Industrial chemical maker DynaChem Inc. in Georgetown, Ill., is nearing production of a bio-based material for thermoset resin developer Cara Plastics Inc. of Newark, Del.
Patent-holder Cara and DynaChem, located in the heartland for its soybeans, signed a manufacturing agreement in August.
Cara targets the closed-mold market for high-performance parts and large structures, including hurricane-resistant roofs that the firm designed.
``We are into the fourth iteration of tweaking the resin for customer No. 1,'' said Richard Wool, Cara president and chief executive officer. He would not identify the customer.
As volume production occurs, the batch manufacturer of organic chemicals ``could double its size in a three- to five-year period,'' said Keith Rife, DynaChem president and CEO.
Triglyceride-based CB4-30 from soy oil, Cara's initial product, is suitable for resin transfer molding, vacuum-assisted RTM and compounds for sheet molding and bulk molding. The material is compatible with traditional glass and carbon fibers as reinforcements and also works with cellulose, jute, kenaf, straw, flax, hemp or chicken feathers.
``We are doing laboratory scale-up and shipping samples for customers to try,'' Rife said.
Still in development stages in Delaware are Cara's substitute for polyesters and vinyl esters, a resin for pressure-sensitive adhesives and another material for rigid and soft foam applications. Each has had laboratory-scale tests.
Wool, a professor of chemical engineering at the University of Delaware in Newark, incorporated Cara in 1997. Michael Fisher is Cara's operations director, and Stuart Grant, a Wilmington, Del., lawyer, is Cara's secretary, treasurer and legal counsel.
Cara has benefited from a 2001-05 Department of Energy grant, a 2004 Department of Agriculture Small Business Innovation Research Program and a 1998 Soybean Board grant.
DynaChem employs 55, occupies several buildings on 29 acres and had sales of $20.5 million for the fiscal year ended Feb. 28.