ACMA launches Composites Recycling Conference in Tennessee

The American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA), Arlington, Virginia, has announced the conference program for its inaugural Composites Recycling Conference, set for April 10-12, 2018, in Knoxville, Tennessee.

The conference program features the technology and business developments in composites recycling presented by leading experts from U.S. and around the world.

The conference program features panel discussions and presentations from notable companies, including Owens Corning, Ashland, Airbus and the Composite Recycling Technology Center. The program covers a range of topics and industry advancements in composites recycling, including the pyrolysis process capable of recovering glass and carbon fibers; recycling and reusing thermoplastic and thermoset carbon fiber reinforced polymers (CFRPs) in the aviation market; and state-of-the-art recycling technology.

Industry experts and business leaders will share new and existing incentives for recycling and waste reduction that are reducing costs and making the business case for composites recycling.

Additionally, the conference features preconference and postconference tours of leading institutes in the Knoxville area that focus on composites manufacturing and end-of-life recycling. Attendees will have the option to tour IACMI — The Composites Institute Lab at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Oak Ridge National Laboratory Manufacturing Demonstration Facility as well as Local Motors. These tours offer an opportunity to see how government funded laboratories are addressing their challenges, ACMA says, including developing a robust and scalable composite recycling methodology as well as how a local manufacturer is creating products from recycled carbon fiber.

Read more here.

Why 3D printing is making East Tennessee a hotspot for advanced manufacturing

A recent article published online by Curbed is highlighting why Knoxville is becoming a power house in the advanced manufacturing sector in Tennessee.

Advanced manufacturing or additive manufacturing is an industry already changing the way the world consumes energy. For example, by 3D printing a car out of composites or light-weight materials that car weighs less which thus improves it’s overall fuel economy aligning with national goals to reach 54.5 MPG fuel standards by Model Year 2025.

The article praises 3D printing in Tennessee stating: “while industrial-capability 3D printing is still in development, this cutting-edge technology has already resulted in clusters of like-minded companies. And one of the most bustling areas for additive manufacturing in the country, and perhaps the world, may just be eastern Tennessee.”

It elaborates by saying Knoxville’s emergence is payoff for government investment in research and development citing Oak Ridge National Laboratory as a hub for government support of advanced manufacturing, and the lab has created a magnet luring innovative manufacturing companies.

Companies such as Local Motors, a firm developing 3D-printing cars, is planning on opening a facility in Knoxville early next year.

“Knoxville provides a unique opportunity,” says Kyle Rowe, an advanced materials engineer at Local Motors. “This is a budding technology corridor, with lots of suppliers and big players. That builds a self-sustaining network. Our supplier is just down the road.”

The innovations in East Tennessee go way beyond the desktop devices that most associate with the technology. In factories in Knoxville and nearby Clinton, companies are printing cars and even homes, living up to the aspirational “Innovation Valley” title applied by local civic boosters.

While the AMIE system created by SOM and Oak Ridge is made to go anywhere, its true legacy may be introducing advancements that reshape home energy usage and production. (Credit: Curbed)

While the AMIE system created by SOM and Oak Ridge is made to go anywhere, its true legacy may be introducing advancements that reshape home energy usage and production. (Credit: Curbed)

Oak Ridge researchers worked with architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (who also masterplanned the city of Oak Ridge, back in the ‘40s) to fabricate a 3D-printed mobile home that looks like a 21st century Airstream. Branch Technology, a local firm that prints modular housing recently collaborated with New York-based SHoP Architects to create Flotsam & Jetsam, a sprawling pavilion displayed at Design Miami last weekend that utilizes bamboo.

The core of the Knoxville’s 3D-printing capabilities come out of the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility (MDF) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a cutting-edge research facility with more than 60 metal and polymer printers, as well as a composites laboratory. According to William Peter, who runs the MDF, the lab has spoken with more than 700 entities interested in gaining experience with new technology and collaborating with top scientists.

The plastic "ribs" that form the frame of the mobile home were made via 3D printing and additive manufacturing. (Credit: Curbed)

The plastic “ribs” that form the frame of the mobile home were made via 3D printing and additive manufacturing. (Credit: Curbed)

Related: LeMond Composites announces carbon fiber plant opening in Oak Ridge, brings 242 jobs

Ever since the lab decided to extend its focus on additive manufacturing around 2007, it has refined and expanded the possibilities of 3D printing, from simple plastics to carbon fiber and metal. Now, 40 staff members and dozens of students and partners focus on new ways to create high-performance parts and products.

In addition to Oak Ridge, Knoxville is also home to the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI). IACMI is a multi-state partnership of industry, universities, national laboratories, and federal, state and local governments accelerating the development and adoption of cutting-edge manufacturing technologies for low-cost, energy-efficient advanced polymer composites for vehicles, wind turbines, and compressed gas storage which will benefit the nation’s energy and economic security.

To read the full article, please visit www.curbed.com.

Local Motors Continues to Expand; Acknowledges IACMI During Grand Opening for Maryland Location

A vehicle powerhouse with Southeastern connections announced the expansion of operations with the opening of a National Harbor, Maryland facility earlier this month.

Local Motors, with locations in Knoxville, Tennessee, not only opened a Northeastern base but also introduced Olli, a self-driving vehicle, and praised the partnership of the Institute for Advanced Composites during the grand opening event.

iacmi-logoHundreds gathered for the event, including U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce, Bruce Andrews.  During his speech Andrews lauded Local Motors’ innovation, IACMI and IACMI CEO Craig Blue, which are based in Knoxville.

“I am pleased to see Dr. Craig Blue, Chief Executive Officer of the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation, here with us. This Institute is developing new advanced composite materials with the goal of creating products that are lighter and stronger than anything on the market today. They’re also testing out new, cost-effective recycling methods for the automotive industry. And they’re partnering with dozens of companies, including Local Motors, to get technology out of the lab, into the market, and on the road.”

Craig Blue, IACMI CEO and Mark Johnson, Director of the Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office, participated in the unveiling event.

The vehicle, dubbed ‘Olli,’ was unveiled during the grand opening of the new Local Motors facility and transported Local Motors CEO and co-founder John B. Rogers, Jr. along with vehicle designer Edgar Sarmiento from the Local Motors co-creation community into the new facility. The electric vehicle, which can carry up to 12 people, is equipped with some of the world’s most advanced vehicle technology, including IBM Watson Internet of Things (IoT) for Automotive, to improve the passenger experience and allow natural interaction with the vehicle.

Olli will be used on public roads locally in DC, and late in 2016 in Miami-Dade County and Las Vegas.

“Olli offers a smart, safe and sustainable transportation solution that is long overdue,” Rogers said. “Olli with Watson acts as our entry into the world of self-driving vehicles, something we’ve been quietly working on with our co-creative community for the past year. We are now ready to accelerate the adoption of this technology and apply it to nearly every vehicle in our current portfolio and those in the very near future. I’m thrilled to see what our open community will do with the latest in advanced vehicle technology.”

Read more on the Local Motors Blog.