A: I see it positively. First, the journey of selling composites to the material industry takes some steps, resources and support. So someone else succeeding – even though it’s a competitor material – can only help us achieve more. This is what I call having a stronger value chain. At the end of the day, the final product is made of composites, and we are all part of the composites industry. Second, as a glass fiber manufacturer, I see our main opportunity in the white space between existing glass reinforcements and high-performance reinforcements. So for us it’s important to understand the new reinforcements and see how we can combine together, either via hybrid materials or via understanding the strengths of one side that can be brought to the other side and vice versa. Even if we’re a little jealous of the hype, we have to take advantage of the opportunity in front of us.
Q: What are some of the more innovative applications using GFRP that you’ve seen recently?
A: We’ve worked on some innovative parts in the electrical/electronics market with smart phone and computer manufacturers who are making very specific parts that improve the overall mechanical performance of their products. We’ve also been partnering with the automotive industry to develop low-density SMC material which allows them to penetrate applications they could not before.
Q: What new products is Owens-Corning introducing at CAMX?
A: We are launching a new pultrusion material called PulStrand™ 4100. As the pultrusion market grows, you have to rely on materials that allow you to run pultrusion machines at higher speeds with better performance. Our new material delivers both. PulStrand 4100 also allows you to work with higher fiber volumes, which has two consequences. You can reduce costs and increase mechanical properties.
Q: Why is CAMX a must-attend event for you?
A: First and foremost is our commitment to the industry. Second is because we want to make the composites value chain stronger. Being at this kind of event where everyone gets together and has a chance to discuss some of the opportunities as well as the challenges is beneficial to the future of composites and, by consequence, the future of Owens Corning.