CANWEA Annual Conference & Exhibition

Written by Aaron Miller.

CANWEA

We're here at The Canadian Wind Energy Annual Conference & Exhibition from October 5th to 7th, 2015 at the Metro Toronto Convention Center.  We're showcasing with 3M the fastest, best supported, most durable wind blade repair and long term protection products.  Our products and strategy gives owners a job that’s fast and a job that lasts.  We’re the only ones who can use each and every one of our products in the field.  Drop by and say hi if you're at the show.

 

 

JEC Composites Show Paris – March 2015

Written by Mark Lukasik.

JEC, the world’s leading annual composites industry show and conference, celebrated its 50th anniversary this year.   Both attendees and exhibitors had a wide international representation.   Attendance was strong and the show has increased in size for the last several years.   The general feeling at JEC 2015 was of enthusiasm for future industry prospects.   The show focus was on higher end composites through vacuum assisted processes.     Parts with aesthetically pleasing unpainted structural surfaces were exhibited throughout; carbon fiber and other exotic fibers in a variety of weaves and fiber combinations. Parts displayed ranged from a Japanese anime character in a flawless clear carbon laminate to a Le Mans racecar. Flax and other natural fiber fibers woven into fabrics for composite reinforcement appear to be the biggest current trend.

The wind energy sector has been a large industry driver over the last several years and several booths displayed evidence of this.   The current market trend for JEC 2015 was a focus on automotive motor sports and potential automotive industry composite demands of the future.   It’s always exciting to see what new things can be made out of composites. A show like the JEC gives you a good peek into future possibilities and the future looks exciting!

JEC1

A beautiful day in Paris

JEC4

JEC tradeshow

JEC3

Scott Bader's new Crestapol toughened hybrid resin

JEC2

One of several carbon sports cars

JEC5

Our newest partnership, Gerster

JEC6

And everyone thought wool was itchy!!!

New Product - Gerster Gussets & Distribution Tapes

Written by Santosh Varughese.

Gerster

Precision workmanship is crucial in building critical products. It becomes even more risky when the process calls for manufacturing products using Vacuum Infusion process. To eliminate these risks, usage of Gerster Gussets and Distribution Tapes are important.

Gussets

Gerster Gussets helps reinforce corner joints in 3-dimensional components. They also help alleviate production problems like vacuum bag bridging and voids in tight corners. The Gusset consists of a warp knitted cover of 90 deg plies and a core consisting of three cords in carbon or fiberglass. The twisted cords have different diameters in order to fit exactly to an angle connection. The Gussets are meant to be a drastic improvement of what some in the aerospace industry might know as liquorice sticks. Advantages of the Gussets are easy inlaying, good conformability, reinforcement of weak corners and edges and ideal run of forces in the component.

Gerster Resin Distribution Tapes

The Gerster Resin Distribution Tape is a textile flowing aid which optimizes the vacuum infusion process (VIP). The resin tape is composed of a knitted structure and consists of loops which are made of monofilaments. These loops form the flowing channel which transports the resin equally into the component part. It transports the resin equally into the compound and is responsible for evacuating the air of the vacuum compound. At the entrance side, the resin tape is used for the leading-in of the resin and at the exit side it is used for the evaluation of the air and the surplus resin. The advantages are easy fixation, no adhesive tape necessary, fits well at curved components, no appreciable marks and easy removal. Now it comes with an adapter that connects between the resin entrance and the teflon tube.

North America Distribution

Composites Canada has teamed up with Gerster Techtex in distributing these products in North America. We promote these products mainly to the Aerospace, Wind energy, rotor turbines customers and available for general sales. We have stock of common sizes, and other sizes can be made available within a week after order. We provide the necessary technical support and service along with the products.

You can contact us at 905 629 3178 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

New Product - Carbon Tubing Now Available

Written by Jason Pozzo.

CarbonTubing

We're now carrying a full line of carbon tubing.  Whether it be Pultruded (unidirectional strands) woven wrapped (twill or plain weave) or filament wound tubing we have what you need.  Carbon tubing is useful in many applications from RC cars and trucks to Robotic arms on the mars rover.

Stock sizes range from 2mm-25mm ID.  If we don’t have stock a particular size you are looking for we can have them custom made to spec. Just give us the dimensions that you require and specific laminate you require (unless unknown) and we will have our expert team of builders manufacture the tubes to spec. Custom tubing does have a 2-6 week lead time depending on the complexity of the laminate.  We also carry solid rod (pultruded only)

Please contact us at 905 629 3178 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  with any questions you have regarding pricing and specific sizes. 

Freezing In Here

Written by Aaron Miller.

IMG 20150720 170602At Composites Canada we have just about everything available for our industry, and it’s getting harder all the time to expand our product range.  But I just can't leave things alone and I’m pretty excited to introduce our new 18x20 walk in freezer.  OK it's pretty plain on the outside, but what's goes in is state of the art. 

Prepreg stands for “pre-impregnated”. Composite fabrics with resin has already been added by the manufacturer.  The cure is stalled part way through and kept frozen.  It waits this way until some heat from an oven completes the cure.  Most commonly fiberglass or carbon fiber with epoxy, the concept can extend to any fabric and resin.  Woven, stiched, braided, vinylester, phenolic, cyanate ester, anything you could imagine.

