Investments

Rolls Royce is growing its presence in Southern California, with a $30 million expansion into a new 62,000 square foot facility that will be dedicated to research and development of ceramic matrix composite (CMC) materials and processes for use in next generation aircraft engine components.

The company held a dedication ceremony with federal, state and local officials, customers and employees at the new facility. Rolls-Royce purchased Hyper-Therm High-Temperature Composites back in May 2013 and continues to grow and invest with this new “CMC technology hub” located in Cypress, Calif.

Rolls-Royce President and CEO of North America, Marion Blakey said this expansion will develop novel solutions to improve performance of future aircraft engines.

The development of lighter, stronger, composite fibre components is just part of our commitment to continuously improve the performance of our products by focusing on lowering fuel consumption, emissions and noise. The team here in Cypress will be dedicated to seeing the commercial application of these technologies that will soon be adopted into advanced manufacturing production methods for gas turbine components.

Ceramic matrix composites (CMCs) offer multiple advantages for a range of high-tech industries such as aerospace and other applications with demanding thermal and mechanical requirements. CMCs deliver the high temperature capability of ceramics with the strength and reliability that is required for gas turbine engine applications, but weigh less than current alloys. CMC components help save on fuel costs since they are lighter weight and require less cooling over traditional nickel-based components.

The facility will develop production-ready manufacturing processes and produce components that will be used for engine test programs. From there, manufacturing processes refined in Cypress facility will be applied to a future dedicated production facility for manufacturing of engine components.

Since Rolls-Royce acquired Hyper-Therm in 2013, it has grown from 15 employees to nearly 50 positions today. The company expects to hire at least 10 more people this year with the potential for forty more positions as production and testing of products increase. In late 2015, Rolls-Royce received tax incentives totalling nearly $735,000 for the purchase of the high precision machinery, from the California Alternative Energy and Advanced Transportation Financing Authority.

SGL Group has celebrated the inauguration of a new production line for precursor at its FISIPE site in Lavradio, near Lisbon in Portugal.

Precursor is a polymer-based fibre which is used as the main raw material for the production of carbon fibres. The production line has been set up by converting and enhancing parts of the existing production facility in Lavradio.

The new line was completed in August following four years of research and development, construction work and qualification procedures. Over this period, in total, 30 million euros have been invested in Lavradio into different elements of the precursor production including the spinning line. As part of the global production network of SGL Group, the precursor from Portugal is being used as of September for the production of our new generation of high-end industrial SIGRAFIL carbon fibres in Moses Lake, Washington State (USA) and Muir of Ord (Scotland). The carbon fibres will then be used in various applications in the automotive, aerospace, as well as in other industries.

In order to further increase value for the customers, the business unit currently enhances its activities offering not only materials but also extensive expertise and support to enable customers to optimise the use of fibres and materials for composites. In this context, SGL Group also sets up a new Lightweight and Applications Centre (LAC) at its biggest site in Meitingen, Germany to facilitate the product and manufacturing technology development from fibres and materials to component.

The completion of the precursor production line is also a consequent and successful step of further developing the business and set-up of the FISIPE site in Lavradio, Portugal. Having been founded more than 40 years ago, FISIPE has established as a specialist for acrylic fibres. Under the umbrella of SGL Group – which acquired FISIPE in April 2012 – the acrylic fibre business is maintained while the precursor production has been set up.

The precursor production is part of SGL Group’s path forward towards sustainable profitable growth targeting a 50% sales increase until 2020 in the fields of composites and graphite materials and systems. In future, the Company will focus on supporting and accelerating developments linked to the mega trends of mobility, energy, and digitalisation.

The Australian Government will invest $250,000 through the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre to develop an internationally recognised advanced manufacturing hub to accelerate the growth of the carbon fibre industry in Geelong.

The funding has been allocated to the Advanced Fibre Cluster Geelong and will support joint projects by businesses and researchers on carbon fibre, advanced fibre and composite manufacturing.

