Monday, June 27, 2016

Victrex to Develop PAEK Grades for 3D Printing Targeted for Aerospace Industry

 Victrex is leading a consortium of companies and institutions pursuing innovation in 3D printing (additive manufacturing or AM). As part of its key role, Victrex will develop new grades of high-performance polyaryletherketone (PAEK) polymer based on innovative chemical formulations that are specifically designed to work in additive manufacturing processes. Although utilized in some AM applications today, current PAEK materials were originally developed for use in injection molding or extrusion manufacturing process. 

The new grades are targeted in particular at the aerospace industry, which is the consortium’s main focus, but will also consider applications in other areas, notably medical. Possessing intellectual property covering the new polymers being developed, Victrex was awarded funding from the UK's agency for innovation, Innovate UK, to help drive the project forward. Members of the consortium are other industry leaders such as Airbus Group Innovations, EOS e-Manufacturing Solutions, University of Exeter, E3D-Online, HiETA Technologies, South West Metal Finishing, and Avon Valley Precision Engineering.
A key objective is the improvement of the recycle rate for powders used in the additive manufacturing technique, laser sintering. This would significantly reduce polymer wastage in this type of additive manufacturing process and reduce costs. The project will also address unpredictability of inter-layer adhesion and parts surface finish in filament-based printing.

"Everyone is now keenly aware that additive manufacturing has the potential to revolutionize industrial production, since it no longer involves the high tooling and set-up costs of traditional manufacturing," noted David Hummel, Chief Executive of Victrex. "It also allows the production of very complex shapes and geometries that cannot be made by conventional means. High value, lower-volume applications such as aircraft components are the type of application that could benefit the most, although there are other areas, including medical that may also benefit."

The project now being undertaken by the consortium was originally conceived during a conference on polymer-based additive manufacturing at the University of Exeter in 2014, where Victrex presented some early-stage results on a new polymer with significant potential for additive manufacturing. The University of Exeter had already acquired experience and contacts in PEEK polymer-based additive manufacturing and was able to help bring the consortium into existence.

In fact, Victrex´s PAEK polymer is already being utilized for 3D printed parts in both filament fusion and powder-based laser sintering, while the company actively pursues new solutions. Within the industry, the consortium is looking at the innovative use of new PAEK polymer grades for potentially revolutionary aerospace-focused AM techniques. 

"This innovative project is a great example of Victrex once again leading the way and demonstrating how we are seeking to further develop the opportunities for our polymers,” commented Hummel, “expanding the market for PAEK applications and differentiating our business. We are at the start of an exciting journey in the formulation of new grades that can efficiently and cost-effectively exploit all the advantages of additive manufacturing.” 

By 2018, the project hopes to have technology demonstrators that represent proof points and a way forward to realizing all the advantages of additive manufacturing – including reduced costs and a faster time-to-market for products that include parts too complex to be manufactured using traditional methods. "Although this consortium is a multi-year program, companies who see a value for the benefits of PEEK polymer combined with the value propositions for additive manufacturing should contact us now to discuss their ideas", emphasized Hummel.

Source: Victrex 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Adwen and LM Wind Power partner to present the longest blade in the world

Adwen and LM Wind Power have partnered to take a large step forward towards lowering the cost of energy in offshore, putting their respective technology expertise together to present the longest blade in the world.

The huge component of 88.4 meters has been specifically designed for Adwen's AD 8-180 wind turbine model, with 8MW nominal capacity and 180 meter rotor diameter. The first of these huge blades has just been manufactured at LM Wind Power's factory in Lunderskov (Denmark) and will be transported to a facility in Aalborg in the following days, where it will commence rigorous testing in the framework of Adwen's extensive product validation plan.

The engineering teams of both companies have been working together for months to design and integrate a blade that represents an important step forward in the race to lower the Levelized Cost of Energy (LCoE). With the largest rotor in the industry (180 meters), the AD 8-180 has the highest annual energy production (AEP) of all wind turbines. 

The LM 88.4 P blade has been designed with manufacturability and reliability in mind, benefiting from the unique know-how of LM Wind Power, developing large blades for offshore application for the past 25 years and resulting in a 925 MW installed base. LM Wind Power's track record combined with Adwen's powerful turbine, technology and unique experience from operating 630 MW offshore wind farms has resulted in a state of the art rotor integration with innovative features, building on proven technologies.

The 88.4 meters length of the blades is the best compromise between swept area, energy production, and the weight as well as the loads transferred to the wind turbine. This combination provides the optimum balance of plant costs and contributes to one of the most competitive LCoE in the industry. In addition, the blade design has been conceived with scalability in mind to enable the further development of Adwen's 8 MW platform.

"When you are building the largest wind turbine in the world, almost everything you do is an unprecedented challenge. We are going where no one else has ever gone before, pushing all the known frontiers in the industry. Having developed and integrated together with LM Wind Power the first unit of the longest blade ever and being able to start testing is a key step forward in the development of our AD 8-180 and proves that Adwen is at the forefront of the industry", says Luis Álvarez, Adwen General Manager.

