Richard J. DAIN´s "Composite Piano"-Projekt (1)

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Wilhelm

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170cm, leicht*, CF-Rahmen mit zwei Metallriegeln, kreuzsaitig, PHOENIX-System mit CF-Resonanzboden, CF-Gehäuse, CF-Beine (ohne Rollen), WNG-Mechanik, Brücken und Klaviatur aus Holz ...

Ich poste hier ein paar Neuigkeiten zu dem o.g. Projekt von Richard James DAIN, die vielleicht von Interesse sind. Neben ein paar Fotos gibt es auch drei kurze Artikel, die ich hierher "paste" (in original Angelsächsisch, mit Quellenangabe), um beim Lesen nicht immerzu neue Links verfolgen zu müssen.

Richard J. DAIN, der als pensionierter Ingenieur (FREng) auf seiner Hurstwood-Farm (Hurstwood Farm Piano Studios) in Sevenoaks, Kent (GB), nicht nur über dem hier vor einiger Zeit besprochenen und bereits 2008 prämierten PHOENIX-System (Pat. 1,2,3) und der Zukunft des Klaviers brütet, baut und vertreibt ja inzwischen in Kooperation u.a. mit Udo SCHMIDT-STEINGRAEBER nicht nur Flügel und Klaviere seiner eigenen Marke "PHOENIX", sondern betätigt sich nicht zuletzt auch erfolgreich im Haselnußanbau.

Das "Composite Piano" wurde der Öffentlichkeit erstmals auf der Musikinstrumentenmesse "Cremona Mondomusica/Cremona Pianoforte", 28.-30. September 2012, Cremona (I), und danach auf der "Composites Engineering Show", 7.-8. November 2012, Birmingham (GB) sowie auf der "JEC Europe 2013" Composites-Ausstellung, 12.-14. März 2013, Paris (F), als Prototyp vorgestellt. Auf der letztgenannten Ausstellung wurde es im Rahmen der "Innovation Corner" unter den innovativsten Composite-Exponaten präsentiert.


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Cremona Mondomusica/Cremona Pianoforte, 28.-30. September 2012, Cremona (I)


"The Composite Piano" In: Connect for Engineers and Business Leaders, p. 4, In: Air Talk, Winter 2012

Retrac Composites Ltd was approached by Hurstwood Farm Piano Studios and Simpact Engineering Ltd in June 2011 to discuss the possibility of manufacturing a revolutionary design carbon composite prototype piano. The R&D project was to be a collaboration of five companies, who would individually contribute to knowledge, design, material manufacture and composite component manufacture. The Companies would embark on a journey not only to test the boundaries of composite design, but to work together and be a part of the first major piano conceptual design change for well over a century, which would surely change the whole industry as Theodore Steinway’s new piano did in 1886 and a century before with Cristofori’s first instrument with escapement operated percussion hammers in a world that only knew Harpsichords and Clavichords. Carbon Fibre was chosen to construct a piano because of the following properties.

• Weight
• Performance and sound quality
• Stability

The collaborating companies, Simpact Engineering Ltd, Creactive Design Ltd, Retrac and SAATI developed the innovative design concept proposed by Hurstwood Farm Piano Studios with them into an engineered solution. The project got underway in November 2011 with the manufacture of hand-crafted patterns. Split mould tools were manufactured from the patterns to form the larger sections of the Piano’s design. With moulds manufactured and materials delivered, Retrac Composites Ltd started the production of the prototype components in March 2012.

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The Composites Engineering Show, November 7th-8th 2012, National Exhibition Centre (NEC), Birmingham (GB)

Here is an extract from a letter from the customer to Retrac:
“We are really delighted with the outcome. You have demonstrated the very best that earns British engineering its reputation; you should be rightly proud of a great achievement. I and my colleagues know this standard is only achieved when those who do the work are truly dedicated to its success. There can be no question that the team at Retrac who worked on the piano had that dedication to our project.”

After weeks of manufacturing effort and well over 1000 man hours of labour in composite production of the prototype, the Piano was finally ready to be unveiled to the musical world at the Cremona Mondamusica festival in Italy, (the home of Cristofori’s original piano), on 28th – 30th September 2012.

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The Composites Engineering Show, November 7th-8th 2012, National Exhibition Centre (NEC), Birmingham (GB)


"The Revolution in Carbon Fibre Piano Design is here!" At: SIMPACT Engineering Ltd (GB)

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See the carbon fibre prototype at the NEC Composites Engineering Show. 7th-8th November

In our five year engineering development project for Hurstwood Pianos Studios and Phoenix Piano Systems, the first carbon fibre piano design out of the mould will be on display next week at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham.

The piano will be displayed on the stand of Retrac Composites who were commissioned to build the first prototype model using their vast amount of experience in the building of complex systems in carbon fibre.

