusion with a better control of the production, training kit and training courses.


Flex Molding Process achieves an unmatched level of precision with new accessories including the IVx3 Three-Position Injection Valve, Pneumatic Pressure Vacuum Sensor (PPVS-Infusion), infusion specific Turbo Autosprue (TAS-14) and more. It also offers a new, unique, “lockable” reusable membrane, generally made from silicone, that allows for the production of complicated parts with undercut flanges (like a Radome), impossible to produce with Light RTM.


After seeing the demonstration of Flex Molding Process, Mr. Boyle and Mr. Thompson realized that it seemed to be exactly what was needed to continue the development they had begun with Manchester University.


They returned to their facility and over the next few months designed a new tool for their 4.5 meter Radome that would be used with Flex Molding Process. Their greatest challenge in designing this tool was the loose flange (the mold had negative return edges), however in consultations with MVP-Europe and MVP RTM/Infusion Technical Specialist Charles Tur, the challenge was overcome and the tool was ready to use in production.


They have now been using Flex Molding Process for a couple of months, and according to Mr. Boyle, “The quality of the product has drastically improved in the context of control over the resin and glass ratios, and most importantly to us, the consistency and accuracy of the thickness of the dome.” He continues, “It is the design of the thickness of the panel (using foam core) that allows us to tune the Radome to a given frequency, this being the main driving point to use the Flex Molding Process.”


While they have not yet been using Flex Molding Process long enough to complete any comprehensive studies on Styrene emissions or material/labor savings, empirical evidence since switching suggests that the drop in emissions, and reduction of material waste and labor time, will be significant.


Given the success of Flex Molding Process in producing this one product, Mr. Boyle believes that it will become the manufacturing process within Micris, “as it will allow us to continue to develop the Radome business, and already we are looking to produce a further two new Radomes for our customers because of the performance gains we have achieved with the 4.5 meter Radome.”


Mr. Boyle says of Flex Molding Process, “We believe this system will bridge the gap between Light RTM and the old-style infusion process. Especially in the production of parts that are required to be produced from split tools. We have received excellent support and advice from the start, and right through to the conclusion of the project from Magnum Venus Plastech and MVP-Europe.”


Website: www.mvpeurope.co.uk

Shipham Valves

Shipham Launch New Composite Valve Range



Shipham Valves acquisition of the AVT product range in 2008 displayed the company’s commitment and determination to remain at the forefront of materials technologies for valves for corrosive services.


Since acquisition, this commitment has been further demonstrated by an extensive programme of testing and proving of the products, culminating in a newly rated range of Composite Full Bore Ball Valves and Wafer Butterfly Valves (please visit www.shipham-valves.com and follow the link for AVT Composite Valves for more details).


We are also delighted to announce the launch of the new Reduced Bore Composite Ball Valve range, fully designed, engineered and tested by our own valve engineers and, of course, manufactured entirely in the UK. This new and welcome addition to the Shipham AVT Product Range further enhances our portfolio of corrosion resistant valves.



LPM Launch Major Rebrand


The Manchester based business LPM Engineering has undergone a total brand review and has unveiled its new company name, logo and website to support its evolution to a leading provider of business improvement solutions.


The new brand identity will reflect LPMs commitment to provide the very best business support services in order to meet its client’s needs. The new tagline ‘profitability requires continual improvement’ illustrates that LPM is there to support and understand its clients. Subtle changes have been made to the firm’s logo to reflect its current image.


The company name has changed from LPM Engineering to LPM Quality Associates, this better identifies the business within its main field of expertise; the delivery of quality improvements. The new website (www.lpm.org.uk) which also launches on the same day will seek to increase LPMs online presence and help to communicate with current as well as prospective clients.


LPM will officially unveil its new brand to clients and contacts on Wednesday and will also showcase the firms newly acquired offices and training facility based at the Cheadle Royal Business Park, Cheadle. It has been another exciting few months for LPM with Senior Associate, Paul Johnson, joining the business in March.


Commenting on LPM’s rebrand, Managing Director, Lee Moffatt said;
“It is important that LPM retains its established values but at the same time develops a new and modern identity. The rebranding exercise will ensure that we get the right message out there. We feel it’s important to let people know what LPM stands for and our new tagline signifies the commitment. The landscape for manufacturing in the UK and further afield is rapidly changing and we recognise the need for change.”


Website: www.lpm.org.uk




New Composites UK member Graytone Ltd is the holding company of a number of businesses focussed on the distribution of aerospace, defence and specialist coatings.  A recent addition to the product offer of Graytone subsidiary Pexa Ltd (www.pexa.co.uk), is the ECO-DEC solvent recycler, which is proving to be very much in demand by manufacturers of composite materials as well as by paint users. A considerable amount of solvent is used in the production of composites, and many companies are now looking at ways of regenerating dirty solvent as a way of saving both money and the planet.