LM Wind Power's CEO, Marc de Jong adds: "The LM 88.4 P blade is an extraordinary example of industrialized innovation at record breaking scale. It is based on innovation building blocks, rooted in 35 years of real life experience, in the design, technology and manufacturing of ultra-long, reliable blades. This blade is a strong proof point of the shared ambition of Adwen and LM Wind Power to bring forward best in class and proven rotor solutions for offshore application, increasing Annual Energy output through efficient and reliable technology."


Friday, June 17, 2016

Oxeon’s TeXtreme® Carbon Fiber Fabrics Improve Durability & Strength of Tennis Paddles

Spanish-based Enebe Padel has launched its 2016 range of paddle tennis paddles featuring its top-of-the-line Spitfire TeXtreme®– manufactured using TeXtreme® carbon fiber fabrics.

TeXtreme® is a unique carbon fiber material that differs from conventional carbon fiber materials as a result of its proprietary production processes. The company’s history of contributing to successful product releases – for companies including Bauer Hockey, Prince Tennis, Cobra Puma Golf, Stiga Table Tennis and Bell Helmets – stands proof to the real-world performance improvements achieved using TeXtreme® technology.

Pilar Osca, Chief Marketing Officer of Enebe Sports Group, says, “Using TeXtreme® carbon fiber fabrics in our paddles has contributed to increased durability along with improvements in strength while achieving ultra-light weight. This fiber is definitely lighter than the carbon fiber generally used and resulted in a measurable increase in power and shot accuracy. Our technical team has been able to deliver a high performance paddle to players that weren’t possible with other carbon fiber materials.”

“We are excited to have a presence in yet another sport and see that our materials bring value to so many different applications. For producing lightweight composite products, the TeXtreme® Technology again proves to be the best choice in materials,” says Andreas Martsman, VP of Marketing & Sales at Oxeon – the makers of TeXtreme®.

Enebe Padel is a subsidiary of Enebe Sport Group, an international company with over 50 years of experience in the field of sports and a presence in more than 60 countries. The Enebe Padel Team counts among its players Matias Nicoletti, Pitu Losada (three-time world paddle tennis champion), Jake Benzal and Ricky Martinez - all participants in the World Padel Tour.

In addition to the use of TeXtreme® in paddle tennis paddles, its innovative carbon fiber materials are applied in Formula 1, NASCAR and America’s Cup racing, as well as in the manufacture of bicycles, golf clubs, ice hockey sticks, surfboards, rowing shells, skis and snowboards – and in various industrial and advanced aerospace applications.

Source: Oxeon 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

ROBIN Radar Selects DSM’s Dyneema® Crystal Technology for Elvira® Radome

THE NETHERLANDS -- DSM Dyneema, the manufacturer of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) fiber, branded as Dyneema®, announced that ROBIN Radar Systems has selected industry-leading Dyneema® Crystal Technology for the radome of its new Elvira® drone detection system.
Protection Benefits of Dyneema® Crystal Technology for Elvira® drone detection system

  • With near-zero signal loss it helps Elvira® detect drones and classify them
  • It distinguishes drone detection system from birds or other flying objects
  • It differentiates drone systems from traditional radar systems even at longer distances
  • It helps in detecting larger fixed-wing drones at a range of nine kilometers and smaller multi-rotor drones at up to three kilometers
  • Offers electromagnetic transparency
  • Provides superior protection to sensitive equipment in harsh outdoor environments 
  • Results in extreme weight reduction which aids easy transport

Elvira® radomes are produced by DSM Dyneema’s partner Airbrone. The two companies collectively manufacture next-generation radomes made with Dyneema® Crystal Technology for customers worldwide.

Gerben Pakkert, head of R&D at ROBIN Radar Systems: Dyneema® Crystal Technology fulfills the most desired requirements of Elvira® which is looking for small targets and distinguishing fine details to prevent false positives. It provides high transparency to minimize signal loss, therefore rules out existing alternatives. Dyneema® Crystal Technology delivers lower signal loss than any other radome material available today, allowing to realize the full potential of advanced radar system. 

Elvira® was specifically designed for drone detection. After winning a tender from the Dutch Ministry of Justice, ROBIN Radar applied its expertise in tracking small targets to design the new system, which launched in April 2016. Elvira® provides military-grade radar capabilities, including advanced Doppler processing that enables it to track even the most agile drones. The system is offered at a competitive price that supports broad usage in professional security scenarios, such as protecting high-profile events, airports, harbors, prisons and other critical infrastructures against drones. By combining detection and classification in just one sensor, the technology saves precious time in the decision process.

Danielle Petra, new business development manager at DSM Dyneema: The most important requirement of drone detection it to accurately detecting and classifying them. Elvira® is an excellent example of how Dyneema® Crystal Technology is helping customers create radically new detection technologies and underscores DSM Dyneema’s commitment to supporting its customers with the most advanced security materials on the market today.