Simpact Project Manager, Dr Dirk Landheer said that without the application of modern virtual design and analysis techniques, this achievement would have been unthinkable. A combination of 3D digitisations, CAE and CAD has produced an advanced design which materialises the design concept of Mr Richard Dain, Chairman of Hurstwood Farm Piano Studios. It has some important acoustic as well as innovative functional qualities and only weighs around one third* of a traditional concert grand.

SAATI, global manufacturer of a wide range of specialist fabrics in carbon, manufactured and supplied the specific composite material for the piano.

The frame of a piano has to withstand string forces in excess of 100kN which is why all pianos for the past 150 years have been built around large and very heavy cast iron frames. The concept of introducing a low mass and high strength material in an acoustic environment was identified as a significant challenge right from the start of the project but using advanced modelling techniques grown from modern OEM development, it has been a complete success which is now being confirmed by the prototype.

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Wilhelm

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Richard J. DAIN´s "Composite Piano"-Projekt (2)

"Composite Piano Tips the Scales" At: Composites in Manufacturing (CIM), GB

Author: Mike Richardson
Date Published: 20.02.2013

One of the more tuneful exhibits striking a chord during last year’s Composites Engineering Show was a carbon fibre construction piano. Mike Richardson hears how Retrac Composites and its partners worked in harmony to reduce the piano’s weight and improve its acoustics.

Whether it’s a keyboard rock giant like Keith Emerson, a pop star like Elton John or even a rhythm & blues celebrity like Jools Holland, their grand pianos can be heavy brutes to manoeuvre from gig to gig, night after night. And yet all they need to do is turn up, sit down, hammer out a few tunes on the old thing and accept the applause.

So spare a thought for the poor old roadie. They’re the first to arrive and the last to leave, and are relied on to engage in the back-breaking job of lugging nigh on 500kg in weight of musical equipment across the stages of concert halls around the world.

However, a lightweight solution is waiting in the wings in the form of the world’s first carbon fibre composite construction prototype piano designed and built by a collaboration of five companies that not only tested the boundaries of composite design, but worked together to become a part of the first major piano conceptual design change for well over a century.

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The Composites Engineering Show, November 7th-8th 2012, National Exhibition Centre (NEC), Birmingham (GB)

Collaboration is key

The partnership of Simpact Engineering, Creactive Design, Saati and Retrac Composites developed the innovative design concept proposed by Hurstwood Farm Piano Studios. Carbon fibre was used to construct the piano because of the properties of weight, performance and sound quality, and stability.

Split mould tools were manufactured from handcrafted patterns to form the larger sections of the piano’s design, and once delivered, Retrac Composites set about the production of the prototype components.

The aim of the partnership’s research was threefold. Firstly, to explore the possibilities of improved acoustic performance if a piano was constructed of a material of high stiffness to density ratio such as carbon fibre. This factor was the reason for the choice of spruce wood for traditional pianos. The second aim was to reduce the mass of the instrument to facilitate transport. Finally, a plan was implemented to study whether a material such as carbon fibre would enable more climate resistant pianos to be built.

Modern pianos are constructed using a cast iron frame and steel strings. The coefficient of expansion of the two materials is similar; therefore with change of ambient temperature the tension and therefore pitch in the strings remains relatively unchanged. A piano with a carbon fibre frame would expand minimally with rise in ambient temperature, yet the strings would expand and lose tension and pitch. A compensation method for temperature change had to be devised. The use of carbon fibre in the soundboard reduced the acoustic energy loss in the material of the instrument disproportionately in favour of higher frequencies. The research entailed determination of material quality and controlling energy input to the soundboard at different frequencies. In particular the efficiency of transmission of vibration energy in the strings was found to be so enhanced that longitudinal vibration in the strings became significant and had to be suppressed because it caused unwanted beat frequencies with the normal lateral vibration of the strings.

From drawing board to keyboard

Retrac Composites’ role was to take engineering drawings and make and assemble a precision prototype piano. Traditional pianos are handcrafted and components are shaped together to work in perfect harmony. Carbon fibre is not a material that can easily be shaped and crafted after formation. The carbon fibre piano had to be built to a finished high accuracy because subsequent cutting and shaping as widely used in traditional piano manufacture wasn’t an option.

As the bridge of a traditional piano is dimensionally critical, Retrac applied the latest CNC machining techniques to hitherto unachieved standards of precision and optimal geometry instead of the normal hand carving procedure.

The prototype piano concept design required encapsulation of a wooden tuning pin block in a carbon fibre skin, so that the feel of the tuning pins would be acceptable to piano tuners using conventional practice. Tests were done to determine the effect of curing the carbon fibre skin on the condition of the encapsulated wood block and therefore, the ‘feel’ of the tuning pins, and to determine the most appropriate dimensions for the pin pilot holes to ensure the correct torque on the pins.

