26 Jun 12. A new laboratory that provides thermoplastic composites research for Boeing and other aerospace companies has opened at Enschede in the Netherlands. Boeing, Fokker, TenCate Advanced Composites and the University of Twente signed an agreement three years ago to establish the TPRC at the university. The agreement called for the TPRC to accelerate scientific and technological developments for new applications of thermoplastic composites, principally in the aerospace industry.
Since then, the TPRC community has focused on adding new members for research, both nationally and internationally, with special emphasis on subject matter experts. In addition to the four founding partners, five companies have joined the TPRC consortium – Instron, DTC, Pinette, Aniform and Italmatic. Besides the aviation industry, these companies come from diverse areas such as equipment manufacturing, mechanical engineering and materials development. The TPRC community shares and disseminates knowledge of thermoplastic composites by organizing conferences, training and courses for students, researchers and the industry. Currently, 15 people work at the TPRC, and the staff is expected to grow to 20 by the end of this year.
Boeing has invested in the TPRC to increase its supplier base in the area of thermoplastic composites. The TPRC is aimed at providing Boeing customers with access to accelerated development and use of thermoplastic materials and processing technologies, world-class suppliers and aircraft components at reduced cost, cycle time and weight.
18 Jun 12. Bluestar Silicones held a grand opening on June 15 for its new plant and R&D center in York, S.C. The multi-million-dollar investment is the centerpiece of Bluestar Silicones’ strategic growth plan which positions the company as a premier supplier in the silicones industry. More than 130 customers, and local, state, and federal officials, including South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, attended the event. The celebration included a ribbon-cutting ceremony, plant tours and a reception. (Source: Yahoo!/PRNewswire)
22 Jun 12. Northrop Grumman Corporation’s largest F-35 Australian supplier—Quickstep Technologies Pty Ltd.—opened a new facility in Bankstown, Australia. Quickstep supplies composite skins and subassemblies for the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter center fuselage that is produced by Northrop Grumman. The facility opening proves Quickstep’s ability to serve as a supplier of aerospace-grade composite parts, and as a source of skilled engineering and manufacturing expertise. Quickstep has already commenced production on the first phase of F-35 parts. It completed the qualification process for the manufacture of more complex parts in April 2012 and signed a long-term agreement in May 2012 to supply these components until 2020.
21 Jun 12. Army Announces Force Structure Relocations. The Department of the Army announced the planned relocation of two aviation units to Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.: 1st Battalion, 229th Air Cavalry Squadron will relocate from Fort Hood, Texas, and convert to an Attack/Reconnaissance Battalion; and Company D, 123rd Aviation Regiment will relocate from Fort Wainwright, Alaska. These force structure actions represent a net increase of 531 military and zero civilian authorizations for the Army at Joint Base Lewis-McChord; a decrease of 402 military and zero civilian authorizations at Fort Hood; and a decrease of 129 military and zero civilian authorizations at Fort Wainwright. These actions will be completed by Oct. 15, 2012. These force structure actions represent the final phase of the activation of the 16th Combat Aviation Brigadeat Joint Base Lewis-McChord to meet the Army’s broader strategic and operational requirements. These actions incorporate the Army Force Generation Model and Army Transformation initiatives, both of which are required to achieve the Army’s goal of rebalancing the force. Overall, these un