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Editor's highlights

Finding ways of getting carbon fibre into high-volume automotive parts was once again a key focus at JEC World in Paris, France, on 14–16 March 2017. Notable developments on show included those from SGL, Solvay, Toho Tenax Europe and Lanxess.

However, BMW – with its i models and 7 Series – is currently the only carmaker using carbon fibre-reinforced plastics (CFRPs) in anything approaching high volumes.

One might expect further developments from other European carmakers, but perhaps those in the USA will be the next to make giant leaps with CFRP.

Ford, for example, has already spent hundreds of millions of dollars switching from steel to lightweight, but more expensive, aluminium for the body of its best-selling F-Series pick-up trucks. It was driven to do so by the application of US Corporate Average Fuel Economy [CAFE] regulations to medium- and heavy-duty trucks.

While this switch has been Ford’s primary materials focus over the last half-decade or so, the carmaker has also been beavering away with composites. Take the CFRP wheels it developed for its Mustang. Or the subframe it unveiled at JEC, developed in partnership with Magna.

The aluminium industry in the US has profited extensively from Ford’s use of the material. Indeed, one of its biggest problems was simply that of keeping up with demand. The Aluminium Association says that its members have invested more than $2.8 billion in plant expansions in the USA since 2013.

It is perhaps then interesting to note a number of carbon fibre specialists currently consolidating their position in the USA. Mitsubishi Rayon Co Ltd, for example, has recently purchased composites design, engineering and prototyping firm Gemini Composites LLC, and the SGL Carbon Fibers LLC from the SGL Group. Teijin, meanwhile, has completed its acquisition of automotive composite parts producer Continental Structural Plastics Holdings (CSP) Corp.

The technologies for the mass application of CFRP are almost ready; whether the will to use them in anger is there is yet to be seen.

Be sure to subscribe to TTNet to be kept up-to-date with these and other developments in the composites industry, and their ramifications for manufacturers of technical textiles.

James Bakewell, Composites Editor.

INDEX preview

TTNet is pleased to make available the preview articles of the forthcoming INDEX exhibition. To help readers prepare for what promises to be a busy and vibrant exhibition, please click here to access a complimentary PDF of these articles as they appear in our sister publication Technical Textiles International.


Coating and laminating—adding value to industry

Coaters and laminators have been at the heart of the development of functional textile products throughout the era of technical textiles, their skills being employed to tailor fabrics of all kinds, nonwovens and fibres to meet the specific requirements of even the most-challenging applications. Today more than ever before, the needs of technical textiles are shaping the development of all aspects of the coating and laminating industry, including those of suppliers (chemicals and machinery), processors and end-users.

Some of the delegates at the previous edition of the Textile Coating and Laminating conference in Prague, Czech Republic.

Fortunately, throughout much of this history, the Textile Coating and Laminating conference has provided a valuable meeting place for senior executives, technical managers, marketing staff and industry observers, allowing them to gather and exchange ideas on state-of-the-art developments, shaping the future of their companies and of the industry. Topics discussed include: the emergence of new applications and trends in the existing markets; new machinery, processing technology and materials (such as smart and/or sustainable materials); the latest requirements of end-users; emerging technologies (including digital printing, nanotechnology, and conductive and/or self-repairing coatings); the impact of regulations and legislation, such as that banning the current generation of flame-retardant additives.

The conference also gives attendees the chance to discuss the latest commercial opportunities these developments are creating, and meet new suppliers, partners and customers at the cutting-edge of the sector.

The event also features taple-top exhibits allowing suppliers to hold one-to-one discussions with key industry figures.

To be involved at the next event, in Berlin, Germany, 8–9 November 2017, register your interest now. Most presentations are by invitation, but a small number of places are reserved for unsolicited speakers. If you wish to be considered for ones of these the deadline for the submission of abstracts is 10 March.

Save the date

SAVE THE DATE: 8-9 November 2017

International Conference on Textile Coating and Laminating, Berlin, Germany

We are pleased to announce the date of the next textile coating and laminating conference. Following the success of last year's event in Prague, we are holding the next conference in Berlin, Germany at the Novotel Am Tiergarten 8-9 November 2017, in the heart of the country's capital city.

Please put the date in your diary, and look out for further details. We have now issued a Call for Papers for potential speakers to present alongside our core panel of invited experts. Click here for full details. We invite you to register on our conference website to ensure that you are sent the latest information about the programme, early-bird registration details, and other updates as they become available at www.intnews.com/TCL.

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Available now for immediate download in PDF format, or ensure your printed copy by ordering today. Click here for full information on the report and to order.


More Features

From its industry leaders to its politicians, Germany has grasped the importance of carbon fibre-reinforced composites to the future of manufacturing and is taking steps to secure its position in global markets. Adrian Wilson reports.

Director of Technology at Technical Fibre Products, Nigel Walker, recently outlined the functionalities that can be added to products via the use of specialized materials in multi-layered constructions. Adrian Wilson reports what he had to say. 

A collaborative research project in Germany is exploring the possibilities for nonwovens made from recycled carbon fibre as reinforcements for composites. Already the team has developed a novel production process and made unique materials that have potential as heating elements. Claus Lütke explains what the team has learned so far and what they will do next.

While presenting the Society of Chemical Industry’s prestigious Ivan Levinstein Memorial Lecture, Richard Horrocks surveyed the development and use of textiles in fire protection. Ian Holme listened to what he had to say and reports for Technical Textiles International.