ECO-DEC solvent regenerators eliminate the problems of waste removal and storage, by recycling the residue from solvents and distilling it, leaving a perfectly pure solvent which is ready to use again.  Available in four standard sizes including 20ltr, 50ltr, 150ltr and 500ltr, the stainless steel machines are unusual in that they are designed to work without a bag in which to capture the residue (although bags are available for the 20 and 50ltr machines).  Instead, a little oil or paraffin is put into the tank before the contaminated solvents are introduced, to create a nonstick surface. The waste solvent is then heated directly by a fusion heater made of aluminium plate at the base of the waste solvent tank, and the distillation cycle takes around four hours.


ECO-DEC have built a strong reputation on the continent - the machines are very easy to use, need minimal maintenance, use little energy (due to a combination of the unique heating system and the use of a water cooling process) and can achieve very high distillation temperatures (up to 5000C) therefore capable of distilling all types of solvent.  ECO-DEC was awarded the gold medal in 2007, at the "Salon International des Inventions" in Geneva, for its innovation.  Perhaps of most interest to the consumer is the fast return on investment (less than a year is typical).  So pure is the resulting distilled solvent that it can be reused over and over again, whilst hazardous waste disposal costs become a thing of the past. 


Call Graham Yates at Graytone for more information +44 (0)1428 648111



Araldite enables Construction of World's Longest Ever Single Beam Composite Bridge


ACCIONA Infrastructure is a global leader in infrastructure development and one of Spain’s largest corporations with activities in more than 30 countries.  The company covers all aspects of construction, from engineering to project execution and maintenance.  This includes the management of public works awards, especially in the area of transport and building construction.


In a number of construction projects, Huntsman Advanced Materials supported ACCIONA in the specification of resins and structural adhesives.  As a result of this partnership, ACCIONA invited Huntsman to be part of the HP FUTURE-Bridge project.  Co-funded by the European Commission under the 6th Framework Programme of Research, this project ran from October 2006 to September 2009.


The overall objective of the HP FUTURE-Bridge project was to develop a new high-performance and cost-effective construction concept for bridges based on the application of carbon fibre-reinforced polymers (FRP) to effectively compete against conventional bridges made from concrete and steel.  Carbon composites have been used in Aerospace and Marine applications for over 50 years and are now increasingly being considered for use in bridge structures around the world.  Within the consortium, Huntsman played a key advisory role, sharing knowledge and expertise on maximising the potential of carbon composite bridge designs with structural adhesives and resins.


In a recent project, ACCIONA has been working with Huntsman to construct a composite pedestrian bridge in Madrid, over the Manzaneres River.  Because it was to be erected over a river, the bridge needed to be made from one monolithic single piece.  The challenge therefore lay in designing a load bearing, jointless, single structure that was also light enough to meet the transportation, logistics and installation requirements defined for the project.


As the installation site was in the city centre, space limitations and the need to limit disruption meant the constructors were allowed a maximum of four hours to mount the bridge onsite.  It was imperative that the bridge was designed to be as lightweight as possible.


To achieve a weight which would assist ACCIONA with meeting the installation timescales while realising high levels of endurance and performance in constructing the single, jointless 44m long bridge beam, the engineers used a range of Araldite products.


Araldite® LY 1564 / Aradur® 3486, which is specifically designed for thick laminates manufacturing, was tested in the preliminary infusion trials and then used in the production of the single beam through an injection infusion process. Offering excellent physical properties such as low viscosity, the long pot life of 520-620 minutes at 23°C also proved particularly beneficial in producing large sections of the beam in a time-effective manner. 


Araldite® LY3505 / XB 3403 and XB 3404-1, a composite resin system designed for the production of high performance composite parts and moulds using a wet lay-up process has been used to fill and reinforce the prefabricated ribs of the bridge. 


The ribs have been bonded to the beam with Araldite® AW 4856 / HW 4856, an epoxy adhesive system with enhanced toughness, chemical thixotropy and low exotherm for large composite parts.  Its physical properties allow usage in applications requiring load bearing strength and excellent adhesion under adverse application conditions.  Heat and chemical resistance offered by this system adds to the anti-corrosive properties of the single beam.  These features make composite bridges better suited for installation in locations that experience adverse weather conditions in comparison to their conventional counterparts. 


 “We needed a thick laminates manufacturing system offering good fluidity and permeability and a bonding solution with extremely reliable adhesion,” said Anurag Bansal, Head-Manufacturing, Infrastructures Area, ACCIONA R&D Centre, commenting on the choice of Araldite® system.