Why prepreg? No more resin mess. No more fabric dry spots. No frayed edges, no misplaced fibers, no poorly mixed or off ratio hardener. Easy use of super light and stiff honeycomb (no liquid resin to fill the cells). Ideal resin content for stronger, lighter parts. In short, both the resin and fiber goes where you need it and stays there until cure, all while keeping the shop, and your hands, clean and tidy.

 A few quick notes:

  • An oven and vacuum bag is required. An autoclave is not.
  • Prepregs can cure with as little as 150°F.
  • Most can remain at room temperature for a month or more before use.
  • We stock mostly carbon prepreg in fabrics, multiaxials and unidirectionals, with cosmetic grades, toughened resins, film adhesives and expanding films as options.
  • We can have custom fabrics made into prepreg for just about any application.

Whether you’ve been using prepreg for years or are just curious to see how this material can make better parts, give us a call. Better yet, stop by.  Can't beat this kind of selection.

My Workshop Is Cold!

Written by Aaron Miller.

LaserMy garage is cold, and I'm trying to cure some urethane. All it needs is a nice warm hug...

A while ago, I wrote about the need to monitor shop temperature, material temperature and mold temperature. It's really important. These days, a go-to device for this is the laser thermometer. They're cheap, versatile and found just about everywhere. Shops have learned a lot with these gadgets. But I've noticed something strange: shops use them, and some of the temperature related problems get worse. I've even seen this in our own lab, so what's going on?

A quick rundown on how INFRARED THERMOMETERS do their job:

The Laser Is Cool, But...

But it has nothing to do with taking the reading. It's a targeting guide only. These devices use a sensor to measure infrared radiation from a surface, and the laser shows you where it's reading. More or less. Some devices point to laser to the top of the measured spot. Or the middle. Or bottom. See the problem? You might not be measuring what you think. (My pro tip: get one with two or more lasers to show the boundaries of the measured spot.)

Distance To Spot Ratio

Devices have a "distance-to-spot ratio". The sensor is behind a lens, kinda like a single pixel digital camera. Just like a camera, the size of that what the sensor looks at depends on your distance from it. Somewhere the device will (hopefully) tell you the D/S ratio. If it's 8:1, then you are measuring a 2" spot only from 16" away. That's if you are looking at the right spot in the first place. (My pro tip: get a device with a large D:S ratio, 12:1 or more.)

Emmisivity Matters

These devices measure infrared energy emitted from a surface. The problem is that all surfaces emit some and reflect some. So the device is calibrated to accommodate this. Do you know what your device is set to read? Not a surprise that shiny surfaces reflect more than dull ones. With all the polished molds or liquid resin surfaces in a shop, you're reading some of their surface energy and a good deal of their incidental reflected energy. (My pro tip: get an IR thermometer which can adjust for this. Check a commonly measured surface with a thermocouple probe and adjust the IR emmisivity setting until the displayed temps match.)

It's been great to see customers get on board with measuring temps around the shop. Their new awareness they get helps them in every process. IR thermometers are a great tool for this but like any tool, they need a bit of care and concern for proper use. At Composites Canada, we're in a lot of shops, involved in a lot of procedures.

Since we've seen and used so many of these tools, we've learned which work best for our industry. Call us any time at 905-670-7862 for some recommendations.

We have the best customers. Literally

Written by Aaron Miller.

Anybody who spends much time around me hears me rant and rave about how good local Canadian manufacturing talent is. 

Today there's an official annoucement that backs this up in a very unusual and surprisingly cool way.  For a while now the homegrown AeroVelo team has been wandering in to our shop to chat about composite materials for the most audacious thing: building a human powered helicopter to compete in the Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition.  Seriously.  This competition has been going on since 1980, with no takers.  Until now. 

Check this out:

helicopter

A huge congratulations to these guys.  They are literally the best in the world. 

This is exactly what I mean when I say I love this industry for the variety of strange and wonderful things it conceives.  However strange your idea, we love to help.

The Future of Composites Mass Production

Written by Aaron Miller.

For me, in this industry, the future is automation.  It isn't the first and wont be the last time I write a blog on it.  Composites are expensive to build.  The biggest reason they are expensive is labor.  Even offshore composite parts (don't get me started on whether we can do this domestically faster, better *and* cheaper) just cost too much to compete with traditional materials.  But take away the labour costs...

Like everything else today, our industry is absorbing the results of cheaper, readily available high tech equipment.  Not so long ago, CNC machines were the exotic installations of ultra-high end shops.  Now they're everywhere; I even have one I built from a kit in my garage.  Given 10 years, my bet is on finding automated fiber placement machines as commonly as you find CNC machines today.  Faster built composite parts, stronger through more accurate fiber placement, lower labour costs.  That's where I see the key to the growth our favourite industry. 

OK, so I bought a used two axis placement head online for my garage toy.  I couldn't resist. Who wouldn't want to get hands on with the future of our industry?

If you want to get hands on with the future of our industry, call us.  We *really* like what we do.

 

Call or Email Us:

1-877-773-7336
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Visit Our Showroom:

1100 Meyerside Drive
Mississauga, ON  L5T 1J4

Monday-Friday
9 am to 5 pm

Parking

When facing our building, the showroom driveway is on the LEFT side of the building. Parking and the showroom entrance are halfway down the side.