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Composites

Teijin Aramid and MACRO Industries to develop more durable, FR air freight containers

Teijinís lightweight Twaron fibre will be used to create the new Unit Load Devices (ULDs), to meet the high safety standards in aviation.


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15th March 2016

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Tokyo

Transport/​Aerospace, Packaging

Teijin’s strong, lightweight Twaron fibre will be used to create the new Unit Load Devices (ULDs) that would meet the high safety standards in aviation, companies report.

“We are thrilled about the collaboration with Teijin Aramid and our ability to make air freight containers weigh less, meet higher safety standards, require fewer repairs, and have a lower environmental impact. Combining our technical knowledge and markets will definitely lead to more and new products in the near future,” commented Norris Luce, co-owner and CEO of MACRO Industries.

Agreement

This agreement with MACRO Industries represents Teijin Aramids goal to collaborate with partners and participate in a global ecosystem where people work with Twaron.

The MACRO-Lite ULDs are built with the next generation reinforced composite materials making the containers fire-resistant for over 4 hours, according to recent testing by the FAA and UPS. According to statements made by UPS, based upon this testing, the usage of the para-aramid fibre Twaron makes the containers significantly lighter and more durable than standard aluminium containers.

Teijin Aramids Twaron is heat-resistant and five times stronger than steel at the same weight, the manufacturer reports.

Aluminium panels

MACRO-Lite can be used as a replacement for existing aluminium panels in operational ULDs and it is said to allow fleet operators to easily upgrade their containers.

Upgrading to MACRO-Lite skins is also said to reduce the cost and frequency of repairs. The MACRO-Lite ULD has the benefit of a high performance composite material but behaves like sheet metal making it more durable and cutting the costs for servicing and maintenance. It’s expected that there are about 900,000 aluminium ULDs in circulation globally that can be replaced with MACRO-Lite panels.

Safety and transportation

ULDs with MACRO-Lite panels can contain a fire with a peak temperature of 1,200-degree Fahrenheit (648.9°C) for four hours, while an aluminum container could only do so for a few minutes. MACRO-Lite addresses the air industry’s increasing concerns over fire hazards and stricter safety regulations for the transport of lithium-ion batteries. On 1 January 2015, an ICAO mandate came into force that bans airlines from transporting lithium-ion batteries as cargo in the belly hold of passenger aircrafts. Lithium ion batteries, transported as cargo or used by passengers to power their electronic devices, have been the cause of a number of on-board fires.

“Approximately US 5.5 billion worth of lithium-ion batteries legally produced each year are now only transported by sea and over land, making these fire-resistant containers a game changer for the air freight industry,” said Hendrik de Zeeuw, business manager at Teijin Aramid.

“MACRO Industries have proven to be absolute technology leader when it comes to developing composite materials based on our Twaron. We are very excited with this first step to represent MACRO Industries in Europe.”

www.teijin.com

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