Less than a week before Expoplast 2005, structural plastics producer René Composite Materials Ltd. suffered a fire at its head office and plant in Saint-Ãphrem-de-Beauce, Quebec.
That didn't stop the private company from exhibiting at the show, held Oct. 25-26 in Montreal. At the firm's booth, field technical representative Andre Archambault discussed several technologies the firm uses to make large parts for trucks and specialty vehicles. Prominent in the exhibit was a Volvo grader rear-cowling hood molded from unreinforced Metton dicyclopentadiene resin. René Composite is one of a handful of North American firms that molds the lightweight thermoset.
The fire forced the firm to move Saint-Ãphrem's production to rented facilities nearby, since its other plants and its development center could not accommodate the overflow.
About 35 percent of the Saint-Ãphrem facility was destroyed. The company is considering options, but low water pressure might make rebuilding at the site risky.
A local newspaper report said the early-morning fire caused no injuries. The blaze began in an area used to produce glass-fiber-reinforced plastics. Town residents were advised to remain indoors temporarily as a precaution, according to a report in the Courier Frontenac, published in Thetford Mines, Quebec.
Archambault said Metton DCPD is one of several materials his firm uses. Metton replaced fiberglass-reinforced plastic for the Volvo rear-cowling hood because of productivity. René Composite makes the large part in a low-pressure, polished aluminum mold in about 60 seconds. René Composite also uses structural reaction injection molding and processes sheet molding compound and FRP. Within its technologies one undisclosed customer is going to RIM urethane because it resists sunlight better than FRP, Archambault said. René Composite also manufactures at sites in Sainte-Clotilde-de-Beauce, Quebec; Pearisburg, Va.; and Statesville, N.C. It runs a development facility in Saint-Ãphrem.