Safran and Albany International Inaugurate a New Plant for 3D Woven RTM Composite Aircraft Engine Parts, in Rochester, NH


Jean-Paul Herteman, Chairman and CEO of Safran, and Joseph Morone, President and CEO of Albany International Corp., inaugurated today a new plant in Rochester, New Hampshire, that will produce 3D woven RTM composite parts for aircraft engines. The inauguration ceremony was held in the presence of representatives of the U.S. and French governments, including New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan, Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Senator Kelly Ayotte, Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter, Rochester Mayor T.J., Jean, François Delattre, the Ambassador of the French Republic in the U.S., and Fabien Fieschi, Consul General of France.

The Rochester operations of Safran and Albany International are located in a new facility, about 300,000 square feet, situated in the Granite State Business Park. The plant, which opened during 2013, was built to produce 3D woven composite parts using RTM technology for aircraft engine parts. The first application will be fan cases and fan blades for CFM International’s LEAP engine*, dedicated to the next-generation single-aisle aircraft. A total of 130 people currently are employed at the joint operation, with a total of 400-500 envisioned when full-rate production is attained.

The foundation of the LEAP engine is deeply rooted in advanced aerodynamics, environmental, and materials technologies. Particularly strong and lightweight, the 3D RTM composite parts produced by Safran and Albany will contribute strongly to provide 15 percent better fuel consumption compared to today’s best CFM engine. Selected to power new and improved narrow-body commercial aircraft including the Boeing 737 MAX and the Airbus A320neo, the LEAP engine has achieved broad-based market acceptance with more than 6,000 engines ordered to date.

“I am very pleased to inaugurate this plant today along with our Albany International partner,” said Jean-Paul Herteman. “Our presence in Rochester reflects our commitment to this state and to the U.S. For more than 40 years, through CFM International, our exceptional long-term partnership with GE, and both organic growth and acquisitions, Safran has become a formidable presence in the U.S. Our aim is to continue to expand our position and to contribute to the development of the aerospace and security markets as an American company, to ensure optimum service for our civil and military customers here,” he added.

Joseph Morone, President and CEO of Albany International Corp., said “Today’s event is an important milestone in a collaboration between Safran and Albany that began in 2000 as joint research and development and that has blossomed into the unique partnership epitomized by this plant. The strong relationships our two companies have formed with the State of New Hampshire and City of Rochester and their support of our joint effort have contributed immeasurably to the success we celebrate today.”

Safran and Albany have made significant investments in the Rochester plant, which features a state-of-the-art industrial design, and the two companies are also building a similar plant in Commercy, France, that will produce the same advanced composites parts for the LEAP engine. The Commercy plant will start operations mid-2014.


Quantum Polymers Announces 8” Diameter Carbon and Glass Filled PEEK Rod Products

March 31, 2014 08:30 AM Eastern Daylight Time

NEWARK, Del.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Quantum Polymers today announced the availability of QuantaPEEK-GF30/CF30 extruded stock shape plastic rod products up to 8” in diameter, made with 30% carbon fiber and glass fiber filled PEEK resin compounds.

“We are proud to be a pioneer in introducing the largest size stock shapes in the industry”

These products work well for applications requiring a balance of chemical resistance and mechanical strength in high temperature environments like those frequently found in the Oil and Gas, Chemical Processing, and Semiconductor industries.

“We are proud to be a pioneer in introducing the largest size stock shapes in the industry”, said Kathleen Cerchio, Director of Sales at Quantum Polymers. “This first-time availability of 8” diameter rods in glass and carbon fiber filled PEEK demonstrates our culture of constant innovation and continuous improvement.”

Extruded stock shapes from Quantum Polymers are offered when close-tolerance machined parts are required. Quantum’s excellent quality is due to manufacturing equipment that has been optimized for the complexities of high performance polymer extrusion. Extruded rods, tubes and plates manufactured in their Newark, DE plant are porosity free, which is especially critical for uniformity in thick cross sections and flawless machining. Quantum’s proprietary annealing techniques result in machined parts with no residual stress.

“It is refreshing to see the approach that Quantum Polymers is taking in providing high quality and innovative high performance polymers in shapes previously unavailable to our market”, says Randy White, President and CEO of Piper Plastics Inc.

Quantum stocks a broad inventory of rod and plate, offers small minimum order processing, and has short lead times for items not in stock at time of purchase (usually 2-3 weeks).


Composites could revolutionize shipping containers

By Stephen Moore
Published: March 30th, 2014

The humble shipping container has been around in its current form pretty much since its American inventor Malcolm McLean came up with the idea in 1956. At a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science held in Chicago last month, Stephan Lechner, of the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre in Ispra, Italy, detailed how carbon fiber composites might revolutionize this tool of global trade.

