One of the building department’s concerns was how the kiosk would anchor to the concrete. Hanlon helped redesign the anchor so it would meet approval. “If you’re bolting a kiosk down to a sidewalk, maybe the sidewalk is strong enough to do the job and maybe it isn’t,” says Kreysler. “I defy you to find me a composite engineer who would know the answer to that question.” Partnering with Hanlon, as well as another civil engineer who performs finite element analysis, helps ensure that anything Kreysler builds from composites interfaces with the rest of the building or foundation.

Composites also are affected by the environment, which presents another reason for aligning with other experts. Last year, Advantic LLC in Dayton, Ohio, worked in tandem with Newmont Mining Company and Kalgoorlie Consolidated Gold Mines (KCGM) to develop a composite repair and structural strengthening system for coarse ore stockpile covers at the KCGM Fimiston Operations in Australia. One of the main challenges was constructing a solution for use in another country. “I’ve never built something in Australia,” says Brad Doudican, president of Advantic. “I don’t know the cultural norms of construction and what materials and tools I’ll have available. It’s in the middle of the outback. It’s not like you can go to Home Depot.”

A structural advisor from Newmont and a structural engineer from KCGM worked alongside Doudican, also an engineer, for several months to create what he now calls the Advantic Structural Composite (ASC) Jacket. It’s comprised of a thin exterior stainless steel skin and interior structural cast polymer core machined to the engineered thickness requirement and surface profile of the structural member to which it will be bonded. “We had to consider the best materials to overcome the challenges of doing a controlled surface profile in the middle of the desert on a windy day,” says Doudican. “It was not a trivial activity to get a feasible solution.”

How Companies Collaborate

Doudican first met representatives of Newmont Mining at Structures Congress 2014, a conference and trade show for structural engineers hosted by the American Society of Civil Engineers. The $7.2 billion mining company was seeking solutions for a remediation project in Australia. Advantic was demonstrating the unique properties of composite materials on the show floor. The relationship between the two companies began with a chance conversation in a trade show booth.

“It was your classic ‘back-of-a-napkin’ story: Draw a few sketches, show us your problem and then let’s talk about it,” recalls Doudican. “But that’s the critical piece. Customers have the best information as to what their problem is – or what they perceive it to be – and it’s our job to figure out how to solve it.”

Immediately following the conference, Doudican began weekly conference calls with Newmont Mining and its subsidiary KCGM to devise a solution to repair and strengthen dilapidated coarse ore stockpile covers at the processing plant for the Fimiston open pit, widely known as the “Super Pit” because it’s the largest open pit gold mine in Australia. The structural covers, which are nearly 260 feet in diameter and 104 feet tall at their highest point, support a large conveyor belt. Doudican demonstrated the feasibility of its solution and provided a roadmap for the project.

In May 2014, Advantic landed a contract for preliminary design, which included a review of the design by a third-party structural engineering firm. A month later, Newmont and KCGM selected Advantic’s composite solution from more than a dozen other proposals. In July, Doudican traveled to Australia for an on-site constructability review with KCGM’s management team, engineers and contractors. The ASC Jackets were fabricated in Advantic’s Ohio facility throughout the fall, then delivered and installed at the mine between December 2014 and February 2015.