It’s hoped the new funding will raise the region’s technology leadership resulting in new products and processes making the region more globally competitive. Examples of project outcomes will include: reduction in energy consumption; new products for automotive and defence industries; other new industrial applications for carbon fibre; and improved carbon fibre recycling.

Federal Member for Corangamite, Sarah Henderson MP, said the $14 million Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre is an incredibly important initiative for our region.

The Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre sends a very strong signal to our nation that Geelong and Corangamite are at the forefront of advanced manufacturing.

Members of the Advanced Fibre Cluster include carbon fibre wheel manufacturer Carbon Revolution, CSIRO, Austeng and Quickstep. The cluster is supported by the Geelong Manufacturing Council. Geelong is also the location of the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre’s National Carbon Fibre Manufacturing Collaboration Hub, created with Deakin University and CSIRO Fibres of the Future Laboratory.

The Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre is part of the Government’s $250 million Industry Growth Centres Initiative, an industry-led approach to driving innovation, productivity and competitiveness through investing in key industry sectors.

Owens Corning has announced plans to invest over $100 million to expand its composites operations in India.

The investment will support the growing India glass fibre market through the installation of a state-of-the-art 80,000-ton glass melter at the Company’s existing facility in Taloja, India. The new melter is expected to begin start-up operations in early 2018.

Owens Corning is one of the industry leader in the Indian glass fibre market and the substation investment shows a continued commitment to growing their business in the area to meet globally increasing demand for composite materials.

The glass fibre market in India has grown at double-digit rates over the past decade and has operated at high levels of capacity utilisation for the past three years.

Expanding their existing operations in India allows the company to benefit from a low-delivered cost platform while supporting growth in this region and worldwide. Additionally, this facility will leverage the newest technologies Owens Corning has developed to enable greater competitiveness in the market.

Solvay has announced the launch of a new carbon fibre production line at its U.S. Piedmont Facility in South Carolina.

The new production line is set to double production capacity of key raw materials that are used to make carbon fibre reinforced composite products. The new line has won qualification by Boeing to manufacture secondary structures such as wing movable flaps and engine nacelles, as well as interior applications.

The expansion covers the facilities and equipment to convert acrylonitrile monomers into standard modulus carbon fibres. This type of fibre is used to manufacture composite materials which have been pre-impregnated for use in applications on commercial and military planes.

Solvay’s CEO Jean-Pierre Clamadieu said;

Through this strategic capacity expansion we offer our customers greater supply capabilities and contribute to their increased needs for reinforced composite materials to reduce weight and fuel consumption and to reduce assembly costs by integrated part design. For Solvay this production expansion results in greater flexibility to strengthen our growth innovative composite materials and our leading position in the industry.

Carbon fibre composite materials’ durability, strength and fatigue life allow them to increasingly and securely replace metals on aircraft, reducing their weight, noise and CO2 emissions. In addition, composites enable the moulding of multiple sub-components into one assembly part, lowering the number of parts required as well as the assembly costs.

Responding to the markets need for lightweight satellite components, Mitsubishi Electric Corp has announced it’s building a new facility that will double the satellite-component production capacity of its Sagami Factory in Japan.

The factory is Mitsubishi Electric’s core production and testing site for solar array panels, structural panels and other satellite components. The new facility, which will commence production in October 2017, is expected to help the company continue growing its share of the global satellite market.

The company is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of satellite components, most notably structures made with advanced composite materials, including solar array panels,structural panels and antennas.

The company has a rich history of providing global satellite manufacturers with solar array panels, structural panels and antennas produced at its Kamakura Works. Over the years, Mitsubishi Electric has developed a substantial share of this market.

The new facility will introduce a number of advanced manufacturing machines, such as high-precision machining equipment and automated welding machines, which will help the factory to double its production capacity. Existing machines currently dispersed throughout the factory will be concentrated in the new facility. The realisation of seamlessly integrated production processes — from component and panel production to final testing — and improved productivity through the application of information technology, will further increase production efficiency, shorten production time, reduce costs and elevate product quality.

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