While a composite container might cost EUR6000 ($8300) versus EUR2200 ($3050) or a steel container, at a diesel fuel cost of EUR1.6 per liter ($8.40/gallon), the composite container would break even after the container has traveled around 120,000 km (74,500 miles) on account of their lighter weight: 1.2 tonnes versus 2.2 tonnes for a steel container. They would also be corrosion-resistant to boot.

Composite containers could also potentially be foldable, meaning they could be laid flat on their return to China. Further, they would also be more secure because they could be easily scanned without opening.

In 2006 America’s Congress passed a law requiring all containers arriving from abroad into American ports to be scanned for illicit materials and illegal immigrants but the deadline for compliance continues to be pushed back due to technical issues: scanning steel requires high-power X-rays, or even gamma rays, which are expensive to generate and hazardous. Carbon-fiber composite containers, however, could be scanned with “soft” X-rays, which are easier to generate and use.

Lechner and his team are also proposing the embedding of vibration sensors in containers powered that would be powered by piezoelectric materials. These could be used to spot stowaways or shifting cargo. In this manner, they would be powered by the very vibrations they were designed to detect. Low-powered wireless networks, supplied with electricity in a similar manner, would then relay the info to port authorities. Lechner’s team have proved that the idea works in principle. Other sensors could also be embedded to track a container across the seas, and red-flag suspicions trans-shipment patterns, for example. European authorities currently uncover something untoward in about one-fifth of the containers they flag as suspicious, highlighting the need for close monitoring.

Lightweight containers take to the air.

In a related development, TenCate Advanced Armor USA (Newark, OH) has signed a teaming agreement with Air Cargo Containers, LLC (Phoenix, AZ) to manufacture lightweight air cargo containers. The fully-certified, lightweight, composite air cargo carriers have a tare weight of 480 lb. (218 kg) or about 350 lb. (159 kg) less than competing aluminum containers, a 42 percent weight savings.

Air Cargo Containers was granted Technical Standard Order (TSO C90d) certification for its lightweight-composite AMJ model Unit Load Device (ULD) in December 2013. It is the first all-composite container to receive this certification by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). It is constructed of proprietary composite side panels and floor panel, built around an aerospace grade aluminum frame, for lightness and durability as well as improved maintenance characteristics and flame retardant capability. The composite material and assembly of the entire container will be carried out by TenCate Advanced Armor.

The lightweight composite container has delivers a 42 percent weight savings. In addition, it incorporates a proprietary and patented roll-up door with destruction proof side glides and lock down features for safety in operation.


New research could lead to safer football helmets


CLEMSON — Growing concerns about brain trauma to football players have led to a new pact between Clemson University and two companies that could change the materials used to make helmets.

Bioengineering and packaging science researchers will work with Innegra Technologies of Greenville and B&W Fiber Glass of Shelby, N.C., to evaluate whether Innegra-based composites could provide superior head protection to athletes involved in contact sports.

The companies have developed “Innegra H yarns.” The yarns combine high-strength fibers, such as carbon fiber, with the toughness of Innegra S fibers to create hybrid yarns with unique characteristics.

“A majority of the improvements in head protection have focused on padding or adjustments to the shape of the helmet, but few, if any, changes have been made to the materials used in the shell of the helmet,” said John DesJardins, an assistant professor in bioengineering.

“This study could very well change the entire thought process involved with the design of high-impact head protection and the materials used to manufacture helmets.”

The Innegra H yarns have been shown to significantly increase the impact resistance of fiber-reinforced composites, resulting in safer and stronger composite structures.

Innegra-based composites are used in hockey sticks, whitewater kayaks and other high-impact applications.

“With the ongoing concerns of brain trauma in football, Innegra Technologies sought to collaborate with an educational institution with the resources to determine whether Innegra fibers can in fact provide better protection than what is on the market today,” said Jeff Ettin, vice president of business development for Innegra Technologies.

Innegra Technologies and B&W Fiber Glass see opportunities for the materials to be used in a range of areas in which safety is a concern, including sporting equipment and automobiles.

Testing at Clemson will be done by DesJardins and Gregory Batt, an instructor in the department of food, nutrition and packaging science.

They plan to evaluate and categorize a wide range of composite configurations based on Innegra fiber’s unique ability to absorb impact energy, reducing the chance of head injury.

The partnership between Clemson and the companies is expected to last into early 2015. Its goal is to provide the next generation of helmet materials to the sports industry.

Clemson and the companies came together after Innegra learned of Clemson’s work through news coverage of a high-impact helmet testing demonstration at Roper Mountain Science Center.

The demonstration highlighted the risk of concussions in contact sports by striking a dummy’s head with numerous objects, including weights, footballs, baseballs and helmets. That Creative Inquiry work is in its third year and is co-mentored by DesJardins, Delphine Dean and David Kwartowitz.