During her keynote presentation, Vicki Holt, president and CEO of Protolabs, praised composite materials as a game changer. “The amount of solutions that your innovations can bring are second to none,” she said. “Composites and advanced materials are one of the leading innovative industries that are going to continue to change the future.”

Examples of such innovations were highlighted at the general session when the flagship CAMX Awards were announced. The 2019 winners are:

  • CAMX Unsurpassed Innovation – CarbonPro Pickup Box: Available exclusively on GMC Sierra LD full-size trucks, CarbonPro is the industry’s first carbon fiber reinforced thermoplastic pickup box.

  • CAMX Combined Strength – Highly Precise Laser Drilling of Carbon Fiber Preforms for Fastener Integration: This core innovation of the CarboLase project combines high-precision laser material processing of textile preforms using ultra-short pulsed laser radiation with fully-automated application of metallic fasteners into the preforms.

Later in the day, the Awards for Composites Excellence (ACE) were presented on the CAMX show floor. The awards recognize outstanding achievement and innovation in technology, manufacturing and product development in three categories. The 2019 winners are:

  • ACE Design: Most Creative Application – Carbon Fiber Braided Arched Beams in Park & Recreation: The University of Tennessee, IACMI and the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory developed 17 unique carbon fiber intensive arched beams, each 33 feet long, for the International Friendship Bell pavilion in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

  • ACE Design: Innovation in Green Composites – Styrene Free SMC: LyondellBasell developed an SMC material that can assist in qualifying for LEEDS certification and adheres to California Proposition 65.

  • ACE Manufacturing: Equipment and Tooling Innovation – 3D Printing Magnetically Aligned Composites: Fortify’s Digital Composite Manufacturing (DCM) platform consists of patented hardware, software and materials that enable magnetically optimized printing of composite parts.

  • ACE Manufacturing: Material and Process Innovation – ASTRA Demonstrator: The Advanced Structures Technology & Revolutionary Architecture (ASTRA) demonstrator by Spirit AeroSystems Inc. is an 18 x 12-foot composite fuselage skin panel that combines advanced manufacturing technologies and revolutionary architecture to cut approximately 30% of future composite fuselage costs.

  • ACE Market Growth: Infinite Possibility for Market Growth – TuFF Material Technology: The University of Delaware’s Tailorable Universal Feedstock for Forming (TuFF) material technology is an extremely strong short fiber composite material that can form complex geometry parts.