In The News

CIC Newsletter – Thursday, January 31, 2008

Advanced Automation in Aerospace Seminar a Success 

For the first time, the Composites Innovation Centre (CIC) teamed up with Siemens Canada and the Manitoba Aerospace Association to hold a comprehensive Advanced Automation in Aerospace half day seminar in Winnipeg in December, 2007. The program balanced an overview of existing technologies and aspirations of local aerospace companies with those from key technology providers together with capabilities being developed within academia and research organizations. Presentations were provided by Boeing Canada and Magellan Aerospace who are increasingly investing in automation and integration for manufacturing and logistics to improve their competitiveness. An overview of local academia was given by the University of Manitoba and Red River College describing their research and educational programs with associated infrastructure to support industrial needs. An invited speaker, Mehdi Hojjati from the National Research Council’s Aerospace Manufacturing Technology Centre in Montreal, provided a very interesting overview of their two advanced fibre placement (AFP) work cells including recently acquired Viper equipment from Cincinnati Machine to be set up in Montreal by the summer 2008. The half day session concluded with insightful presentations from technology providers Siemens Canada and Brock Solutions. “I am especially pleased with the outcome of the AAA seminar,” said Mr. Murray Grant, Siemens Canada’s General Manager, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Northern Ontario, “with almost 60 attendees and excellent industry participation it was very encouraging. The impending need for highly innovative and efficient processing and manufacturing, especially for composite components, combined with expected supply shortfalls in the demand curve for major programs like Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner and the Joint Strike Fighter confirm the need to automate to compete in the global aerospace market”. Financial support for this seminar was also provided by the National Research Council’s Industrial Research Assistance Program.

CIC Retains CRC-ACS for Resin Infusion Process Modeling Project

Recently, the CIC was approached by one its larger customers, Frank Fair Industries, a manufacturer of composite parts for motor coaches to assist in further advancing their transition from open to closed moulding. Due to part complexity they were looking for more scientific ways of selecting manufacturing parameters and determining the location of injection gates and resin ports. The objective was to minimize part defects and improve production cycle times. The CIC has been interested in utilizing the unique capabilities of the Collaborative Research Centre – Advanced Composite Structures (CRC-ACS) located in Melbourne, Australia ever since visiting their facilities in 2006 and formalizing their relationship through a Memorandum of Understanding. It was only natural to get CRC-ACS involved due to their extensive experience using ESI Groups’ PAM-RTM simulation software for liquid moulding processes. A complex part was selected that consisted of several different core and reinforcement materials. This was to be moulded using a resin infusion process that relied on a semi-rigid fibreglass cover as the “bag”. CRC-ACS combined forces with ESI Pacific and modeled the system based on information provided by the CIC and Frank Fair Industries. Injection gate and resin vent suggestions are currently being incorporated into a mould that will be used to confirm the process. If deemed successful, the modeling capability will be transferred to the CIC to support the refinement and optimization of Frank Fair Industries’ processes and to offer these services to other fabricators. “It has been a pleasure to work jointly with CRC-ACS on this project,” stated Graham Smerchanski, CIC’s Ground Transportation Projects Lead, “there were really no problems even with the distant locations and time differences”.

Member’s Corner

Details concerning CIC’s coordination of a Western Canadian Technology and Trade Mission to JEC 2008 have now been finalized. JEC 2008 is the world’s largest Composites Technology and Trade Show held annually in Paris, France from April 1st to 3rd, 2008. Look out for an upcoming announcement with these specific details or contact us at cic@compositesinnovation.ca if you are interested in attending.

The CIC and the National Biofibres Advisory Board is hosting a two day workshop to be held in Winnipeg on March 18/19, 2008 that will present the results of ground breaking research on natural fibres as composite reinforcements. It will include findings from a series of projects that were performed to establish a national value chain intent on commercializing the use of natural bast fibres as reinforcements for composite parts and developing markets for their co-products. From seeding, harvesting and processing through to product fabrication, you will hear the latest developments. Featured will be a series of international presenters describing their activities associated with this initiative. Please R.S.V.P. your intent to attend to cic@compositesinnovation.ca

Discussions are continuing in regards to the planning of the next Special Interest Group activity, Composites in Construction. Information will be communicated in the near future.