For the past 20 years, ACMA has given Awards for Composites Excellence (ACE) to companies that display outstanding achievement and innovation in technology, manufacturing and product development. This year, at the second annual Composites and Advanced Materials Expo (CAMX), finalists included a floating bridge, a high-performance composite motorcycle helmet, innovative nanotechnology and 3-D polymer matrix composites.

Kingetics LLC won the Most Creative Product Award for its advanced composite orthotic systems that protect users against nails and bullets. “The strength, design flexibility of the carbon fiber and the resistance of Kevlar® made composites an obvious choice,” said Paul Hewitt, owner of Rocket Composites, who assisted Dr. Steven King of Kingetics LLC with manufacturing the orthotic systems. “Our end goal is to try to get [the product] into the military so our troops can be safer and have construction workers at home use them, too.”

This year’s Materials and Process Innovation Award went to QA1 Precision Products for its nanosilica infused resin for use in automotive drive shafts. According to the company, the resin has improved tensile modulus, fracture toughness and moisture absorption. These enhancements allow for redesign of composite structures, eliminating weight while improving strength and stiffness.

e-Xstream engineering won the Equipment and Innovation Award for its Digimat-VA simulation software, which the company says allows engineers to generate hundreds of coupon simulations and obtain virtual allowables at a fraction of the usual cost and time.

In the market growth category, the Infinite Possibility Award for Market Growth was given to long-time ACMA member Strongwell for installation of its pultruded fiberglass DURAGRID HD-4000 2.5” grating panels as a trench cover at the Utah State University Electric Vehicle and Roadway research facility. The project displayed the benefits of FRP – including light weight, high strength, nonconductivity and no electromagnetic interference.  “As you look at the future of automotive technology, the recognition of an award like this tells us that we’re on the right track and looking to the future,” said Barry Myers, marketing manager at Strongwell.