A communications tower using vinyl ester resins made by Ashland Global Holdings is in place at a U.S. Air Force base in New England — and the project has won an award from the Small Business Administration as well.
Composite Support & Solutions Inc. of San Pedro, Calif., won the SBA's Tibbetts Award for the 118-foot tower, which has been installed at Hanscom Air Force Base in Bedford, Mass. CSSI founder and president Clement Hiel received the award at the White House on Jan. 10.
The prototype tower created by CSSI was made completely of composite materials, officials with Dublin, Ohio-based Ashland said in a recent news release. It uses fastener-less joining technology where individual components — such as the lattice cross members — snap together during the assembly process without the need for metallic bolts. CSSI selected Derakane because of its mechanical properties and its outstanding corrosion resistance, Ashland officials added.
“There's great interest these days in lightweight, easy-to-assemble, easy-to-disassemble materials,” Ashland executive Joe Fox said in the release. “This award-winning technology should spur widespread interest in the automotive, aerospace and building and construction industries.”
The CSSI tower is being touted as the first of a new generation of tall composite towers that are free from corrosion, reducing long-term maintenance costs, while offering shortened construction times.
The Tibbetts Award honors companies that participate in and receive funding from the SBA's Innovation Research (SBIR) and Technology Transfer (STTR) programs and that have created a significant economic or social impact through the use of that funding. Winners are considered the best from thousands of firms that currently participate.