“When it came to selecting the best adhesive to use, the decision was simple.  Araldite® AW 4856 / HW 4856 was chosen because of its exceptional track record in providing excellent adhesion properties for large composite parts such as wind blades and boat hulls.  Adding to this, the characteristics of Huntsman’s resins meant we could apply them evenly and in a time and cost-effective manner, meaning the finished quality and performance of the bridge was improved and all importantly, manufacturing times were shortened as well.”


From the initial fibre placement through to the demoulding and finishing processes it took a total 30 days to manufacture the bridge.  This is the first time in the history of the Composites Industry that a 44m long, 3.5m wide, structural load bearing bridge beam has been built utilising 12 tonnes of carbon fibre.  The surface of the beam is smoother and more aesthetically pleasing than a steel or concrete bridge. In offering excellent corrosion resistance, less maintenance and no painting is required.


If the pedestrian bridge had been made from concrete or steel, this would have resulted in an extremely heavy beam weighing at least 50 tonnes, whereas the carbon composite beam is only 25 tonnes.


The bridge was installed in less than 2 hours using a 75 tonne crane.  By comparison, steel and concrete bridges typically take a minimum of 6 hours to install, using a 300 tonne crane.  The significant weight saving created by the single composite beam allows smaller cranes to be used, providing an easier, faster and more economic installation process.  Because no joints, assembly or  high capability cranes are needed for either installation or maintenance, not only does the single beam afford more architectural freedom in design it also reduces onsite plant requirements and opens up installation opportunities in a host of different locations.


“By offering huge potential to produce more efficient and cost-effective structures, carbon composites could truly revolutionise the construction of long span bridges.  They will also dramatically increase durability, reducing through-life costs and disruption due to reduced maintenance requirements.    As early pioneers, we’re proud to be at the forefront of this new era in bridge design, allowing innovative and more efficient structural forms to be conceived and constructed,” added Stefano Primi, Head-Infrastructures Area, ACCIONA, R&D Centre.


The footbridge opened at the end of 2010 and is now used by approximately 1500 people on a daily basis.  ACCIONA is currently constructing a 200m long single beam bridge in Cuenca (Spain).  The company also has plans to further explore the usage of composites in construction across Europe, with a longer term view to undertake similar projects on a global scale.


In partnership with Huntsman, ACCIONA has won the Civil Engineering category of the JEC Innovation Awards 2011, receiving the award in recognition of the innovative use of composites in construction.

Website: www.hunstman.com



Richmond Aerovac, part of UMECO Composites, is proud to announce the launch of STRETCHVAC3000 film, the newest addition to the market leading STRETCHVAC range of vacuum bagging films.


STRETCHVAC3000 is ideally suited to high temperature extended autoclave cures and is compatible with the majority of commonly used aerospace grade resin systems, including BMIs.


Boeing recently qualified and switched to STRETCHVAC3000 due to its superior adhesion to sealant tape, retention of mechanical properties during lengthy cure cycles (10+ hours) and improved quality performance in comparison to other aerospace approved vacuum bagging films.


Randy, senior composites engineer, in Seattle said “It’s awesome!  This film has given us increased confidence in our bagging processes and demonstrated improved security compared to our existing film.”


The film is widely used for composite manufacture in both roll stock and welded/kitted formats.


STRETCHVAC3000 is manufactured on UMECO Composites ‘state of the art’ blown extrusion line and is available in a wide variety of widths, thicknesses and formats.

Website: www.aerovac.com



Piper Test and Measurement Ltd & Siemens AG - Optimised Design of IPP Drive Support Structure


Piper Test and Measurement manufactures engine test systems incorporating its own range of dynamometers for specialist industries. Their instrumentation is comprehensive and ranges from simple analogue to full computer based data acquisition systems.
Component test systems are designed in close co-operation with the customer. Their knowledge of mechanical, electrical and hydraulic systems enables value for money units to be manufactured at short lead times, whilst close co-operation with engine manufacturers enables the most suitable test schedules to be prepared.
Piper Test and Measurement Ltd’s dynamometer equipment is used by the majority of engine manufacturers, distributors and their dealers.  It was Piper’s intimate knowledge of dynamometer and loading systems that convinced Siemens AG to appoint Piper Test and Measurement as a suitable partner in this project.



This case study describes the design and analysis of a support structure for a braking system that was used for a huge flywheel generator. The flywheel generator was designed as a motor generator unit used by the Max-Planck-Institut für Plasmaphysik (IPP) in Garching, Germany, to provide a considerable amount of power for their experiments.  IPP is investigating the physical principles underlying a plasma fusion power plant, to produce energy.

