Commercial supersonic flight makes a comeback

Boom Technology is relying heavily on composites to help it develop the XB-1, a next-generation faster-than-sound commercial jet that promises to bring supersonic travel back for the first time since the Concorde was retired in 2003. More.

3-D Printing and the Tools for the Job

Last year, one of the highlights from the CAMX Exhibit Hall was Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL)’s display in the Awards for Composites Excellence (ACE) Pavilion, where they, along with Boeing and seven industry partners, won an ACE for 3-D printing and testing the first 100 percent digitally manufactured tools in an industrial autoclave setting.

The ACE-winning innovation was just one of many strides ORNL and Boeing have made in additive tooling. Shortly before CAMX 2016, ORNL’s trim-and-drill tool for Boeing’s 777X aircraft set the Guinness World Record for the largest 3-D printed item. The year before, ORNL won the CAMX Award with Cincinnati Incorporated for Big Area Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) – the technology used to make that item and many others, such as a 3-D printed replica of the Shelby Cobra.

However, while large entities such as ORNL and Boeing have wowed crowds and won awards for their larger-than-life tools, there’s still a lot for our industry to learn according to Austin Schmidt, the president of Additive Engineering Solutions in Cleveland. Schmidt will be leading one of a handful of education sessions at CAMX this year on tooling. The first lesson, he says, is to believe what you see.

“People don’t wake up in the morning and think, ‘Oh, I need to large format 3-D print something today.’ People tend to associate 3-D printing with smaller parts,” Schmidt said. “When they see the large format tooling and it weighs 80 pounds and it’s four feet tall and you tell them it was printed in three hours, they don’t believe you.  They say ‘No. There’s no way that was printed.’”

However, even after seeing these large tools in person, there are still plenty of misconceptions. Schmidt says that while people are right to assume that large-scale additive manufacturing tools won’t initially lead to high-tolerance parts, that’s not the right way to think.

“The printing isn’t what gets you the accuracy,” Schmidt explains. “The printing is there to provide you a near net shape part and you take [that] part and you machine it to the final accuracy that you need.”

Instead, Schmidt says the point is to get the material out as fast as possible, which leads to a significant reduction in machining cycle time. He says that with additive tooling, instead of spending 60 hours on machining a part, you may only spend 10 hours. He notes, though, that we’re not quite at the point yet where 3-D printing a tool eliminates the need for machining entirely. However, speed and cycle times are on the rise throughout the industry.

Another CAMX session will cover a different trend: an increase in the use and availability of new materials, high composite loadings, unlimited sizes and hybrid additive processes. According to Mark Gordon, owner of Solid Fusion LLC, parts made of highly loaded composite semi-crystallines are now available for the first time in a number of high-temperature resin systems. Gordon says that in the past, the primary high temperature thermoplastic materials for additive manufacturing were “neat amorphous resins.”

“The key takeaway is there are new materials available for additive manufacturing for people, specifically for high-performance, high-value applications, like aerospace or the racing market,” Gordon says.

On the provider/consumer side of the equation, Gordon says the most dominant player in the additive manufacturing space in Stratasys, and will probably stay that way for the foreseeable future. In the past year, Stratasys has forged relationships with Boeing, Ford, Siemens and McLaren to make additive manufacturing more mainstream. Gordon says that for now, a company looking to enter the B2B market for additive tooling should not be looking to compete against Stratasys, but rather to find opportunities to help grow the market.

“Really, the question for us is, ‘Can we educate the market, and grow it quickly enough to make money?’ Rather than, ‘Who’s our competition?’” Gordon says.

The CAMX full conference program, including sessions on tooling, will be available online this summer. For more information, visit thecamx.org.

Submit Your CAMX Award or ACE Submission by May 15

Enter the prestigious CAMX Award or the Awards for Composites Excellence (ACE) presented at CAMX, and your company could join an elite group of award winners—leaders and visionaries within the composites and advanced materials community. The deadline for submissions is May 15. Enter to win today.

Special thanks to CAMX Awards Sponsor – Ashland – and ACE Sponsor – Composites One.

Lucintel Report Profiles Market Growth and Industry Leaders

This month, a Lucintel report highlighted the promising outlook for the global composites and advanced materials market, along with major composites and advanced materials manufacturers, including Toray, Mitsubishi Rayon, Hexcel, Hexion, Huntsman, that are contributing to increasing market growth.

These companies and 550+ exhibitors from around the globe will showcase the latest industry developments, products and technology at CAMX.

Get the Best Rate – Register Early

The best rates for CAMX – the largest, most comprehensive composites and advanced materials event in North America –  are available through August 18.  Make plans today and register by August 18.  Secure the lowest registration rate for education, featured sessions, technical papers, and exhibit hall passes.

Plenty to Experience in Orlando

Orlando, Florida ranks as the most-visited destination in the U.S., surpassing New York City in the number of visitors and tourists annually.  With classic attractions, including the Disneyworld Resort and Universal Studios, as well as new attractions like the new Orlando City Soccer Stadium and Margaritaville Resort Orlando, there are countless experiences for CAMX attendees and guests in Orlando. Make your plans to attend CAMX 2017 today.

Already registered for CAMX? Discover things to do while you’re in Orlando.

Give Your Brand a Boost at CAMX

Give your presence at CAMX a boost with custom sponsorship options. Maximize your exposure to a captive audience, including national media and press. Increase your company’s perceived image and brand recognition among 8,000 industry professionals and leaders. And drive additional traffic to your booth and promote engagement and sales before, during, and after the show, with exclusive sponsorship and advertising opportunities, which can be tailored to meet any investment level and company goal. Learn more here.

New Option for First-Time CAMX Exhibitors

Are you a first-time exhibitor at CAMX? Consider exhibiting in the New Exhibitor Station—an easy, cost-effective way to have a presence at CAMX while learning more about the Show and attendees.  In addition to all of the benefits CAMX exhibitors receive, companies located in the New Exhibitor Station receive a customizable kiosk for company branding to use as your ‘exhibit space’, a location within the new “innovation park” area of the  CAMX exhibit hall which is sure to attract attention; and special listings which call out new exhibitors at CAMX. This new opportunity is only available to first-time exhibitors at CAMX. For more information on CAMX and exhibitor benefits and services, review the exhibitor prospectus or contact your CAMX sales representatives – Efren Pavon or Lynn Ishman.