Thermoset compounder and molder Mar-Bal Inc. is finding success with new materials and molded products.
In the last year, Mar-Bal's AltraSet materials unit has developed three new materials that have expanded the company's reach, President and CEO Scott Balogh said in a recent interview.
One of the new materials is a sheet molding compound (SMC) that offers high strength and elongation in structural parts, industrial batteries, sports equipment, auto parts, military devices and other uses.
Officials with Chagrin Falls, Ohio-based Mar-Bal said that customers asked for a composite that would withstand a tough environment with explosion potential. Working with materials firm Ineos, Mar-Bal was able to formulate a 50 percent glass hybrid SMC that molds well for use in molding large parts.
The other new compounds include a UV/weather-resistant material with low flame and smoke properties for detectible warning systems, transit decks, HVAC systems and other uses, as well as a high-temperature material for medium- and high-voltage equipment and auto, transit and military uses.
Mar-Bal's technical team worked for three years on the high-resistant material, finally creating a formula that uses innovative materials while providing "amazing thermal performance," officials said. The material can be used for both injection molding and compression molding of complex parts for high-temperature environments.
In new molded products, Mar-Bal recently added wrench-faced insulators for low and medium voltage. Officials said the parts maintain current electrical properties with a slimmer design for space-constrained applications. The new insulators are available in seven different sizes ranging from 15-60 millimeters.
Also new are NEMA insulators for medium and high voltage that are designed to replace porcelain and epoxy in many applications. Mar-Bal plans to have all sizes of the NEMA line available for immediate shipment, alleviating what officials described as current lead time challenges both porcelain and epoxy insulators.
Last year, Mar-Bal increased production capacity at its plant in Dublin, Va., by installing two new injection presses: a 500-ton and a 1,000-ton model. The firm also added a warehouse in California and expanded its warehouse in Dublin in 2019.
Balogh said that the integration of AlertTile and Detectable Warning Systems — two businesses that Mar-Bal acquired in late 2018 — is going well. Products made by those businesses also are being made at the Dublin plant.