Piper Test and Measurement were required to supply a braking system for the flywheel generator.  A combination of a hydraulic dynamometer and a water-cooled disc brake was the only possibility as nothing else would have fitted into the building.  This braking system allowed the flywheel to come to a standstill in less than ten minutes, without it the generator would have taken a considerable time to slow down and stop.  The motor-generator was positioned on a concrete isolation block, connected to the floor of the building by damper elements. As a flexible shaft connection did not exist in the required size through which the new brake could have been connected, the braking system had to somehow be fixed onto the concrete foundation. However, the foundation did not have enough space for the new brake assembly simply to be placed onto it. Therefore, a cantilever supporting structure had to be designed for the braking system, which was to be fixed to the concrete block using some pre-existing holes drilled through the front face of the concrete block.  IDAC were required by Piper Test and Measurement to carry out Finite Element Analyses (FEA) to evaluate the design of a support structure for the braking system. 




The FEA project carried out by IDAC was split into three phases as follows:


Phase 1 - Shape

A topological optimisation was carried out in order to determine a preliminary design of the support frame.  This part of the project was carried out using the Shape Optimiser in ANSYS Mechanical. The software approximated the initial structure as a large volume, which was then “eaten away” at locations with low stresses, leaving a “pixelated” representation of the optimised support structure. The graphics to the left (top) show the starting geometry as a large volume and below this, the initial design shape that was predicted by ANSYS can be seen. An envelope of the initial volume was defined to locate the soleplates for the support structure and to define the position of the side arms.  The loading consisted of a static load (weight of the components and platform) and a dynamic load (reaction torque applied by the dynamometer and disc brake).


Phase 2 – Sizing & Dimensioning

Using the topologically optimised solution from Phase 1, a design optimisation was carried out in ANSYS Mechanical APDL.  A parametric model of beam and shell elements was created and optimised. The sizes and thicknesses of the beams and shells respectively, were defined as design variables and the mass of the structure as the objective function.  The natural frequency was defined as a state variable and the mass of the structure as the objective function to ensure that the natural frequencies of the steel support structure avoided the critical resonant frequencies of the concrete foundation block. One of the mode shape plots can be seen in the graphic to the right (top).  The design optimisation allowed the design of the support structure to be refined, and the beams and plates to be sized; this was then forwarded to Whittaker Engineering, who would be manufacturing the support structure.  Whittaker Engineering made some manufacturing modifications to the supporting structure design and provided IDAC with an Autodesk Inventor model of the structure for further analysis.


Phase 3 – Manufactured Design

This part of the project involved analysis of the Autodesk Inventor model in ANSYS Mechanical.   The solid model of beams and shells was meshed with solid elements and then re-analysed to verify the final design of the support structure.  The graphics to the right (middle & bottom) show the deformation and von-Mises stress results.


Design Benefit


Carrying out a shape optimisation within ANSYS Mechanical enabled the design of a supporting structure for the 11 tonne brake assembly to be carried out successfully. The analysis provided a design which made use of minimum weight and space, whilst giving a reliable design and a cost saving.  The results from the analyses also showed that maximum performance was attained whilst avoiding the modes of resonance of the concrete foundation block. 


Eddy Perk, Managing Director of Piper Test & Measurement says: “IDAC were given a number of criteria which were essential for the successful operation of the system.  The thoroughness with which they approached this task was without doubt professional and their capability in applying the ANSYS software impressive. This task
would have been both cumbersome and virtually impossible if done without this software. Time and money well spent”.

Website: www.idac.co.uk



Wanted - the oldest materials testing machine still in use


The origins of materials testing machines can be traced back several centuries. Equipment of this type can last a very long time if well looked after, so Zwick would like to know where the oldest testing machine still in service can be found and is offering an incentive for helping to answer this question in the form of a competition for users of such a machine.


As early as the 15th and 16th centuries, Leonardo da Vinci and Galileo Galilei were giving consideration to flexural stress and the elastic behavior of materials. The middle of the 18th century saw the first materials testing machines appear in France and around 1850 the first universal testing machine was developed in Germany. 19th century pioneers included companies such as Losenhausen and Mohr & Federhaff (the latter's workforce incidentally including one Carl Benz), together with Amsler and later Roell+Korthaus. In 1937 Zwick began to build instruments, machines and systems for mechanical materials testing.


Even though it is highly unlikely that a testing machine from the 19th century remains in service, there are certainly some 'old faithfuls' from the 20th century still in daily use. If you possess such a machine, why not take part in the competition first launched by Zwick at the Zwick Roell symposium 'Modernizations' on 25 May 2011.


You have a great opportunity to win a Zwick goods voucher to the value of €10,000, awarded for the oldest testing machine still in service. All you have to do is send a picture of the complete machine, a calibration report or a video as proof of serviceability and a picture of the clearly legible identification plate to josef.leyendecker@zwick.de.


The closing date for entries is 30 June 2012 and prizes will be presented during the 21st testXpo at Zwick's premises in Ulm in October 2012. As an added attraction, participants' names will be entered into a draw for an Apple iPad 2.