Look at the car industry for example, they offer color selections and three different lines of the same vehicle with different options like 4-wheel drive or front-wheel drive. They offer customization. Our manufacturers need to tailor products to the end user, and this goes to any manufacture, but specifically composites. Composites can play a key role in a new U.S. manufacturing mentality. To me, customization and the ability to be adaptive is the cornerstone of a good business. You need to think about making what the customer needs. Many companies say that, but it’s a matter of actually being able to do it. There’s a certain element of specialty that can go a long way in terms of price.
What do you see as future applications for your product?
Right now most of our selling market is for interior use. Moving forward we’re going to start experimenting with exterior products. The products we have today have evolved so much that exterior is a compelling new step. Our products don’t rot or have to be repainted and we’re starting to see more applications there. We have architects saying they need another tool in the toolbox and they’re starting to see resins as a more reliable and usable product base.
As a mainly thermoplastic company, we relate the success of resins from other markets to prove performance. We even use composite success stories to push our own products. For example, when we sell our exterior products we use the success of composites in the car market as an example of growing material integration. In the 1970’s we didn’t see any plastics or composites on cars. Now some cars are almost entirely made from plastics. Look at the world around us, Boeing just came out with an almost entirely composite structure, the 787 Dreamliner. We can make a billion dollar aircraft out of materials that are no longer aluminum. Customers need to understand that there is a huge amount of technology available to them and sometimes it helps to have one industry to foster the development of another industry like plastics and composites.