Date: 4/12/2010

HITCO Contact(s):
Dr. Leslie Cohen
HITCO Carbon Composites, Inc.
Tel: +1 (800) 421-5444    Fax: +1 (310) 970-5468


Article Source:

SAMPE Keynote: Composites Automation Evolving Necessity

Dr. Leslie Cohen, Vice President at HITCO Carbon Composites Inc. made the key note speach to lauch the 2010 SAMPE Europe conference in Paris on April 12, one day ahead of the JEC Composites show.

Leslie Cohen, vice president at HITCO Carbon Composites Inc. (Gardena, Calif., USA), made the keynote speech to launch the 2010 SAMPE Europe conference in Paris on April 12, one day ahead of the JEC Composites show, also in Paris. Cohen provided his perspective on the state of process automation in composites manufacturing. Specifically, he focused on automated fiber placement, which has become one of HITCO's specialties.

In general, Cohen believes that composites automation is still in its infancy, but acknowledged that current automation technology did allow Boeing and Airbus to integrate more composites into their airplanes than ever (787 and A350 XWB). Cohen believes these two planes represent a paradigm shift in commercial aircraft material use, with each comprised of more than 50 percent composites by structural weight.

Further, Cohen believes that hand layout of composite structures is an antiquated manufacturing tool. He said that the value of the global composite aircraft structures market is greater than $4 billion annually, with less than 20 percent of that number represented by stucutures made via hand layup. Further, he believes that Tier III aerospace firms that do hand layup will not survive, with most hand layup work migrating to low-cost countries.

Cohen also provided a break-down of re-occurring costs for a complex composite aerostructure, 50 percent of which (the largest segment) is assigned to an automated manufacturing process. All other processes — including engineering, purchasing, curing, assembly, machining and setup  — consume the remaining 50 percent. He believes that successful aerospace composites manufacturers embrace automated processing technology and digital design tools to capitalize on this rapidly evolving market

About HITCO Carbon Composites, Inc.

HITCO Carbon Composites, Inc. was founded in 1922 and manufactures advanced composite materials primarily for aerospace and defense applications.  HITCO continues to be an innovative leader in the advancement of carbon composite technologies and continues to strategically focus within the SGL Group on new projects for aerospace/aircraft and defense applications.

About SGL Group – The Carbon Company

The SGL Group is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of carbon-based products. It has a  comprehensive portfolio ranging from carbon and graphite products to carbon fibers and composites. SGL Group’s core competencies are its expertise in high-temperature technology as well as its applications and engineering know-how gained over many years. These competencies enable  the Company to make full use of its broad material base. SGL Group’s carbon-based materials combine several unique properties such as electrical and thermal conductivity, heat and corrosion resistance as well as high mechanical strength combined with low weight. Due to the paradigm shift in the use of materials as a result of the worldwide shortage of energy and raw materials, there is a growing demand for SGL Group’s high-performance materials and products from an increasing number of industries. Carbon and graphite products are  used whenever other materials such as steel, aluminum, copper, plastics, wood etc. fail due to their limited properties. Products from the SGL Group are used predominantly in the steel, aluminum, automotive, chemical and glass/ceramics industries. However, manufacturers in the semiconductor, battery, solar/wind energy, environmental protection, aerospace and defense industries as well as in the nuclear energy industry also figure among the Company’s customers.

With 40 production sites in Europe, North America and Asia as well as a service network covering more than 100 countries, the SGL Group is a company with a global presence. In 2007, the Company’s workforce of around 5,900 generated sales of € 1.4 billion. The Company’s head office is located in Wiesbaden/Germany.

Important note:

This press release contains statements on future developments that are based on currently available information and that involve risks and uncertainties that could lead to actual results deviating from these forward-looking statements. The statements on future developments are not to be understood as guarantees. The future developments and events are dependent on a number of factors, they include various risks and unanticipated circumstances and are based on assumptions that may not be correct. These risks and uncertainties include, for example, unforeseeable changes in political, economic and business conditions, particularly in the area of electrosteel production, the competitive situation, interest rate and currency developments, technological developments and other risks and unanticipated circumstances. We see other risks in price developments, unexpected developments relating to acquired and consolidated companies and in the ongoing cost optimization programs. SGL Group does not intend to update these forward-looking statements.