COMPOSITES 2011 – preview

The American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA) annual trade show takes place on 2-4 February in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. We review some of the exhibitor highlights.

Applying Scott Bader's Crystic Crestabond adhesive.
Applying Scott Bader's Crystic Crestabond adhesive.
Infrared analysis comparing unsaturated polyester made with bio-derived propylene glycol with unsaturated polyester made petro-derived PG shows identical spectra.
Infrared analysis comparing unsaturated polyester made with bio-derived propylene glycol with unsaturated polyester made petro-derived PG shows identical spectra.

AOC Booth 504 Website:

AOC will focus on its commitment to green technologies during the Composites 2011 show, where show attendees can learn the latest about the company's EcoTek technologies.

“The objective of EcoTek green resin technologies is to offer a seamless transition for composite fabricators,” reports Dr John E. McAlvin, a Research and Development Manager for AOC. “EcoTek products need to offer processing characteristics and end-use performance properties that are better than or equivalent to conventional resin technologies.”

McAlvin’s conference presentation is titled Green Composites Through the Use of Styrene-Free Resins and Unsaturated Polyesters Derived from Renewable and Recycled Raw Materials and details AOC's progress in the development of EcoTek greener resins that are:

  • derived from biologically renewable materials;
  • derived from recycled materials; and/or
  • free of styrene.

The paper features newer EcoTek work in six resin product categories:

  1. Renewable/recycled cured-in-place-pipe. The reactivity, stability, viscosities, density, peak temperature and other properties of a new bio-derived isophthalic acid-propylene glycol (ISO-PG) resin matches the specifications of petrochemical-based products.
  2. Styrene-free cured-in-place-pipe. A new styrene-free resin reduces emissions and odour and helps CIPP installers meet regional government requirements. For these styrene-free systems, mechanical and liquid properties such as viscosity, gel time, cure profile, wet-out, and initiated stability meet requirements suitable for a range of CIPP applications.
  3. Renewable/recycled casting resins. EcoTek casting resins exhibit stain resistance and strengths that are similar to those exhibited by isophthalic-neopenytyl glycol polyesters, the standard for the cast polymer industry. All physical properties of the renewable resin are within acceptable ranges for most solid surface and engineered stone applications.
  4. Acrylic bonding renewable/recycled resin. The green alternative is designed to be used with filler as a back-up laminate for acrylic sheets, typically used in bathware applications. Liquid and mechanical properties of the EcoTek resin are similar to those of conventional resins. Testing according to ASTM C297 demonstrates excellent bond strength between the EcoTek unsaturated polyester and the acrylic substrate.
  5. Fire retardant renewable/recycled resin. A new resin system derived from renewable and recycled material is designed to be blended with alumina trihydrate (ATH) to provide fire retardant properties for mass transit applications.
  6. Styrene-free laminating resins. A novel polymer system developed with non-styrene reactive diluents results in a thermoset network with a crosslink density comparable to conventional resins. Mechanical properties of the styrene-free resin compare favorably to the DCPD-derived, general purpose marine laminating resins.

AOC will also unveil a new EcoTek video during the trade show.  

Composites One Booth 917 Website:

Composites One, along with the Closed Mold Alliance and over 10 industry partners, will host demonstrations of closed mould technology at booth 917 on Wednesday 3 February and Thursday 4 February. Visitors will be able to see demonstrations three closed mould processes – Light resin transfer moulding (Light RTM), the vacuum infusion process (VIP), and Flex Molding – used to produce replica wind blades, a replica nacelle, and other production parts.

New this year will be the introduction of temperature controlled moulding to the vacuum infusion process, a control process that manages exotherm temperatures using controlled radical polymerisation (CRP) for composites. Temperature controlled moulding was developed through a collaboration between TCM Composites, Andre Cocquyt, Arkema, and Cook Composites & Polymers.

