SAMPE Europe and SAMPE Germany presented this year's major fall conference in the “Bergische Land” city of Wuppertal, in west-central Germany. The event also included table top exhibits, all coffee breaks and lunches, plus a gala dinner, together with possibilities to visit two composites-related facilities. Special hotel arrangements were available at the Hotel Arcadia, right next to the conference venue.
Although the formal conference took place on September 11 and 12, SETEC 13 actually began on the previous afternoon and evening, with registration followed by a participants' reception at the conference venue: the Stadthalle Wuppertal. Moreover the event in fact ended on Friday (yes, the 13th) with the second tour option. Attendance was as usual international, including several of SAMPE's own top management from the USA and elsewhere.
Under the banner of “Novel Aspects in Composite Technologies: from Fiber to Lightweight Structures”, the conference presented 31 technical papers in seven plenary sessions, and offered numerous tabletop exhibits. Papers fell under the general headings of design, materials and testing, engineering, processing, thermoplastics, EU Electrical 1 and EU Electrical 2. SETEC 13 was opened by SAMPE Europe President Prof. Paolo Ermanni, with a brief welcome and introduction of the keynote speaker. This insightful and wide-ranging address was given by Dr. Hubert Jaeger, of SGL Carbon, on the topic of “Carbon Moves the World”. He spoke of a “world change model” and carbon's role in this ongoing evolution. Beginning with a look at carbon fiber history, fiber types, prominent applications and markets today, this was quickly extrapolated out to the 2050 timeframe. He then considered factors effecting carbon fiber usage, efficiencies, and in particular the cost challenge. Future carbon fiber types, demand and investment needs were highlighted as well, and at the end an intriguing proposal brought forward: the establishment of joint global materials applications centers.
Session 1 began next, with five presentations focused on Design. A coffee break took place prior to Session 2, containing five papers on Materials & Testing, followed by a standup luncheon served next to the exhibits area. Coffee breaks were also held there, facilitating exhibit company contacts and general networking. The first afternoon brought Session 3, with five talks on the topic of Engineering, followed by the first plant visit and tour opportunity. Buses took visitors from the conference site to KUVAG ISOLA Composites GmbH, in Dueren (with coffee ingeniously served in the bus). The company produces filament wound composite components up to about 30 feet long and two feet in diameter for a variety of markets and applications including high voltage electrical parts, wind energy couplings, MRI equipment tubes and traffic engineering. The group saw the wet filament winding production in action, plus related manufacturing operations. It is focused on electrical applications such as high voltage insulators, transformer components and switching actuators.
The informative tour concluded with refreshments, after which the bus returned visitors to Wuppertal city center, to board the city's famous historic “Schwebahn” (suspended monorail transport system) to position for the conference dinner. Rounding out the first evening, it was held at the colorful restaurant in the Wuppertal Brauhaus (brewery) where a tasty and generous buffet was enjoyed by all. Highpoint of the evening was a very personal visit by the mayor of Wuppertal, who came around to each table to extend his personal greetings.
Day two began with Session 4, containing presentations on Processing, including an amazingly simple system for removing films or backing paper from prepegs. Next was Session 5, with five papers dedicated to new Thermoplastic technology and applications. A tasty buffet lunch was offered adjacent to the exhibits area, to again facilitate networking. The afternoon of the second day was filled with two unusual sessions entitled EU Electrical 1 and 2. These explored various aspects of nanotechnology, including for advanced airframes, electrical conductivity (EMI and LSP), CNT doped carrier materials, conductivity measurements, multi-functional structures, doped thermoplastic fibers, plus the use of CNTs in bulk resins or in Buckypaper films. In his closing conference remarks, event organizer Mark Erath requested rapid responses to the call for papers for SEICO 14 in Paris next March 10-11, and also announced that SETEC 14 will be held in Europe's far northern region, in Tampera, Finland next September.
But that was not all. The second available tour – to visit the RWTH Aachen University fibers, textiles and composites facilities, took place the morning of the next morning, making SETEC 13 a three-day plus event for those who chose this option. Following lunch at the university, buses brought participants directly to either the Dusseldorf airport or train station, for convenient departures. Our thanks again to the SETEC 13 sponsors: Xperion, KUVAG ISOLA, JEC Group and Magazine, RWTH Aachen University ITA, and Toho Tenax. We look forward to seeing you at next year's SEICO 14 in Paris, and SETEC 14 in Finland.
