CGIs Are Breaking New Ground

Composites manufacturers and suppliers often attend end user conferences. They may even exhibit or participate on panels about materials. But never before have a group of more than three dozen industry leaders banded together to exhibit en masse and wow show-goers with everything composites have to offer. That will happen for the first time ever at the 2014 American Institute of Architects (AIA) Convention June 26-28 in Chicago thanks in part to ACMA’s Architectural Division. The AIA Convention will draw more than 20,000 attendees in the architecture industry.

The Architectural Division, one of 12 ACMA Composites Growth Initiative (CGI) committees, has organized a 4,500-square-foot Composites Pavilion at the AIA show. The pavilion will showcase innovations that composite products can bring to the architectural world and feature booths from more than 35 ACMA member companies. A large hanging composite sculpture, created specifically for the convention, will draw attention to the pavilion.

The CGI committees, which strive to promote the use and understanding of composites, are in the middle of yet another extremely active year filled with projects and activities. From outreach to education and the development of standards, the CGI committees are working hard to grow the composites market. Here is an update from a few of the committees:

The Composites Pavilion at the AIA show may be the big news for The Architectural Division, but it’s busy with other projects, too. It plans to complete its “Guidelines and Recommended Practices for Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic Architectural Products” this year.

The Pultrusion Industry Council met in December at CCP Composites in Kansas City, Mo., to discuss ongoing projects, such as work on the ASCE Load Resistance Factor and Design Standard (LRFD). The LRFD, currently undergoing balloting and nearing completion, should greatly increase the utility of pultruded FRP products.

The Utility and Communication Structures Council (UCSC) conducted a series of meetings last fall with key entities – including the American Public Power Association (APPA), the House Energy and Power Subcommittee, and the Department of Energy – to explore establishing partnerships and collaborating on several projects. The UCSC hopes to develop a series of educational webinars with APPA on the benefits of composite utility poles. The council also will partner with the Department of Energy’s Deputy Assistant Secretary for Infrastructure Security and Energy Restoration to develop a multi-material study to determine the robustness, cost/benefit and life cycle cost analyses of several utility pole options.