Based on the coupon testing, NexGen tweaked the phenolic resin chemistry and curing profiles. Moving from coupon testing to the room corner test was “a big leap of faith,” says Banerjee. “There’s a real need in the composites industry to come up with an intermediate test method between small coupon level testing and the full-scale room fire test.”

In 2011, NexGen’s panels passed the ISO 9075 fire test at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. “To the best of our knowledge, this is the only composite modular building that has passed the full-scale room corner fire test,” says Banerjee.

In addition to the military, the fire-resistant composite panels are well suited for other industries where users need a portable building in a fire-critical application, such as oil and gas. “The intention is to move into industrial and commercial applications to compete with standard metal panels,” says Banerjee. “Obviously, pricing is a challenge there, but we believe we can offer a better value proposition.”

NexGen’s standard panels are 8 x 20 feet and can be cut into smaller sizes, like they are for PTM shelters. The panels are typically four inches thick, but can range from two to eight inches. Aside from panels, NexGen also manufactures fire-resistant composite plates, channels and other shapes.

“I think we will move into other niches,” says Banerjee. “We continue to increase our capacity in terms of making larger panels, reducing the costs, improving product performance and getting the word out. At the same time, we look for niche market applications where we can provide tangible value.”

Save the Date: Transportation Fly In

If your company is looking for greater traction in the transportation and defense markets, join ACMA and its members on Capitol Hill, Oct. 31 – Nov. 1. The event will present opportunities to foster relationships with members of Congress representing your plant locations, as well as decision makers from federal agencies like DARPA, the Department of Energy, NASA, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. For more information, contact Brooke Wickham at bwickham@acmanet.org.