Properties of Dyneema® Crystal Technology

  • provides an extremely low loss tangent
  • offers approximately half the dielectric constant compared to aramid, e-glass and quartz
  • electrical properties maintain superior performance even at higher frequencies from X band to millimeter band
  • electrical properties allow military, civil and telecommunications organizations to realize the full potential of their advanced antenna, radar, radio astronomy or communications systems
  • offers an exceptional strength-to-weight ratio and high impact resistance 
  • can be used in thinner gauges that enhance transmission quality even more
  • Its weight-reduction property makes radomes more energy-efficient to ship and easier to maneuver and install

Dyneema® Crystal Technology is inherently hydrophobic without the need for time-consuming and demanding secondary resin application, a property that virtually eliminates the need for regular maintenance.

Source: DSM 

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Fraunhofer & Stratasys Redefine Movie Industry with Advanced Plastic 3D Printing Solution

Stop-motion animation has a unique appeal. When employing the technique, twenty-four frames equal one second of animation. Each frame must be meticulously set up with puppets and props incrementally altered in small movements. An entire movie is compiled from the individual motionless scenes, captured by a digital camera. LAIKA, the US-based animation studio, has produced three Oscar®-nominated animated films: The Boxtrolls (2014), ParaNorman (2012) and Coraline (2009). Their use of 3D printing in animation garnered them a Scientific and Engineering award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science. The studio's fourth feature, Kubo and the Two Strings, will open in theaters this year.

In order to produce the puppets facial expressions, LAIKA designs, models, animates and paints the faces in the computer, then uses color 3D printers to produce tens of thousands of slightly different facial expressions. LAIKA pioneered this technique on its inaugural film Coraline and has continued to push the limits of 3D Printing technology on each subsequent film. On LAIKA’s fifth film they will be utilizing the most cutting edge color plastic printing hardware from Stratasys combined with the powerful universal print driver Cuttlefish from Fraunhofer IGD to help achieve accurate and repeatable color from face to face.

Cuttlefish makes it possible to work with many printing materials at the same time, to accurately replicate the geometry, colors and smooth color transitions of the original, and to simulate the printout on screen in advance. “Our first tests were fantastic”, says Academy Award winner and director of LAIKA’s rapid prototyping department, Brian McLean. “We have never seen such accurate and detailed color before in a plastic 3D print.”

Source: Fraunhofer 

eatSafe Launches Eco-friendly PLA Shrink Film for Tamper-evident Packaging

In response to the growing market in the US for lower-waste product packaging, driven by consumers who are making environmentally-conscious purchasing decisions eatsafe offers an earth-friendly renewably-sourced PLA shrink film for your tamper-evident packaging process, called ecoSafe.

Origin of ecoSafe Film:

ecoSafe is a biodegradable polylactic acid film, commonly referred to as PLA. 
ecoSafe is derived from annually renewable resources, and it is manufactured using plant sugars to create a proprietary polylactide polymer.

Advantages of ecoSafe Film:

This material is far superior environmentally to oil-based PET, polyethylene, PVC and polypropylene films, which use 20-250% more non-renewable energy during production and produce 4-6 times more greenhouse gases during their life cycle.

Properties of ecoSafe Film:
eatSafe’s ecoSafe PLA film has several eco-friendly end-of-life choices which are environmentally-superior to all other plastics. 
ecoSafe can be composted in industrial facilities.
It can be incinerated with no volatile compounds (VOCs) and low residue created during burning. 
It produces 75% less greenhouse gas compared to oil-based PET products, even if the product ends up in a landfill.

Source: eatSafe 

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Proviron to Invest in Storage Tank for ATBC Bio-based Plasticizer in Friendly, WV

Following four years of successful sales of ATBC in North America, the chemical company Proviron has decided to commission a bulk storage tank of ATBC (Proviplast® 2624) at its operations facility in Friendly, WV.

To increase support for ATBC plasticizer customers in North America, Proviron has installed a permanent storage tank for its Proviplast® 2624 (ATBC) plasticizer, which is now fully operational. The bulk tank located in the Mid-Ohio Valley will result in shorter lead times and delivery times, and a very reliable supply of our Proviplast® 2624 (ATBC) to our customers in the Nafta region.

Proviplast® 2624 (ATBC) is a bio-based general purpose plasticizer ideal for use in food contact applications such as stretch film or seal closures and numerous medical and pharmaceutical applications. Because of its excellent solvating characteristics it can also be incorporated in plastisols for flooring and coatings.

“Proviron is showing its commitment to the US market and has uniquely positioned itself to react quickly and efficiently to meet the ever changing customer demands. Now our customers can take advantage of Proviplast® 2624 (ATBC) which is readily available and can be shipped in pails, drums, totes and tanker trailers” states Biren Shah, Sales &Marketing Manager Nafta at Proviron.

“Proviron has been a global provider of plasticizers for over 20 years and this step is in line with our strategy to grow our phthalate-free plasticizer business further. This local ATBC bulk tank is a game changer for the North American market. This is a unique opportunity for our customers to reduce inventory and switch to JIT deliveries, freeing up capital” says Stefaan Depecker, Commercial Director at Proviron.

Source: Proviron