Preparing the next generation of composites professionals

Educational initiatives planned in various states

Finding skilled employees can be extremely difficult, which is why many companies develop their own training programs. Last week, Composites One (Arlington Heights, IL) presented a two-day educational program in partnership with the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI), one of eight organizations comprising the National Network of Manufacturing Innovation.

“When we developed this new partnership, it was with the goal of helping prepare the next generation of composites professionals, as well as ensuring that our industry’s existing workforce is up to speed on the latest technologies,” said Composites One Marketing Communications Director Marcy Offner. “Judging by the comments that we heard from attendees, we’re on our way to achieving that goal.”

IACMI—Composites Institute CEO Craig Blue agreed. “This collaboration reinforces our mission to accelerate the development and adoption of cutting-edge technologies for low-cost, energy-efficient manufacturing of advanced composites, positively impacting innovation and workforce development,” he said. The IACMI is managed by the Collaborative Composite Solutions Corporations (CCS), a partnership of industry, universities, national laboratories, and federal, state and local governments working together to benefit the nation’s energy and economic security by sharing existing resources and co-investing to accelerate development and commercial deployment of advanced composites. The national institute is supported by a $70 million commitment from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office and over $180 million committed from IACMI partners.

Composites One training
Attendees gained hands-on experience in reusable bag molding from Composites One Technical Services Manager Jim Noonan (left) at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Held at IACMI—The Composites Institute headquarters in Knoxville, TN, the Solutions in Process and Advanced Materials for Today’s Composites Manufacturer program featured more than a dozen sessions led by subject matter experts from Composites One, the Closed Mold Alliance, IACMI—The Composites Institute, the University of Tennessee, and Magnum Venus Products. The program included live demos of reusable bag molding, light resin transfer molding, prepreg and high temperature compression molding. Also included were presentations on vacuum infusion and designing with carbon fiber.

One of the presentations was an actual case history from Scout Boats and a tour of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory carbon fiber technology facility.

“The Solutions in Process and Advanced Materials for Today’s Composites Manufacturer school would not be possible without the expertise and support of our supplier partners,” said Offner. They include 3A Composites, Ashland Performance Materials, Axiom Materials Inc., Chem-Trend, Chomarat, Owens Corning, Polynt Composites USA, Inc., Quantum Composites, SikaAxson, Soul Composites, SWORL (a division of Prairie Technology Group Inc.), United Initiators Inc. and Vectorply.

Following on the heels of this event will be three more sessions this year, including an Intermediate Processing & Wind Energy Workshop in Denver, CO; Process & Advanced Materials Workshop in Lafayette, IN; and Process & Automotive Market Advances in Composites in Detroit, MI. Check www.compositesone.com for dates and registration details.

All of these workshops are designed to help participants gain knowledge in composites and high-performance materials and become more adept in advanced and closed mold processing, out-of-autoclave production, additive manufacturing (3D printing), lightweighting, prototyping, equipment selection, data acquisition, modeling and simulation. Sessions are led by experienced process experts from Composites One and the

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