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Collaboration combines specialist data and software for users of composite materials

22 July 2011

Granta Design and Firehole Composites have announced a collaboration whereby Granta will integrate an extensive collection of material data from Firehole Composites into the upcoming releases of its CES Selector and GRANTA MI software. The result will be a new tool that will enable engineers to navigate unfamiliar and complex composite data, to compare composites with the full range of materials options, and to choose the right material for their application.

The Firehole Composites materials database covers over 300 composite grades and is compiled from manufacturers’ data, leading testing labs, and research projects. Around a thousand data records cover the different test conditions that are critical to composite users (e.g., room temperature dry, elevated temperature wet).

The data provides information on the composite constituents, suppliers, and forms, plus properties derived from testing. A consistent format enables effective comparisons to be made, while data quality ratings help users to employ data from varied sources appropriately.

Granta provides the industry-leading software for managing and using materials information. Granta solutions enable users to access and apply data from their in-house testing and from a broad range of leading reference sources covering metals, plastics, ceramics, and composites.

Applying the Granta tools to the Firehole Composites data will make it easy for designers and engineers to find the composite data that they need and to gain an understanding of composite systems.

Integration with Granta’s complete range of materials information means that users will be able to quickly and easily compare composites with traditional materials, helping them to choose the right materials and to find replacements for materials that they have difficulty sourcing.

“We are pleased to add Firehole Composites data to the Granta materials information library,” said Dr Patrick Coulter, Chief Operating Officer at Granta Design. “Granta’s strategy is to work with leading expert organizations in each sector of the materials market so that our users can combine the best reference information with their in-house data, all in one place. Through this collaboration, those users will gain access to a well-respected and high quality source of composite information.”

Jason Gies, Vice President of Business Development at Firehole said, “Granta’s tools have an excellent reputation, world-wide, for assisting in material selection and aiding in the product design cycle.  Firehole has worked to compile the best collection of composite material data in the industry into our Prospector:Composites product.  With this data, we are excited to further extend the coverage of tools like the CES Selector and GRANTA MI in the composites arena.”

CES Selector 2012
Granta Design has also announced a new release of the CES Selector software, helping manufacturing enterprises that must replace materials in their product portfolio for reasons of cost, performance, supply, or environmental impact. CES Selector 2012 also provides new capabilities for eco design and for users of composite materials and steels.
CES Selector is a PC-based software application that combines comprehensive data on materials properties with powerful graphical analysis tools developed at Cambridge University and Granta. A key focus for the latest annual release is on new features that make it quick and easy to compare the properties of multiple materials. Engineering, economic, and environmental properties can be reviewed relative to a user-defined reference material, with key differences highlighted.  This makes it much simpler to identify and study candidates for replacing a material and to avoid potential pitfalls in materials substitution projects.

Manufacturing companies increasingly need to replace materials. The economic climate makes price a greater issue than ever.  Environmental regulation is rendering materials obsolete. Geopolitical issues threaten security of supply. And globalized manufacturing can create less stable supply chains. Whatever drives the need for change, the best replacement is often a completely different type of material with which the company has little familiarity. Substitution projects can be lengthy and costly, both because it takes time to explore options and because of the unforeseen consequences of different properties or processing behavior. CES Selector now provides a very effective route to minimize this disruption.

The CES Selector Eco Audit Tool has also been extended in CES Selector 2012, based on user feedback. This addresses another strategic challenge facing manufacturers - the need to consider sustainability during product design. The Eco Audit Tool provides a fast method to estimate the environmental impact of a product early in the design process.  Manufacturing waste and finishing processes are now included in its calculations, as are variations in materials recovery at the end of the product’s life. This makes the tool better-aligned with real-world manufacturing scenarios and the PAS 2050 carbon footprinting standard, without sacrificing speed and ease-of-use in the practical application of the tool.

Data updates have been made across the full range of materials covered by CES Selector. These provide new engineering, cost, and environmental data on plastics, metals, and composite materials.  Two highlights are the new Firehole Composites data module, which provides extensive data on continuous fiber-reinforced polymer composites, and StahlDat SX, which contains the complete Register of European Steels (known as the ‘Stahl-Eisen-Liste’ in German), their specification data, and temperature-dependent properties. These datasets are licensed from leaders in their respective fields, Firehole Technologies, Inc. and the German Steel Institute (Stahlinstitut VDEh).

CES Selector 2012 includes a number of additional productivity, user interface, graphical, and data enhancements – full details are available on the product website.



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