“With a replica wind blade mould, we’ll demonstrate how vacuum infusion and temperature controlled moulding are ideal for parts that require superior flow characteristics, faster production times, enhanced physical properties, and extended gel times,” says Composites One's Vice President of Marketing, Greg Shymske. “We’ve helped manufacturers see for themselves how closed mould is ideal for building a wide range of parts and now they will see system enhancements making it even easier to build parts more efficiently.”

Also new this year, will be the Flex Molding Technology recently introduced by Magnum Venus Plastech (MVP). There will be a video demonstration of how to make a silicone bag using the Flex Mold Process. Afterwards a live demonstration using the same silicone bag will show the production of a replica wind blade. In addition, new Flex Molding controls will be featured in all work cells.

The Light RTM work cell will feature a replica nacelle and 10-12 parts will be manufactured daily.

A new micro-infused resin technology that can be used in closed moulding will also be featured. Available from Australian company MIRteq, the technology uses a resin with a modified polymer structure making it safer for the environment.

All closed mould demonstrations will feature Magnum Venus Plastech (MVP). The programme will also be presented with assistance of RTM North Technologies.

These live demonstrations are the culmination of a joint effort between Composites One, the Closed Mold Alliance and its supplier partners: Airtech Advanced Materials Group, Airex Baltek, Arkema, Cook Composites & Polymers, Chemtrend, Chomarat, ITW Plexus, Kit Concepts, Magnum Venus Plastech, MIRteq, Owens Corning, Progress Plastiques, RTM North, Syrgis, TCM Composites, Vectorply, and Wacker Silicones.  

Scott Bader Inc Booth 1508 Website:

Scott Bader will be exhibiting at the ACMA show for the first time. The company will be promoting its new speciality products:

  • Crystic® Crestabond, a primerless structural adhesives range based on methacrylate chemistry;
  • Crestapol® 1214, a ‘low shrink’ high performance pultrusion resin; and
  • Crystic® Fireguard 75PA Excel intumescent fire resistant topcoat. 

Scott Bader will also be promoting its long established Crystic Crestomer® urethane acrylate structural adhesives range, specified by leading boat builders worldwide for a variety of demanding hull and deck structural bonding applications. Representatives from Scott Bader Inc, including the Adhesives Technical Manager and Global Business Manager for Scott Bader, will be available throughout the show.    

Visitors to the Scott Bader booth will also be able to watch two new DVDs. The Crystic Fireguard 75PA Excel DVD shows the fire performance of this intumescent topcoat. There is also a practical demonstration DVD on the correct techniques for the application of the new Crystic Crestabond structural adhesives.   

Thermwood Corporation Booth 1236 Website:

Thermwood offers systems for the production, fabrication and trimming of composites. These applications range from machining patterns and moulds, to trimming and machining production products. Thermwood offers three- and five-axis moving table and moving gantry systems capable of machining small and large parts in a single setup.

Thermwood machines use engineered structures designed using CAD/CAM and structural analysis. All weldments are fully stress relieved and the final machine is laser calibrated to assure accuracy, including three-dimensional volumetric compensation.  

Vectorply Corporation Booth 1011 Website:

Vectorply Corporation, Phenix City, Alabama, a manufacturer of high performance composite fabrics, is unveiling the newest version of its laminate analysis software, VectorLam Cirrus, during COMPOSITES 2011.

"We have taken VectorLam to the next level,” says Vectorply's Director of Composites Engineering, Trevor Gundberg. “Our new Cirrus version expands on its already powerful laminate analysis capabilities while also providing the user with many more useful tools when comparing and evaluating stiffness, strength, weight and cost in our customer’s composite part."

VectorLam Cirrus now incorporates a metric unit option on the Summary page, hull side laminates on the DNV page and more deflection limit options on the Plate page. The navigation between laminates from the 'Build a Laminate' screen is also a new feature.  

If your company is an exhibitor at COMPOSITES 2011 and you would like to be included in this feature, please e-mail your information to