Plastics News correspondent Roger Renstrom reported the following items from the Composites '97 show, held Oct. 29 to Nov. 1 in Orlando, Fla.
Owens Corning targets new fibers for fabrics
A majority of Owens Corning Fabrics' output continues to feed the marine market, but the restructured profit center is targeting infrastructure, sport board and automotive applications for future growth.
Owens Corning is exploring the use of ``new and unique materials in terms of glass input'' for knitted, woven and high-performance fabrics and specialty products and tapes, Scott McDonald, North America product manager for the fabrics unit, said in an interview at Composites '97.
Large infrastructure parts ``need fibers engineered in certain orientations,'' McDonald said. ``Those fabrics are probably going to be the growth markets for polyester composites into the next century.''
A search continues within the consumer recreation market ``for the perfect fabric or reinforcement for these [sport] boards,'' he said.
Automotive could use stitch-bonded or woven fabrics in structural thermoplastic bumper beams or seat backs instead of other materials, McDonald suggested.
The fabrics division of Owens Corning's composites business unit expects to have 1997 sales of about $55 million, an increase of more than 10 percent from last year, McDonald said
Owens Corning is based in Toledo, Ohio.
Composite Materials acquires Indiana firm
National distributor Composite Materials Inc. acquired Pulse Inc. in Elkhart, Ind., from Fred Mohr on Oct. 31.
Mohr continues as general manager of the operation and now also heads the CMI Midwest Region, Don Hairhoger, vice president and national sales manager, said in an interview at CMI's Composites '97 booth.
About half of Pulse's employees are joining CMI. Pulse has annual sales of about $8 million.
On the product front, CMI has added two lines and is looking at other expansions in the next six months, Hairhoger said. The additions involve a line of low-styrene-emission phenolics from Georgia-Pacific Corp.'s resins division in Atlanta and the Superflex 15 polyurethane line of Burtin Corp. in Santa Ana, Calif.
Cook Composites & Polymers Co. of Kansas City, Mo., moved from a minority partner to sole owner of CMI in early September. Larry Len, formerly with Clark-Schwebel Distribution Corp., joined CMI as president and chief executive officer.
CMI has about 200 employees and is based in Santa Fe Springs, Calif.