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Industrial materials on display at Industrial Supply 2015

Deutsche Messe (Hannover Messe) : 28 December, 2014  (Technical Article)
The on-going development of industrial materials for use in engineering components continues to drive growth in the global subcontracting sector. And that growth is coming not just from relatively new materials such as carbon reinforced or glass fibre reinforced plastics; surprising new applications are also being developed for traditional materials such as aluminium, rubber and engineering ceramics. All this can be seen at the upcoming Industrial Supply, the Trade Fair for Industrial Subcontracting and Lightweight Construction, which forms part of the line-up for next year’s HANNOVER MESSE from 13 to 17 April 2015.
A good example is burner tubes made from high-performance ceramics. Thanks to new advances in process engineering, it is now possible to create a textured surface on the inside of the tube, which improves heat transfer and consequently makes the furnace more energy-efficient.
There have also been some remarkable advances in translucent ceramics. Thanks to innovative manufacturing processes, aluminium oxide can now be made as transparent as glass. The new material has applications in all kinds of different areas: in medical technology and lighting systems, in the watch and jewellery industry – and in deep-sea diving, which plays such a key role in the search for raw materials.
“I’m constantly impressed at HANNOVER MESSE how engineers are able to continuously improve materials in terms of energy efficiency, strength or weight”, says Marc Siemering, Senior Vice-President of HANNOVER MESSE at Deutsche Messe AG. “Or how they can give materials entirely new properties. The Materials Forum at Industrial Supply is an important driver of such new developments.” The show gives both sides of industry, users and suppliers alike, a comprehensive overview of the latest high-tech materials optimized for specific applications. Designed to save both materials and energy, and combined with new manufacturing methods and adhesive bonding and fastening techniques, they are attracting a lot of international interest for both commercial and environmental reasons.
Engineering ceramics pushing back the boundaries
“Up until now dive computers could be used at depths of up to 150m. But with ceramic displays they can withstand the enormous pressures at water depths in excess of 400m”, reveals Martin Hartmann from the Ceramic Industry Association, which is hosting a group display at the show. “Ceramics are pushing back the boundaries and finding more and more new applications not only in electronics and electrical engineering, but also in the chemical industry and in plant engineering. Where else but in Hannover can manufacturers get the chance to meet potential users from all these sectors?”
Reinforced plastics – a ubiquitous presence
Manufacturers and suppliers of composites are likewise attracted to Hannover by the marketing opportunities that HANNOVER MESSE offers. “The show is a must for us”, says Elmar Witten from Germany’s Industry Association for Reinforced Plastics (AVK). The Association’s member firms are benefiting from the trend towards ever-greater energy efficiency. Over 50 per cent of the brand new Airbus A350, for instance, consists of reinforced plastics. Witten explains why: “Over the life of the aircraft every kilogram of weight savings cuts fuel consumption by three tonnes.” Carbon fibre reinforced plastics (CRPs) are the most commonly used type of composite, as found also in the innovative cabin of the BMW i3. Other big-name companies such as BASF, Jäger and LKH Kunststoffwerk Heiligenroth will also be using next year’s Industrial Supply to showcase the exciting possibilities of reinforced plastics.
New applications are also being developed for glass fibre reinforced plastics (GRPs). “Pipes made from GRP offer superior strength and corrosion-resistance”, explains Witten. Advances in process engineering have also pushed costs down, with the result that in Turkey and the Middle East steel pipes are increasingly being replaced by GRP pipelines.
Multi-functional aluminium sandwich panels
Another trend highlighted by the show is multifunctionality. Components acquire added value if they can be made to perform more than one function. This saves material and reduces overall size. One example is aluminium sandwich panels, which are widely used in the construction sector, in the transport industry and in mechanical engineering. Lightweight and highly resistant to flexing, these panels consist of two aluminium facings with a corrugated core, in which heating cables can be embedded. “This type of panel is ideal for underfloor heating. But we can also produce panels with other types of core material that will absorb sound or store heat”, explains Herbert Fährrolfes from Metawell GmbH, which makes the most of the opportunities for cross-industry networking at HANNOVER MESSE. “For us, Industrial Supply is a firm fixture on the trade fair circuit.”
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