JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - 30

FEATURE “Transportation” Composite solutions for the transportation market A look at the history of the bus and truck market in Brazil leads us to reflect on the best way to step up the use of composite solutions in that market. Individual differences from country to country and in the technology available prompt questions about suitable processes. GILMAR LIMA, DIRECTOR, MVC SOLUTIONS IN PLASTICS MVC Solutions in Plastics belongs to the Brazilian group Marcopolo, one of the world’s largest bus body manufacturers. Set up 18 years ago, MVC has 750 employees and manufactures 12,000 tonnes of thermoplastics and thermosets a year. The company’s main markets include the automotive and civil construction segments. MVC offers its customers comprehensive customized solutions up to the final product, including design, project, materials and process definition, testing and approval. MVC’s main focuses aren’t the processes, but the solutions for its client’s needs and demands. That is why it has highly diversified processes, such as RTM Light, integrated, soft, vacuum forming, VFC Light, extrusion (thermoset and thermoplastics) and polyurethane injection. In some processes MVC doesn’t act directly, but develops strategic alliances to supply the market, always with the most competitive solution in sight. These strategic alliances help MVC to keep up on the latest technology. Its most important alliance so far is the one it has maintained for ten years with French technology centre Pôle de Plasturgie de l’Est. (Another strategy is to have a group of suppliers working on different aspects of each specific solution, assuming they not only have competitive prices but also add value and technology to the products.) A short history of composites in the transportation market With respect to composite solutions for the transportation market, Marcopolo’s own history with composites can be considered as a representative case that can give an indication of the state of this market 50 years ago, currently and, hypothetically, in the future. In 1949, the company was called Nicola and used no composite products. Its vehicles were heavy, with little design flexibility. In 1958, Marcopolo made its first timid attempts to lower weight, switching to fibreglass (as reinforced plastic was known in Brazil at the time) for some components. In 1968, composites accounted for 2% of the cost of a vehicle. Processes were manual (hand lay-up and spray-up). The proportion of composites used in bus bodies grew slowly but steadily once the company, used to working with steel, got past the first barriers. By 1973, composites accounted for 6% of the body’s total cost and by 1983, 12%. At that time, the main factors limiting faster growth were process (manual only), raw-material quality, the lack of specialized professionals with the level of skills needed to work with these processes and materials, and the lack of technical knowledge, given that all engineering courses were focused on steel. Though the necessary technology, processes, materials and professionals were sometimes lacking, the use of composites increased starting in 1985, due to growing volumes in both the domestic and the foreign markets, the need to reduce weight, and greater project and design flexibility. The continued use of manual processes raised further environmental and cost challenges, however, and this prompted Marcopolo to search out new technologies and solutions to minimize the problems. The first one was vacuum bag moulding, used to manufacture roofs. This involved an automated process to cut the fibreglass, then vacuum moulding and compacting the materials under a plastic film. In spite of the limitations of the process (a long cycle and the need to import the plastic film), it constituted a significant advance that pushed the proportion of composites in the bus body up to 16% by 1992. At the same time, the transportation market in Brazil was starting to develop, especially the truck market. There was pressure to use safer, faster processes that wasted less. The large JEC Composites Magazine / No36 October - November 2007

JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007

- Trends
FEATURE: TRANSPORTATION
- Measurement
Edito
BUSINESS
- Innovations
- Niche markets
- Companies
- Application
- Successful partners
- Composites in the world
CONTENTS
KNOW-HOW
- Process
USERS’ PLATFORM
- Market
- Market survey
NEWS WORLDWIDE
- Prototyping
- Agenda of events
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - 1
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - 2
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - Edito
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - 4
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - 5
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - CONTENTS
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - 7
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - NEWS WORLDWIDE
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - 9
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - 10
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - 11
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - - Agenda of events
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - 13
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - - Innovations
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - 15
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - 16
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - BUSINESS
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - - Market survey
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - 19
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - 20
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - 21
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - 22
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - 23
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - 24
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - 25
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - - Trends
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - 27
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - - Niche markets
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - FEATURE: TRANSPORTATION
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - - Market
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - 31
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - 32
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - 33
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - - Application
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - 35
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - 36
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - 37
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - 38
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - 39
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JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - 41
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - 42
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JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - 46
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - 47
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - 48
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - USERS’ PLATFORM
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - - Composites in the world
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - 51
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - - Successful partners
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - 53
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - 54
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - 55
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - 56
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - KNOW-HOW
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - - Prototyping
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - 59
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - 60
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - 61
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - - Process
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - 63
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - 64
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - - Measurement
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - 66
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - 67
JEC COMPOSITES MAGAZINE - Issue #36 - October 2007 - 68
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