A father's invention of nickel-coated graphite forms the basis for a business his entrepreneurial son and an investment banking firm have acquired from Cytec Industries Inc. ``We formed Composite Materials LLC to buy the Cycom metal-coated fiber division,'' Louis G. Morin Jr., 43, chairman and manager, said in a telephone interview from the company's facility in Mamaroneck, N.Y.
His father, inventor Louis G. Morin Sr., 74, developed the process to coat nickel, gold or platinum onto carbon fiber as a shielding material for powerful computer circuit boards, military electromagnetic and radio-frequency systems and aircraft facing lightning strikes. About 1,000 pounds of material are used on each B-2 bomber.
In 1983, he sold 18 patents and the business, known as Electro Metalloid Corp., to American Cyanamid Co., which housed the operation initially in a research facility in Stamford, Conn., and then in a production site in Wallingford, Conn.
Annual sales exceeded $10 million in the late 1980s, but fell to about $3 million in 1993 with the defense industry downturn.
American Cyanamid included the product line in the December 1993 spinoff of its plastics additive, industrial chemical, coating and composites businesses to Cytec Industries.
In turn, Cytec, based in West Paterson, N.J., decided in early 1995 to divest. The company concluded the applications were ``not going to be a mainstream in the aerospace business'' and were not compatible with its other businesses, said John Rogers, Cytec business manager.
Both Morins evaluated the line. Trautman Kramer Inc. of New York provided financing and continues as an adviser.
Lou Morin Jr. completed the acquisition Jan. 19 and now has crews assembling equipment and beginning production in an 18,000-square-foot facility. Busi-ness prospects call for a headcount of 30 now and 150 by October.
``The heart of the business will remain chopped metal-coated fiber for shielding for the plastic injection molding industry,'' Morin said.
``When added to resins, it creates a `conductive plastic' no longer requiring copper, nickel or arc spraying, eliminating several steps and costs.''
The senior Morin serves as an on-site consultant, bringing his enthusiasm for invention and the technology to a development he launched originally in 1979.
Composite Materials LLC has no relationship with material distributor Composite Materials Inc. of Santa Fe Springs, Calif.