Composites' push into infrastructure applications got a big boost last month with an Ohio project to make 100 composite bridge decks. The National Composite Center selected Hardcore Composites for a contract that draws $4 million from the state and $3 million from Ohio counties.
As projected, Ohio's bridge-deck-initiative Project 100 aims within six years to install a composite bridge at suitable sites in each of 88 counties and one in each of 12 state transportation districts. The intention is to introduce the technology as a supplement to conventional deck materials.
A composite deck weighs about 80 percent less than traditional materials, uses existing substructure, can be installed fast and has an extended life span.
NCC held planning sessions with seven different manufacturers beginning in February and issued a formal request for quotations Oct. 1, said Louis Luedtke, president and chief executive officer of NCC in Kettering, Ohio. The Miami Valley Economic Development Coalition established NCC in 1996.
Hardcore will design and build the initial decks at its existing 108,000-square-foot facility in New Castle, Del.
Hardcore is leasing space for a development center in Kettering and is working to locate a permanent Ohio site. Hardcore intends to construct a 100,000-square-foot plant and establish a manufacturing capability within the next year, eventually employing 150. The economic impact of the facility and jobs is expected to exceed $30 million.
The activity accelerates Hardcore's strategic plan to build regional production centers.
Hardcore plans to use E-glass and vinyl ester with the licensed Scrimp technology. Scrimp stands for Seemann Composite Resin Infusion Molding Process, a low-cost way to make large composite parts.
DuPont of Wilmington, Del., formed Hardcore Composites in 1989. Viag AG's SKW-MBT Construction Chemicals Group acquired the business in March and operates Hardcore Composites as a division of its Master Builders Inc. unit in Beachwood, Ohio. Hardcore currently employs about 50.
The Hardcore contract, which was announced Dec. 16, constitutes phase one of a three-part program. By the end of the third phase, Ohio will have invested $13 million to $20 million in the project, Luedtke said.