The prototype piano is the smallest of a proposed range of five sizes from 170cm to 272cm long. The design concept is modular and many parts are common for all sizes. Many lessons have been learned from the prototype. The plan is to build a pre-production piano of one of the larger sizes - probably 232cm, which will incorporate the changes resulting from experience with the prototype. At this stage production tooling will have to be designed and made. Otherwise no major further research work is needed to produce pianos at the rate of about 100 each year.

In terms of the key differences between a carbon fibre and a traditional handcrafted wooden one, the characteristics of mass, sound power and sound quality, and climate tolerance are said to be greatly improved. Retrac says virtually all feedback has been positive. The piano produces more sound power from a given finger power input and therefore feels easier to play accurately. This translates into a feeling of enhanced security in the artist. The piano’s action fitting in a precision case is easier to achieve to high standard.

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The Composites Engineering Show, November 7th-8th 2012, National Exhibition Centre (NEC), Birmingham (GB)

A work in progress

So, what’s next for the carbon fibre piano and are there any plans to mass produce it or design and build other musical instruments? Retrac say there are a number of additional developments in planning to take piano design into the next century. These include variable elasticity hammers to enable real-time variation of the piano timbre by the artist, a climate resistant and more stable key frame made in carbon fibre, and a novel method of piano key articulation, which is intended to give the artist better feedback from the instrument by reduced friction in the mechanism. A cost-saving study is also planned, with initial costing suggesting that the present design is competitive with traditional quality instruments. All of which must be sweet music to the roadie’s ears!

Advanced Composites | Retrac


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The Composites Engineering Show, November 7th-8th 2012, National Exhibition Centre (NEC), Birmingham (GB)


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JEC Europe 2013 composites exhibition, March 12th-14th 2013, Paris (F)


Nun, was würde wohl John BROADWOOD zu dem "Composite Piano"-Projekt seines Landsmannes Richard J. DAIN sagen, wenn er heute noch lebte?

Ich bin gespannt auf die kommenden Evolutionsstufen des Klaviers. Auf der Musikmesse in Frankfurt am 10.-13.04.2013 stellt STEINGRAEBER & Söhne nicht aus, so daß auch das "Composite Piano" leider eher nicht präsent sein wird.


Geschäftspartner des"Composite Piano"-Projekts*:
CREACTIVE Design Ltd (GB)
RETRAC Composites Ltd (GB)
SAATIGroup s.p.a. (I)
SIMPACT Engineering Ltd (GB)

Was ich in den kommenden Jahren auch noch gern sehen würde*:
Delwin D. FANDRICH´s geradsaitige(r) Flügel
Don A. GILMORE´s Selbststimmsystem in einer Serien-Version
David KLAVINS´ 408 "barless" geradsaitiger Flügel
Stephen PAULELLO´s "barless" geradsaitige(r) Flügel
Richard SHEPHERD´s weiterentwickelte SE2-Version von Wayne STAHNKE´s SE-System in einem "Composite"-Flügel

*
(alphabetisch)
 
fisherman

fisherman

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Ich würde in so einem Fall den Hersteller fragen: Ist das "sexy"? Begehrenswert (ich meine mal außerhalb der Carbon-Formel1-Gemeinde)? Kann sein, dass das irgendwann mal ein tolles, hochfunktionales Produkt wird. Aber bis zur "Produkt-Erotik" scheint mir der Weg noch lang. Sorry, Joeach;-)
 
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pianoplayer81

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Ich habe einen Flügel von Steingräber mit CF-Resonanzboden und Phoenix-System schonmal gespielt.
Interessant fand ich, dass nun das was man vorher anstrebte, zuviel da war (Obertöne) und dadurch ganz anders intoniert werden muss als bei normalen Konstruktionen.
Der Klang an sich war weniger gewöhnungsbedürftig als ich vermutet hatte. Allerdings weiß ich noch nicht ob mir das gefällt was ich da höre :D Wenn ich mir jetzt vorstelle den gesamten Flügel aus CF vor mir zu haben....hmmm...muss ich erstmal hören.
 
fisherman

fisherman

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Ja, aber soviel ich weiß, hat man die CF-Böden ja mit (Starkschnitt-) Furnier ummanteln müssen, weils pur gar nicht ging ...
 
Peter

Peter

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Habe ich mich auch schon gefragt....nix im Internet gefunden.
 
fisherman

fisherman

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Nee, KBerM, das hab ich aus allererster Quelle ... hatte klangliche Gründe
 
Klimperer

Klimperer

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Gibt es auch irgendwo eine Klangprobe?

Grüße

Jörg

Ja, gibt's. Leider sauschlecht. Heut morgen erschien derselbe Faden auf PianoWorld, mit dem Unterschied, dass eine schlechte youtube-Klangprobe dabei war.

Ich bin grad zu müde, das herauszukramen - sorry. (Würde auch wirklich nicht viel bringen - die Klangprobe ist wirklich nicht sehr bedeutend.)
 
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Wilhelm

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