Dec. 19 2017

Last week, IACMI exhibited at the Composites and Advanced Materials Expo (CAMX) in Orlando, Florida. More than 450 exhibitors and thousands of professionals in the composites industry attended the conference hosted by the American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA) and the Society for the Advancement of Material and Process Engineers (SAMPE) to gain knowledge and advance the deployment of composites and advanced materials.

The IACMI 9-meter wind blade prototype was a show stopper in the exhibit hall, showcasing its advanced technology with the potential to revolutionize the wind industry five to ten years down the road. A finalist for the CAMX Combined Strength Award, the prototype has the potential to positively impact production times, manufacturer cost, durability, and energy-efficiency. The project is the result of collaboration by a team of two national laboratories, Oak Ridge National Laboratory(ORNL) and National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and more than eleven industry partners, including Arkema Inc., Johns ManvilleTPI Composites Inc., Huntsman PolyurethanesStrongwellDowAksa USA, Chomarat North AmericaComposites OneSikaAxsonCreative Foam and Chem-Trend. This collaboration is a perfect example of IACMI’s strength bringing together partners representing the entire supply chain. The innovation and collaboration displayed in the wind turbine blade echoes the CAMX theme – stronger together.

Dale Brosius, IACMI chief commercialization officer, and members of the wind blade project team, presented in the exhibit hall theatre on Wednesday afternoon. Brosius emphasized the team approach to this project, thanking each partner for their efforts and contributions of knowledge, material, and labor. Derek Berry, IACMI’s Wind Technology Director and project lead has shared perspective in recent interviews, stating “Major wind energy OEMs are showing great interest in this technology to help bring down the cost of wind energy, build more efficient blades, and thus be more competitive in the marketplace.”

Throughout the three-day conference, IACMI participated in live demonstrations of the latest composite processing technology hosted by Composites One and the Closed Mold Alliance. Each session was focused on a key market segment, giving attendees the opportunity to watch relevant processes live and to participate in Q&A with the technical teams. The demo zone was created to be a dynamic educational experience for attendees to take home practical tips for working smarter, faster, and more efficiently.

On the second day of the conference, Robin Pate, IACMI communications and workforce development director, announced the continuation of the workforce development partnership with Composites One, including four new workshops in 2018. The workshops, hosted at IACMI partner facilities, are designed to help participants become more adept in advanced and closed mold processing. The upcoming 2018 workshop topics include pultrusion, advanced composites in wind energy, automotive integration, and an advanced composites hands-on training.

Other IACMI sessions at CAMX included John Hopkins, IACMI Interim CEO, and John Unser, IACMI project director, presenting an overview of IACMI, including collaboration spaces, industry engagement, and case studies.

In conjunction with the conference, IACMI held its Roadmapping Workshop focused on strategies to increase the recyclability and reusability of fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) composites. Led by IACMI’s chief technology officer, Uday Vaidya, the workshop, in its third and final phase, is intended to identify common industry needs across the composite manufacturing supply chain by soliciting input from a carefully selected group of more than 20 experts representing IACMI members and stakeholders. Workshop outcomes will expand upon results of the existing technology roadmap.

IACMI’s members and partners had a strong presence at the international conference. ORNL, a founding IACMI partner, received the Award for Composites Excellence (ACE) in the Innovation for Green Composite Design category for its work in 3D printed bio-derived composites. IACMI members, Vartega, Steelhead Composites, and Michelman, were also nominated for the award for their recent developments in recycled continuous carbon fiber overwrapped pressure vessels. Composite Advantage, an IACMI member based in Ohio, won the CAMX Award for Combined Strength for the development and production of a GFRP product to replace standard wicket gates. Additional member highlights included the Unsurpassed Innovation Award winner, Structural Composites, for its hybrid metal/composite technology featured in Wabash National’s trailer. Finally, Ashland took home the ACE Award for Infinite Possibility for Market Growth for its role in the development of Ford and Magna International’s composite subframe, which reduces mass by 34% compared to a stamped steel equivalent.