Skip to content

Living in a (Composite) Material World – Highlights from JEC World 2019

The annual JEC World expo in Paris has become a truly massive event. For three days every March, over 43,000 visitors from 123 countries converge to learn about the latest advancements in the composite materials industry. All aspects of the composites value chain are represented, including equipment and tool manufacturers, raw material and intermediate product producers, services providers, and end users of composites parts. For Altair, this year’s JEC World may have been the most eventful and exciting one yet!

For the first time, Altair participated in the JEC World Startup Booster Competition as an “Official Innovation Partner”. Altair’s senior director of composites technology, Jeff Wollschlager, served on the high-level jury. Over 100 international startups entered, and after a spirited pitch session by the 10 finalists, 3 diverse and forward-thinking winners were awarded the coveted prize, which included licenses of Altair HyperWorksTM to help them further their technical pursuits.  Here’s a brief overview of the three winners:

  • Woodoo from Paris, France, developed a technical process to remove the weak lignin parts of a wood board’s structure, replacing it with a custom polymer. The result is a sustainable material with the strength profile of metal and the cost profile of low-grade wood.
  • AirGo is a Singapore-based developer of next-generation economy class aircraft seats. Their full composite aircraft passenger seat, “Carbon”, is 40 percent lighter than comparable aluminum-based seats.
  • AREVO, out of Santa Clara, California, develops technology to enable direct digital additive manufacturing of ultra-strong, lightweight composite parts for end use applications in high volume.

Altair also hosted a conference session entitled “Empowering Composites Innovation with Simulation”, featuring keynote presentations from Boeing, Cevotec, and Gurit. The presentations focused on leveraging computer-aided engineering (CAE) simulation software to design, optimize, and validate composite structures. You can learn more about Cevotec’s presentation on additive manufacturing techniques using composite materials in this blog post. Full recordings of these sessions will soon be available to view on the Altair website resource library.

Within the conference, Altair announced the newest addition to the Altair Partner Alliance, Quilted Stratum Design (QSD) software by Cetim. QSD offers an easy-to-use design optimization workflow integrated within HyperWorks. With QSD you can tailor your thicknesses and orientation of your composite lay-up to reach your cost/performance target, providing faster and better prospective design, improved tailor composite preform optimization, and design to cost with integrated process know-how. You can learn more about this new addition to the Altair composite solution portfolio in the QSD introductory webinar.

Visitors to the Altair booth were particularly interested in gaining a deeper understanding of the physics of their material behavior. Our technical team gave demos throughout the expo of Altair’s multiscale material model development framework and methodologies. Our software Altair Multiscale DesignerTM offers solutions for continuous (unidirectional and woven) and discontinuous (short and long chopped) composite materials. The framework also includes a composite solutions material database that contains constituent materials and experimental test data, which allows for the creation of new multiscale material models that are predictive in nature. In addition, homogenized materials can be entered directly from “legacy” experimental data or can be created by the multiscale material models themselves (virtual allowables).

Once a solid material model base has been established, this opens the possibility for highly accurate product performance and manufacturing simulation, design optimization studies, and design certification. We feel this comprehensive set of solutions in a single environment is key for helping our customers navigate the complex challenges associated with the development and use of advanced materials.

As always, our customers helped take the Altair booth to the next level, displaying some truly remarkable technical demonstrators. Just a few of the highlights included the NCC sit-ski, a lightweight composite mono-ski designed for individuals with lower body limitations, and the Guerrilla Gravity mountain bike, whose new carbon technology frame is significantly lighter and 300 percent more impact resistant than their previous metal frame. I was also impressed by the glass fiber-reinforced polyamide 66 pedal bracket developed by Asahi Kasei and Mazda. Reducing the weight of their original bracket by 83 percent, it’s no wonder they were awarded a 2018 Enlighten Award for this topology optimized lightweight design.

Three action-packed days at JEC World had me marveling at new and innovative applications of advanced materials, excited by the advances in manufacturing techniques, and motivated to continue Altair’s work with our customers to push the boundaries of what’s possible with composites. You can learn more about Altair’s integrated composites solutions vision and roadmap here.