Winter 2013


Amber Composites celebrates anniversary with new name

On Wednesday 2 October 2013 Amber Composites Limited, based in Langley Mill (Nottingham, UK) celebrated its 25th anniversary, marking this special occasion with an identity change to TenCate Advanced Composites Limited. Sixty invited guests (customers, suppliers, associates and other business partners) gathered together to celebrate the anniversary and the change in name.

The TenCate Advanced Composites group manufactures both thermoplastic and thermoset composite materials. The thermoset activities were formally concentrated in Morgan Hill (United States) and focused mainly on the space and aerospace sector (satellites and communication).

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The main product lines at the Langley Mill (UK) site are composite tooling prepreg (TenCate AmberTool™), structural component prepregs and various honeycomb cores (picture below).

4 amber honeycomb

The honeycomb cores range includes aluminium, Nomex® or Kevlar®.  These products are used in Formula 1 and high performance automotive, as well as for commercial aviation, marine and other industries.

Formula 1 – highly demanding market
The market for Formula 1, sports and luxury cars is relatively new to TenCate.  It is an innovative and highly demanding market noted for rapid developments. A racing car is made up of more than 5,000 components, and after each race up to 20% of these are replaced or upgraded. Thermosets composite materials have been used in this industry for many years. New material innovation or a new technology can quickly prove itself here – unlike in the aviation industry, where new product introduction can take many years to certification approval to fly.

4 composites amber F1
The United Kingdom is at the heart of Formula 1 racing, with no less than eight of the eleven F1 teams being based within a 40 mile radius of the Silverstone race circuit. 

Amber Composites already was an important supplier of prepreg systems and materials to this market. For example, the TenCate E745 resin system is used in high-impact structures. From the start of  2014 this will be the only material qualified and specified for use in side impact structures of all Formula 1 cars. The Langley Mill business is dedicated to this industry and is keen to develop materials for all aspects of the vehicle

Strengthening activities
Through the acquisition of Amber Composites, TenCate Advanced Composites can also strengthen its thermoset activities within the European communication and satellite industry. TenCate continues to invest in the development and production of prepregs, as well as in the necessary technical support in test equipment and manpower to support substantial growth. For the domestic UK market this means competitive materials, supplied  more quickly and efficiently. The Langley Mill facility (formally Amber Composites location) is now the centre of excellence when it comes to the production of thermosets prepregs for Europe. Together working with the USA colleagues markets will be developed where the strengths of its materials development can really benefit the industry and customer base.

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Frank Meurs (second from right) and Nick Tiffin (respectively group director and director sales & marketing of TenCate Advanced Composites EMEA) gave a presentation explaining the reasons for the TenCate acquisition of Amber. They also outlined their vision for the future of the company and the composite group. 

‘The re-branding day was an excellent opportunity to explain to customers and other stakeholders just what our plans with the company actually are,’ says Frank Meurs (group director TenCate Advanced Composites EMEA). ‘Besides the new, modern production site, we presented TenCate as company. And the feedback we received from our guests, including some Formula 1 teams, was very positive.’

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Around 60 invited guests gathered together that day in Langley Mill (Nottingham) to celebrate the anniversary and change in name 

TenCate AmberTool™
In September TenCate Advanced Composites launched a re-branded series of prepregs for composite tooling under the name TenCate AmberTool™. This portfolio incorporates the original heritage of Amber Composites’ tooling range with tooling prepregs available from TenCate Advanced Composites USA, and use is made of the 3M nanosilica fortified resin technology. New opportunities for application can be found within the motor racing, aviation, marine and prosthesis industries. TenCate AmberTool™ tooling prepregs are supplied directly to the customer in the United Kingdom and the United States. Sales of tooling materials on the European mainland are handled by Axson Technologies.  This stockist and distributor brings strength and market penetration to some markets not normally covered by TenCate Advanced Composites.

Blue fabric (Tecawork Blue 65287)