BURLINGAME, CALIF. - Lack of manufacturing capability will hold back big applications of advanced composites, industry consultant W. Brandt Goldswor-thy of Torrance, Calif., said in an interview at the Wilson Forum. ``Nobody ever says, `Is there manufacturing capacity out there?' '' Goldsworthy said. ``If it is a brand-new approach and a big-tonnage situation, somebody must come up with a big capital outlay to build the plant. It is probably the most difficult thing of all.''
He thinks suppliers can retrofit bridge columns with a modest investment, but ``you can't tippy-toe into Caltrans with one piece of bridge deck if you want to convince them to retrofit the Bay Bridge with composites. They must know that composite decking is available for the entire job.''
Goldsworthy underscored the difficulty in ``getting somebody to lay $50 million on a brand-new, totally unproven product. The financial community doesn't have that kind of interest or incentives and reacts [negatively] a lot like a civil engineer when you talk about these materials.''
He gave a presentation on the four-year struggle of Ebert Composites in San Diego to develop a composite power transmission tower.
``That program went beautifully,'' he said. ``Now, it is time for somebody to invest an absolute minimum of $15 million and, to do it right, $50 million,'' Goldsworthy said.