NOV 2018


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NOVEMBER 2018 30 CompositesWorld The long view for composites in long-haul trucks Composite components on heavy trucks and trailers continue to grow, both in volume and in kind, but they won't be carrying structural loads until the mid-2020s. » Is the long haul trucking industry poised for a transforma- tion to large-scale use of composite materials? If so, could it look anything like last decade's leap in commercial aircraft composites use — for example, from 9% composites by weight on the Boeing 777, to 50% on the Boeing 787? According to trucking industry insiders who spoke with CW, a surge in composites applications is a realistic possibility, though somewhat less dramatic than that experienced in the aerospace market, and not until the mid-2020s at the soonest. If and when a jump in composites use does occur, it will share a common feature with commercial aircraft: a substantial increase in composites by weight will be the likely result of composites moving into structural applications. Importantly, the need for a paradigm shift — a clean-sheet, "purpose-built" design approach — is emphasized as a prerequisite to any such transformation. "Almost everyone's current vehicle is metallic with composite 'covers,'" says Todd Altman, senior director of strategic markets for TPI Composites Inc. (Scottsdale, AZ, US). To gain significant new mass savings and performance advan- tages, he believes, OEMs are best served by designing from the ground up. "Don't take all the legacy components," he says, "and try simply to replace metal with composite. Part consolidation will improve the value of new composite designs. You can integrate the roof, and you don't need a fairing on top. e integrated unit becomes structural." Rethinking truck and trailer technology is thus taking place on a fundamental, systemic level, including the powertrain, drive shafts, axles, suspensions and wheels, as well as the elements more commonly associated with composites — truck cab, trailer floor and walls, and in the future, the frame and chassis. In the meantime, heavy truck and trailer OEMs continue to gain production experience with composite materials, their properties and their long-term performance, through components that have already made the transition. In fact, for many truck and trailer components, composites are the stock-in-trade, and have often been so for decades. Market forecasts for these components are opti- mistic. A work-in-progress report from Future Market Insights (London, UK), for example, predicts a By Karen Mason / Contributing Writer The old with the new Oak has long been the preferred flooring material for dry vans, and Havco's Fusion floor reinforces oak with a composite laminate to provide greater strength and more durability at a lighter weight than a pure oak floor. Source | Havco Wood Products

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