LONG BEACH, CALIF. — Composite Materials LLC of Mamaroneck, N.Y., is operating under new management and working through business and technical issues involving electronic applications for conductive-fiber composite materials. The firm's board named Boston-area consultant Ernest R. Fenton as chairman and chief executive officer in mid-February. Fenton has experience in running venture-capital-funded companies, particularly in the materials science field.
Fenton succeeded Louis G. Morin Jr., who formed the business in early 1996 and was terminated by the board.
"My focus will be on high-value-added applications of the company's metal-coated fiber technology, both through sale of newly developed, patented products and cooperative efforts with partners," Fenton said in a statement. "Our initial efforts will be in wire and cable, shielding and radar reflection."
Composite Materials has struggled to develop a viable market for use of coated carbon fiber as a shielding material for electronic applications, particularly in mobile telephones and personal computers.
In 1998, the firm began working on a private funding placement that remains on hold for now.
Composite Materials may supply coated conductive materials for use in a new Owens Corning product line called OC Shielding Solutions.
"We have a friendly relationship with Composite Materials," Ravi Bhalli, market segment leader for electronics, said by telephone from Owens Corning's headquarters in Toledo, Ohio.
The potential supplier relationship evolved from a joint marketing agreement that existed from 1998 through mid-1999. That agreement called for the two firms to jointly develop markets for the coated materials that Composite Materials manufactures.
Electro Metalloid Corp. developed the process to coat nickel, gold or platinum onto carbon fiber in the late 1970s. Initial defense applications included lightning-strike protection and radar-absorbing, outer-ply materials for B-2 bombers.
American Cyanamid Co. owned the technology from 1983-93, and Cytec Industries Inc. held the portfolio until selling it to Composite Materials in 1996. The firm exhibited current offerings at its SAMPE booth, held May 21-25 in Long Beach.