A 4.0 robotic braiding machine by Textile For Life Co, of South Korea (JEC Innovation Award winner at JEC Asia 2017)
Like the rest of the world, companies in the Asia-Pacific region are investing heavily in application-based R&D, design, innovation and machinery in all industry sectors. This was clearly evident in the numerous high-tech composites projects submitted by companies in the Asia-Pacific region in these areas for the JEC Innovation Awards 2017. 


Category: Railway

Steaming away with the award was the Korea Railroad Research Institute (KRRI) for their railway sleepers using ultra-high-performance cementitious composites (UHPC), which are advanced cement-based composites possessing a compressive strength greater than 150 MPa, high ductility, impact resistance and durability.
The UHPC developed by the KRRI adopted a high-tech design concept that incorporates proper coarser fine aggregates without sacrificing mechanical properties; an innovation that has never been achieved before for UHPC. This way, the KRRI UHPC reduces material cost by up to 22% compared to standard UHPC. 
The world’s first railway sleepers using UHPC have already been developed. Their design reduces steel usage by more than 25% compared to conventional concrete sleepers – and they are expected to last five times longer.


Category: Racing car

Taking the checkered flag in this highly competitive category were Epotech Composite Corporation (Taiwan) partnered by KC MotorGroup Ltd. (Hong Kong), for developing a lightweight body structure design for the GT86 racing cars
The tooling used a low-temperature-cure resin system, with good mechanical strength and glass transition temperature. This made it ideal for prototyping and/or large part manufacturing thanks to an improved working life and wider processing window when rolling over the mold. 
For the roof, Epotech used its EPO-624 toughened epoxy resin system, allowing good processability and excellent damage resistance. Moreover, the surface finish lowers the car’s wind resistance (drag), which is critical for maneuverability.


Category: Marine

Talon Technology Pty Ltd. of Australia raced away with the prize in the Marine category with their carbon fiber/Kevlar hinge system. For at least the last 100 years, almost all hinges in the world have been metal, with a small number of low-stress plastic designs. This carbon/Kevlar hinge uses advanced composite materials in a very unusual way, to create a high-strength, lightweight and extremely durable hinge that is also corrosion resistant and maintenance free. 
The 1.6mm-thick (closed) hinge is probably the world’s thinnest hinge, yet it can withstand a 150 kg load (50 mm wide). Having no metal parts and made entirely from an epoxy/carbon/glass/Kevlar composite, the hinge can be used in some very extreme environments. 
It is easily bondable to composites structures (fiberglass boats), significantly reducing fitting time and the cost of expensive fasteners. Moreover, Talon recently tested the hinge to over 1 million flex cycles with almost no change in the hinge’s stability.


Category: Process

The Industry 4.0 robotic braiding factory developed by Textile For Life Co., Ltd. (TFL) of South Korea won the award in this category. Their high-tech innovation incorporated the Internet of Things, computer aided engineering, a Cyber Physical System, and big data technology.
The Industry 4.0 factory has been built, and the process and process control can be conducted in virtual space; in one factory, cooperating with others. It allows fast production and rapid product changes. Applications are numerous, including automotive parts, sports equipment, household goods, etc. 

Congratulations to all these companies for their high-tech solutions, which go to show that when it comes to R&D, innovation and implementation, the Asia-Pacific region has some of the top performers in the world.


Written by Denzil Walton

Denzil Walton is a technical copywriter, editor and conference reporter. He has over 30 years’ experience writing on a variety of industrial and high-tech topics.


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