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Cam Elyaf- In pursuit of excellence in glass fibre manufacture

News International-French

4 Feb 2013

Cam Elyaf has been the sole glass fibre manufacturer in Turkey since 1976 and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Sisecam Group, a Turkish glass manufacturing company with annual sales of $3 billion and with manufacturing facilities in Turkey, Bulgaria, Russia, Bosnia and Italy.

Cam Elyaf has an annual capacity of 74,000 tons and operates with two modern natural gas fired furnaces, producing 30 different products such as multi-/single-end roving, chopped fibre and chopped strand mat. The company is in a constant search for excellence and reliability with its qualified research and development team and state-of-the-art research facilities. Cam Elyaf has increased its manufacturing capacity and continuously improved its technology, products and services to meet the increasing demands of the composite industry worldwide. The company is situated at the crossroad of Europe and Asia, with easy access to the European, Middle Eastern and Central Asian markets, and conducts its export and domestic sales with continuously growing sales revenues through its logistics warehouse network located in Germany, Austria, Belgium and Italy.


Fast growth of composites in Turkey

Turkey is a candidate state for the European Union and a member of the European Customs Union. The Turkish economy has been growing, on average, about 5% annually for the last ten years. This exceptionally fast growth, in spite of fears of sustainability in the face of the on-going European recession, has vitalized the composite industry in the country. The growth rate of the composite industry for the same period is about 6% annually, making Turkey the best emerging market for composites in Europe. The composite industry has grown, but also diversified and adopted higher technologies, and a number of glass fibre textile producers and more capable compounders have been launched. The per capita composite consumption is 0.95 kg/year. The country has a large (73 million), young, (median age 27), industrious and upwardly mobile population.


Fig. 1: Growth of the glass fibre market in Turkey over the 2011-2016 period (ton)



The largest market for glass fibre in the area of infrastructure is in municipal water pipes. Seven major glass reinforced pipe manufacturers operate in Turkey, supplying pipes to numerous large projects in Turkey and Middle Eastern countries. Cam Elyaf supplies the sector with rovings that are optimized for this application. These rovings, called FWR6 and KCR5, are suitable for the Flowtite® process that is the most commonly used process in pipe manufacture. These fibres have been certified by independent laboratories and fulfil the hoop strength and ageing test requirements for clean water pipes.


Marine transportation

As Turkey becomes one of the main boat hull and deck producers in the world, fibres suitable for boat building receive more interest from local multiaxial textiles producers. Through close cooperation with these companies, Cam Elyaf has developed a single-end roving that is multi-compatible with epoxy, vinyl ester and unsaturated polyester resins. This fibre has optimum wetting and styrene solubility parameters that make it suitable for fast vacuum infusion, the most common process in today’s boat hull manufacture, and has excellent dry strength and catenary behaviour which makes it sought after by reputable textile manufacturers. Cam Elyaf’s direct roving is fully Lloyd’s certified for marine use.


Wind energy

Most of Turkey’s large wind energy potential lies idle. Present wind energy capacity is 1,700 MW, but tangible steps to put renewable energy resources on line have been taken at the highest level. The existing plan is to reach a capacity of 10,000 MW by 2015 and 20,000 MW by 2023 and the first step of the plan – feed-in tariff incentives – has already been legislated. This ambitious goal has prompted Cam Elyaf to develop a special roving for blade manufacture. The WR6 single-end roving meets the fatigue resistance requirements in wind turbine blade manufacture and is now available worldwide. Lloyd’s certification is available for this roving. The following graphs compare the mechanical properties of composites made with epoxy, vinyl ester and polyester resins, with the WR6 roving and a commercially available leading product.


Fig. 2: Mechanical performance of textiles manufactured with WR6 roving and different thermosetting resins (55% textile glass content)



The European Commissions’ goal of improving the fuel efficiency and lowering the emission level of road vehicles has led to major efforts by car manufacturers to reduce the curb weight. Composite materials offer the only viable solution. In the last ten years, Turkish OEMs have become very active in supplying parts to almost every manufacturer. Major car manufacturers such as Honda, Renault, Mercedes and Ford have set up large manufacturing facilities in the country. Cam Elyaf’s answer was the SMC5 roving, which is optimized to provide high mechanical properties, high glass and filler ratios and Class A surfaces for SMC parts. The SMC5 roving is currently being used by major manufacturers in Turkey and abroad.


Other automotive-related fibres, such as LFT (Long Fibre Thermoplastic) fibres for polypropylene and LFI (Long Fibre Injection) for polyurethane RIM (Reaction Injection Moulding), are also produced by Cam Elyaf.


Agricultural/architectural applications

The south coast of Turkey is a greenhouse heaven. A huge number of small establishments provide most European countries with anything from kiwis to carnations. The off-season production relies on intensive agriculture and on greenhouses covered with translucent panels made from Cam Elyaf’s special roving KCR-HT. The roving is transparent in the wavelength required for photosynthesis, has a fast wetting rate that makes it suitable for automated production lines and provides excellent UV resistance to the panel. Where greenhouse construction is concerned, Cam Elyaf is proud to acquire business from its parent, Sisecam, a major plate glass producer.


Fibres for thermoplastic reinforcement

A number of compounders operating in Turkey use Cam Elyaf fibres to produce glass fibre reinforced thermoplastics. The fact that thermoplastic parts are recyclable has increased their use in the automotive sector dramatically. Cam Elyaf produces chopped fibre for PP, PA 6, PA 66 and PBT thermoplastics, and PP-Plus and PA HD fibres were recently added to this line.

PP-Plus provides high tensile and impact strength and is suitable for many automotive interior parts such as dashboards, door panels and headliners, and also for infrastructure applications such as high pressure, hot and cold water serving pipes. Figure 3 shows the performance of Cam Elyaf’s new PP fibre. PP-Plus is also suitable for electrical appliances such as washing machines and dish washers due to its high resistance to detergents. 



Fig. 3: Mechanical properties of a PP composite made with Cam Elyaf’s new PP fibre


PA HD is suitable for under-the-hood automotive parts such as intake manifolds, battery boxes and radiators and is PA 6 and PA 66 compatible. The fibre possesses a high level of hydrolytic stability as shown in Figure 4.

Both new PP-Plus and PA HD fibres offer excellent flow properties and processability.



Fig. 4: Effect of hot water immersion on the mechanical properties of PA 66 composites using Cam Elyaf’s new PA HD fibre


Chopped strand mat

While new composite manufacturing methods are introduced almost every day, a very large number of parts are still produced by hand lay-up using a well proven reinforcement, chopped strand mat. Cam Elyaf produces its own chopped strand mat in house. Chopped strand mats require a secondary binder to provide mat integrity and Cam Elyaf produces mats with two different kinds of secondary binders. Mats with a powder binder offer high stiffness and excellent styrene solubility, while mats with an emulsion binder show high mechanical properties and excellent drapability. The latter are commonly used in boat hulls as internal laminates sandwiched between two layers of glass fibre textiles.


Booth M32