All Posts from August, 2011

Expansion of renewable energies creating boom in composites

August 31st, 2011 | By Angela in Allgemein, Architecture, Business, Construction Industry, Design, Electronics, Engineering, Innovation, Technology, Wind Energy Industry | No Comments »

Done and dusted. The German government’s decision to withdraw from nuclear energy has also paved the way for the development of renewable forms of energy. The proportion of electricity generation from renewable sources is expected to rise to at least 80 percent by 2050. Wind energy is planned to play a major role in this. Last year the sector contributed 7.9 percent to the total amount of electricity generated in Germany.

The energy policy of the German government includes giving greater support to offshore wind farms. The remuneration for this power is to be raised to 15 cents per kilowatt hour. Operators of onshore wind turbines will continue to receive up to 10.2 cents per kilowatt hour. 0.5 cents are paid for power from new wind parks if the old equipment went online before 2002. The new turbine should also deliver twice the amount of power than the old one.

Example of how the crystal structure could be used in the rotor blade of a wind turbine. (Photo: Wüstefeld)

Example of how the crystal structure could be used in the rotor blade of a wind turbine. (Photo: Wüstefeld)

These factors therefore represent healthy prospects for the future of the wind power sector. The manufacturers of fibre-reinforced composites are also expecting to benefit from this development – because modern wind turbines are inconceivable without glass and carbon fibre-reinforced plastics. The organisers of the international Composites Europe (CE) exhibition, to be held from 27 to 29 September 2011 in Stuttgart, recognised this early on and are giving the industry the platform it deserves. Well-known producers and processors of fibre composites for the wind energy sector and the relevant machine producers and suppliers get together each year at the event.

But it is not only the presence of the big names which makes a visit to the exhibition so worthwhile. Jens-Hagen Wüstefeld from Starnberg, for instance, has developed a crystalline structure as a lightweight construction element. It yields an 85 percent reduction in weight, lower manufacturing costs, outstanding rigidity and design flexibility in comparison to a solid material. Starting out with a geometric concept, he made a three dimensional lattice from triangles, similar to a crystal structure. Any forces applied to such a symmetrical grid are distributed optimally to adjacent surfaces and edges.

These lightweight elements can be manufactured to any scale, from any materials and in any form – including those appropriate for wind turbines. The resulting reduced weight of the tower would allow the foundation to be simplified. And the lower weight of the rotor would result in lower bearing loads and therefore reduced wear and greater efficiency in the entire turbine. The reduced amounts of materials required would also reduce production costs. Individual segments can easily be joined together, simplifying both transportation and erection.

Car makers competing in CFRP race

August 22nd, 2011 | By Angela in Allgemein, Automotive Industry, Composite production, Construction Industry, Design, Engineering, Technology | No Comments »

Audi, too, has now joined the race. Following BMW’s deployment of SGL Carbon and Mercedes‘ use of Toray, Audi has now entered into a partnership devoted to the development and fully automatic production of carbon fibre-reinforced materials. In the future, Audi’s reputation as a pioneer of lightweight construction will not be based exclusively on its use of aluminium. Vehicles containing the new material will be marketed under the „ultra“ label.

In collaboration with the machinery manufacturer Voith, the Audi engineers are setting up the industrial-scale manufacture of fibre-reinforced materials for the series production of cars; their main goal is to develop a fully automatic process chain. With series production their ultimate target, both partners are devoting themselves not only to the creation of processing engineering and mass production methods for conventional fibre-reinforced plastics but also to the development of new and innovative high-tech materials.

Audi R8 GT Spyder are made from CFRP (Photo: Audi)

The long flap of the folding top cover and the large rear side panels of the Audi R8 GT Spyder are made from CFRP. (Photo: Audi)

To date, Audi has only used CFRPs in its high-priced super sports cars such as the Audi R8 GT Spyder. The long flap of the folding top cover and the large rear side panels of the recently launched 560 PS version of the sports car are made from CFRP. The material is also used in the modified front spoiler, in the fixed rear spoiler and in the new rear bumper. These components account for total weight savings of 5.5 kilograms.

