If you are a boat-builder or a company that does business in the marine industry, IBEX was the place to be last fall. The International Boatbuilders Exhibition and Conference (IBEX) was held in Louisville, Ken., Oct. 2-4. More than 4,700 attendees from 31 countries and 46 states were treated to glimpses of new products and processes. They also had access to some of the industry’s top educational programming and networking opportunities.

The composites industry has always been a cornerstone of IBEX, where a dedicated pavilion is front and center on the exhibition floor. The Composite Pavilion is the largest one at IBEX and hosts exhibits from more than 100 leading marine composite companies. IBEX attendees consulted directly with technical and engineering teams who were there to listen and advise on new cost-saving methods, materials and applications. Live demonstrations of light resin transfer molding (RTM), spray equipment and vacuum infusion bags for closed molding of multiple parts were featured in the Composites Pavilion and outside at the main entrance to the show.

Many new and innovative products were on display at IBEX. A few highlights stand out, including the following from composites-related exhibitors:

Baltek/3A Composites featured several products, including the new AIREX® T92 SealX product group. The technology used in this product line constitutes a breakthrough innovation in sandwich core by reducing the resin uptake a stunning 50 percent for resin infusion processing, according to the company. This translates into a substantial reduction in part weight and resin cost. It also is classified as a green product, offering advantages for marine manufacturers with environmental concerns. In addition, the mechanical properties of AIREX T92 SealX are unaffected, the skin-to-core adhesion is unchanged by the SealX technology and there is no change in fatigue strength.

CCP Composites featured ArmorFlex® 99F Series gel coats. This product line uses advanced polymer technologies formulated for use in marine, transportation and other gel coat markets where durable cosmetic finishes are required. 99F is a flexible NPG ISO gel coat with low HAP for all industries and conventional application properties. Designed with higher elongation for enhanced fracture resistance, it is also UV resistant for reduced chalking and yellowing in outdoor applications. 99F is resistant to water and osmotic blistering and offers excellent spray-ability and leveling with a low backside tack.

3M Marine displayed products and systems designed to improve productivity, worker and workplace safety, and quality. One chief area of focus was their full line of construction and repair materials and products. Products include coatings and finishes, materials/composite reinforcement, materials/resins and additives, and supplies for general construction and repair.