CINCINNATI - Alpha/Owens-Corning is increasing its research and development budget 30 percent in 1996 with an eye on the truck and pultrusion markets. The firm declined to reveal any actual expenditure figures. A joint venture in North or South America also is a strong possibility in 1996, said Gerald Griffith, AOC president and chief executive.
Griffith said the company is looking to develop low-pressure molding technology. As a result, the company will make a greater push into the truck market, where processors need to use compounds that are moldable under lower pressures, he said.
AOC's R&D centers are located in Collierville, Tenn., where the firm is based, and Granville, Ohio, and Valparaiso, Ind.
``This signals that we're looking to advance technology to help market growth,'' he said.
Griffith, interviewed at the recent SPI Composites Institute Conference in Cincinnati, said he expects the U.S. truck market to increase 3-4 percent this year.
AOC introduced its new Ultryl unsaturated polyester for fiber-reinforced sheet molding compound in November for use in that market because of its ability to be molded under low pressures. The company is one of the leading producers of unsaturated polyesters in the United States.
Other top growth markets are in offshore platforms and pultrusion. AOC introduced its Hydropel E-010 series of bisphenol-A epoxy vinyl esters for end-use applications requiring high mechanical properties and resistance to chemicals and heat. It can be used in hand layup, spray-up, pultrusion and filament winding.
Because of the new vinyl ester's high resistance to hydrolsis, it can be part of a laminate schedule that reduces blistering in gel-coated boat hulls, tub and shower units, and other parts exposed to high levels of moisture, the company announced in a news release.
Griffith also said he expects AOC to boost sales through a joint venture sometime in 1996 or 1997. Canada, Mexico and South America are potential sites.
AOC is a joint venture of Alpha Corp. of Collierville and Owens Corning in Toledo, Ohio.