„Low-fat vehicles“ featuring fibre composites will also be highlighted at the international Composites Europe (CE) trade fair, to be held from 27 to 29 September 2011 in Essen. The BMW partner SGL Carbon will be there to demonstrate its expertise. The company supplies the carbon fibres for the Megacity Vehicle. This is the first time in which CFRP parts have been used in large-scale series production. This takes the company a step closer to producing affordable lightweight vehicles suitable for mass production based on fibre composites – putting BMW a nose ahead in the technology race. This is shown by the efforts of the rivals who are doing all they can to catch up. Take Audi, for example: it has set up an interdisciplinary carbon fibre research unit at its Neckarsulm plant aimed at adapting the CFRP technology processes for use in series production. The sister marque Lamborghini has also set up a research unit for carbon fibre technologies at the new Advanced Composites Research Center (ACRC) in Sant’Agata Bolognese.

Mecca Royal Hotel Clock Tower – 7 Questions to Dominik Ch. Scheurer

August 10th, 2011 | By Thorsten Holtz in Allgemein, Architecture, Automotive Industry, Business, Composite production, Construction Industry, consulting, Design | No Comments »

The Abraj Al-Bait Towers also known as the Mecca Royal Hotel Clock Tower is a complex under construction in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The building holds and will break several world records in the construction world, including: the tallest hotel in the world, constructed with the tallest clock tower in the world and displaying the world’s largest clock face. COMPOSITES EUROPE Blog met one of the project partner for this – Dominik Ch. Scheurer:

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International AVK Conference on 26 – 27 September 2011 – programme is online!

August 3rd, 2011 | By Angela in aerospace, Aerospace Industry, Automotive Industry, Awards, Biocomposites, Business, Composite production, Construction Industry, Engineering, Innovation, Technology | No Comments »

This year, once again, the AVK conference is the opening event of the COMPOSITES EUROPE trade fair, which is an important market place for your business with participants from the every stage of the industry’s value chain from 27 – 29 September.
The presentation of the AVK Innovation Award and Composites Night frame the event and provide an opportunity for informal communication.

The International AVK Conference in the ICS International Congress Center Stuttgart has a brand new concept.

In two series of lectures, prominent experts offer their insights into the many and diverse applications for fibre reinforced plastics. In order to reflect the needs of the different interest groups even more closely at the conference, the two series are divided into thematic blocks presented by executives and technology specialists respectively.

The speakers will focus on current developments and innovations in technologies, materials and new processes as well as on the general condition of the GRP and CRP market.
Some of the fascinating lectures include:

  • „Structural lightweight applications made from thermoplastic composites“ by Joachim Graefe, Quadrant Plastic Composites AG
  • „Thermoplastic composites for the A350 XWB“ by Dr. Klaus Edelmann, Airbus Operations GmbH.
  • Dr. Walter Aichholzer of Mercedes-Benz talks about the SMC decklid used in the premium automotive segment.

AVK represents the interests of all companies and institutions in the value chain involving components made of fibre-reinforced plastics and engineering thermosets

In a special lecture block „Research for practical application“ professors from renowned universities and institutes report on trends, comparative studies of materials, series manufacturing applications and the wide range of design possibilities offered by fibre reinforced plastics.
The conference closes with a panel discussion titled „The future of fiber composites and plastics in the automotive sector“ in which well-known participants from the automotive industry and its suppliers consider the current state of technology.

Have a look at the AVK conference programme now here.

You can register online here.


Composites giving the Airbus wings

August 2nd, 2011 | By Angela in aerospace, Allgemein, Business, Composite production, COMPOSITES Forum, Innovation, Technology | 1 Comment »

Airbus is outstripping Boeing. At the world’s largest aviation trade show held recently at Le Bourget near to Paris, the competition between the two largest aircraft makers for the custom of the airlines dominated the news coverage. The Europeans attracted 730 orders (418 of which were binding) to a total value of roughly EUR 50 billion whereas the Americans „merely“ posted 142 orders (58 of which binding) worth EUR 15 billion.

The Airbus A320 NEO is to be launched in 2015 and consumes 15 percent less fuel than the current model (photo: Airbus/Fixion).

The Airbus A320 NEO is to be launched in 2015 and consumes 15 percent less fuel than the current model (photo: Airbus/Fixion).

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