In his role at ACMA (American Composites Manufacturers Association), John Busel interfaces with government, academia, and industry to promote composites and lead industry programs in market expansion and development of new market opportunities. He participates in numerous standards development committees and end-user industry events. He was previously the Executive Director of the Market Development Alliance of the FRP Composites Industry and manager of market development for the Society of the Plastics Industry. He also held positions in engineering and manufacturing for Boeing-Wichita, Martin Marietta Aerospace and Brunswick Composites.

John Busel—Director of the Composites Growth Initiative at ACMA

John Busel—Director of the Composites Growth Initiative at ACMA

What characteristics do innovative composites manufacturers share?

Those who are successful generally have a diversified portfolio of products that are already manufactured and sold in respective markets. For those who just make one product, the challenge is greater. The challenge is even greater when the materials or the products are considered to be an emerging technology as these companies will have a more difficult road to travel to get their product to market. Established companies with financial stability generally have more time, resources and technology to leverage new applications.

Those who are successful also have good sound technical expertise about materials and manufacturing processes and have a good management sense. They also have a keen sense of marketing development. Just because you came up with a widget doesn’t mean somebody’s going to buy it.

How important are codes and standards to composites’ market growth?

Very important. Engineers and specifiers today need to have confidence with products and materials that are used for the built environment. Standards ensure that products used for a particular application meet minimum performance requirements, which are then used in codes. Not meeting performance requirements can lead to litigation.

What are some of the codes and standards initiatives you’re working on?

Some of the codes and standards I’m working on will affect FRP composites used in concrete and masonry structures, electrical utility poles, transportation infrastructure and building construction.

The best example is a recently completed project the ACMA has with the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) to develop a prestandard for pultruded structural components. After three years, with a team of experts and collaboration with ACMA’s Pultrusion Industry Council, a document will soon be available titled PreStandard for Load and Resistance Factor Design (LRFD) of Pultruded Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) Structures.

What is the expected outcome of the LRFD project?