The 34th SAMPE Europe International Conference – SEICO 13 – was held March 11-12, as in previous years, at the Hotel Mercure Paris Porte de Versailles. It is in conjunction with the JEC Composites Show at the nearby Paris Expo grounds, and was connected on the one common day by shuttle buses running every 15 minutes.
The event began with a welcome reception at the venue hotel the night before (while the students actually began their conference on March 9th). SEICO 13 contained two attractive keynote addresses, one focused on rapid prototyping in aerospace, the other on bringing carbon fiber into the mainstream in the automotive sector. Two special sessions were also held on these key composites areas (Session 1 and Session 4A). Altogether, twelve parallel sessions contained a total of 55 state-of-the-art presentations ranging from aerospace, to repair, automotive, manufacturing, nanocomposites, thermoplastics, automation, new materials, design and modeling, tooling, and SHM. As usual, exhibition of the students' technical presentation posters took place in an adjacent room, drawing considerable attention.
SAMPE Europe President Paolo Ermanni welcomed attendees, referencing the strong focus this year on aerospace and automotive, while wishing all an enjoyable learning and networking opportunity. Conference organizer Mark Erath then went over pertinent organizational aspects.
The first keynote lecture was entitled “Rapid Prototyping as a Tool for Technology Insertion – Recent Examples at the Boeing Company. By Nick Melillo and A. Mallow, from Boeing's Phantom Works. This provocative talk used the example of the Phantom Eye prototype of a diesel-engined, fully autonomous UAV, and was packed with innovations such as an all-composite, out-of-autoclave bonded wing, additive manufacturing, and other clever, cost-saving prototyping and testing “shortcuts”. Virtual prototyping is the next planned step, with the effect of blurring the distinction between prototyping and production.
Following a coffee break, Plenary Session 1, began and was devoted to current aerospace topics. A delicious and generous buffet lunch in the hotel restaurant was again part of the basic registration package. The first afternoon comprised sessions on nanocomposites, repair and thermoplastics, along with the first opportunity to view the many excellent student presentation posters.
During the SEICO 13 dinner that evening, Paolo Ermanni greeted guests, commenting that the surprise winter weather (snow in Paris) had no effect on attendance, while Mark Erath added there were around 250 conference participants this year. Highlight of the dinner was presentation by Adrie Kwakernaak, Student Coordinator, of awards to the winner of the SAMPE Europe student competition plus the JEC's Sustainable Solutions prize. The SAMPE Schliekelmann Award this year went to Stephanie Patel, University of Orsay, Paris, for her work on aligned carbon nanotubes on carbon substrates, while the JEC award was received by Elena Tikhonova, of the FCBA, Grenoble, France. Adrie noted that all nineteen student participants were actually winners, having earlier taken the SAMPE students' competition in their own countries. He also explained that, over the years, some 500 students have participated in this SAMPE-sponsored activity. The current group assembled on Friday nite, then presented their technical papers on Saturday and Sunday, before visiting the Musée des Arts et Métiers in the city center, Sunday afternoon.
Keynote Lecture 2, beginning the second morning, was the automotive presentation: “From Small Scale to Volume Production – How to make Carbon Fiber Mainstream”. By A. Plath, Volkswagon. Starting off with some historic examples, numerous insights were given on how carbon is steadily progressing toward more large scale application in road vehicles, via use of advanced manufacturing methods. The stunning new 2-seat VW XL1, achieving the unheard of efficiency of over 200 mpg and soon to enter limited production, is a prime example. This second keynote was followed by Sessions 4, 5, 6 and 7, containing further automotive presentations, as well as many talks devoted to manufacturing, automation, design & modeling, new materials and tooling.
SAMPE again had a service booth at the JEC Show, Stand B7, where past Proceedings could be bought, memberships renewed and questions answered. We again thank this year's sponsors: Hitco, JEC Group and Magazine, Xperion, Surface Generation and Airbus for their generous support. In closing, a note of general interest: next year's JEC show is moving to the larger Hall 7, with the advantage (for us) that it is closer to the SAMPE conference venue. However, well before that, SEICO 13, SAMPE Europe's 8th International Technical Conference and Forum, is slated to be held 11 and 12 September, this year, in Wuppertal, Germany.