The complex project couldn’t have come to fruition without teamwork. “The working relationship with Advantic was very professional and collaborative,” says Stephen Foley, senior civil and structural engineering advisor with Newmont. “The concept we were advancing had never been undertaken, to our knowledge, so we were reservedly optimistic about the potential outcomes. As such, we required close oversight as the concept progressed.” Foley and others provided input on the engineering drawings, structural models, Australian standards and codes and more.

“Without their perspective, could we have arrived at a solution? Sure,” says Doudican. “But would we have had as much success without dual integration of activity? No way!” The relationship fostered on this project has led to other business with Newmont and KCGM. “Advantic’s ability to think outside the box when it comes to problem solving is a key motivator in our continued business,” says Foley. “They demonstrated commitment to understanding the true nature of problems.”

There’s no set formula for partnering with engineers, designers, architects and other stakeholders in composite applications. It varies from project to project, says Kreysler. His firm typically comes up with a fundamental design, then calls on engineering associate Kurt Jordan to perform finite element analysis on complicated shapes to verify that the sizes and connections are correct. Then an engineering firm such as Martin/Martin comes in to define the load and thermal conditions and stamp the relevant documentation.

Some composites professionals may be uneasy working so closely with others because they’re reluctant to share proprietary information or afraid someone will steal their business. Get over it, says Kreysler. “You don’t see the brain surgeon looking over the shoulder of the anesthesiologist thinking to himself, ‘Well, next time I’ll just do that myself,’” he says. “If you’re worried about your secret stuff, then you’re going to suffer the consequences of missed business opportunities.”

Other people may be hesitant to admit knowledge gaps. “You’re paid by customers to have answers, and when you don’t immediately that can be a challenge,” admits Doudican. “We try to spin that and say, ‘You’ve got problems, and we’ve got a toolkit. Together, we’re going to arrive at a solution.’”

Mar-Bal and Whirlpool

Mar-Bal Inc. teams with customer Whirlpool on Six Sigma quality initiatives. Shown here, from left, are John Montanaro and Dave Phillips from Mar-Bal, Vic Vukorpa from Whirlpool and Keith Greive from OEM/Miller, a fabricator of corrugated plastic and rubber tubing.