IACMI – The Composites Institute®, in partnership with Composites One, and the Closed Mold Alliance hosted the Evolution of Composites: Process & Product Efficiencies for Today and Tomorrow, a Closed Mold Alliance hands-on composites training workshop, at the Laboratory for Systems Integrity & Reliability (LASIR) at Vanderbilt University, March 20 – 21, 2019. This event welcomed more than 100 attendees, representing both small and medium businesses, large companies, and academia from 50+ organizations from Tennessee and across the U.S.

Through presentations and demonstrations at the day-and-a-half workshop, the Evolution of Composites presenters reviewed the latest product and process developments in the composites industry, including additive manufacturing, thermoset 3-D printing, carbon fiber recycling, and new material waste management strategies. Topics included a presentation from Tim Spahn, Director of Licensing & Sales at Carbon Fiber Recycling, Inc. in Tazwell, TN, who shared Carbon Fiber Recycling’s process to recycle cured and uncured prepreg carbon fiber to recycling 4 million pounds of carbon fiber each year in Tennessee. Additionally, Ross Cunningham and Adam Davis with Owens Corning presented on additive manufacturing using specific Owens Corning materials. Finally, Komal Koodavalli with the Fibers and Composites Manufacturing Facility (FCMF) at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (UTK) highlighted the development of new material waste management strategies due to the growth of composites in major industries, such as automotive, infrastructure, and aerospace. Komal discussed her research with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and UTK to analyze the embodied emergy of composite materials, life cycles assessments, and methods of recovery.

“This workshop gave participants the opportunity to learn more about the current trends in the composites industry. As new processes and materials, such as additive manufacturing and recycled carbon fiber, become integral parts of the composites field, it is important to understand how they came into acceptance and where the industry is trending for the future,” said Joannie Harmon Heath, IACMI’s Workforce Development Manager. The State of Tennessee’s Economic & Community Development department provides support for IACMI and its mission to train the future and current advanced manufacturing workforce.  This workshop is part of IACMI’s larger workforce development and education strategy which also includes a nationally recognized internship program.

Research at LASIR is under the direction of Doug Adams, Daniel F. Flowers Professor and chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, as well as by David Koester, Research Engineer, and Garrett Thorne, Staff Engineer at LASIR. LASIR’s capabilities centralize on studying how materials, structures, and machines operate under real-world conditions. LASIR offers a unique opportunity for research in composites use in automotive and wind energy applications, as well as those related to the Department of Defense and U.S. national security needs. LASIR provides world-class capabilities for researchers in both graduate and undergraduate programs to gain hands-on learning experiences throughout the year. LASIR was established as an integral part of the IACMI network in 2015.

To learn more about upcoming workshops in the Closed Mold Alliance series, visit https://iacmi.org/workforce-training-courses/.

About IACMI – The Composites Institute: The Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI), managed by the Collaborative Composite Solutions Corporation (CCS), is a partnership of industry, universities, national laboratories, and federal, state and local governments working together to benefit the nation’s energy and economic security by sharing existing resources and co-investing to accelerate innovative research and development in the advanced composites field. CCS is a not-for-profit organization established by The University of Tennessee Research Foundation. The national Manufacturing USA institute is supported by a $70 million commitment from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office, and over $180 million committed from IACMI’s partners. Find out more at IACMI.org.

View presentation slides

Slides will be added as approved from workshop presenters. View the Evolution of Composites full agenda here.

Wednesday, March 20,  2019

Rapid Mold Construction Process

By Jason Cilio, Key Accounts Manager, Sika Advanced Resins

High-Temperature Tooling – Infused Carbon Fiber / Epoxy Mold

Presented By:

  • Will Chafin, Advanced Composites Applications Specialist, Composites One,
  • Mike Ditzler, Field Engineer, Vectorply; and
  • Jeff Wright, VP of Technical Services, Pro-Set

3D Printing with Composite Materials

Presented By:

  • Ross Cunningham, Ph.D., Advanced Scientist, Front End Innovation Business Development, XStrand 3D Composites Materials, Owens Corning
  • Adam Davis, Additive Manufacturing Engineer, Owens Corning Front End Innovation

BAAM Technologies: Thermoplastic, Thermoset, Surface Coatings

Presented By:

  • Neil Smith, Technical Support Manager, Composites One;
  • John Lindahl, Technical Professional in Polymer Additive Manufacturing and Advance Composites, Oak Ridge National Laboratory;
  • John Miller, VP of Operations, Tru Design;
  • Dylan Talley, Staff Engineer, University of TN, Knoxville

Thursday, March 21,  2019

Taking Sandwich Construction to The Next Level

Presented By: Russell Elkin, Product Development Manager, 3A Composites

Closed Mold Processes: Side-by-Side Demo

Presented By:

  • James Jones, Technical Support Manager, Composites One;
  • Neil Smith, Technical Support Manager, Composites One;
  • Doug Smith, President, RTM North;
  • Travis Irvin, Sales Manager, Chomorat;
  • Rick Pauer; Applications Manager, Polynt;
  • Dan Gruenwald, Sales Representative; Magnum Venus Products

Process Monitoring

Presented By: Chris Nash, Graduate Student, Vanderbilt University

Thermoplastic Wind Blade Project

Presented By: Dana Swan, Business Development Manager, Arkema

Low Cost Carbon

Presented By: Merlin Theodore, Director Carbon Fiber Technology Facility, CFTF at Oak Ridge

Rapid Build, Infused Tooling for Molds and Fixtures

Presented By:

  • Rick Pauer, Applications Manager, Polynt
  • Mike Ditzler, Field Engineer, Vectorply

Non-Destructive Evaluation

Presented By: Chris Nash, Graduate Student, Vanderbilt University

The Future is Water – New Mold Release Technology

Presented By: Russ Powers, Aerospace & Composites Industry Technical Manager, Chem-Trend

DForm – Deformable Rapid Forming Tooling System

Presented By:

  • Neil Smith, Technical Support Manager, Composites One
  • Will Chafin, Advanced Composites Applications Specialist, Composites One

C-Ply and Next Steps for Composites

Presented By:

  • Chris Mikesell, Sales Manager – Carbon,
  • Chomorat and Travis Irvin, Sales Manager, Chomarat

Carbon Fiber Recycling – Problem Solved!

Presented By: Tim Spahn, Director of Licensing & Sales, Carbon Fiber Recycling, Inc.

Putting it All Together with ProSet Adhesives

Presented By: Derek DeBoer, Midwest Regional Sales Manager, Pro-Set and Jeff Wright, Vice President of Technical Services, Pro-Set


Presented By: