“There are tremendous opportunities for our industry, paving the way for composites to be one of the most important technologies of the next decade,” said Cindy L. Squires, Esq., president and CEO of ACMA, during the General Session at CAMX 2022. “Composite material engineers are leading the way with innovative designs and processes.” 

Many of those innovations were on display among the nearly 40 finalists for the CAMX Awards and ACE Awards. A total of eight awards were presented to organizations for their contributions to technologies, processes and applications that will help the composites industry thrive. 

The CAMX Awards are divided into two categories: The Combined Strength Award acknowledges a product that incorporates composite materials that solve a problem through teamwork and collaboration, and the Unsurpassed Innovation Award celebrates a product with a design that incorporates low-cost materials for high-volume applications that can change the outlook of a market segment. This year’s winners are: 

Combined Strength Award – Additive Manufacturing-Compression Molding (AM-CM)  

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) developed a new large-scale manufacturing process that combines the high-fiber alignment possible in 3D-printed parts with traditional compression molding to improve bead-to-bead interfaces and remove porosity. 

“It’s a very unique process where we are trying to get the best of two worlds – additive manufacturing and compression molding,” said Vipin Kumar, a staff researcher at ORNL. “All of the microstructure control [offered by AM-CM] translates into more than 15% to 20% better mechanical properties.” 

Unsurpassed Innovation Award – Fire Retardant FRP Utility Poles 

Creative Composites Group’s FireStrong utility pole system combines an outer fire-retardant composite sleeve with an inner StormStrong® utility pole as a primary structure. For more information on the development, testing and installation of the utility pole system, read this article in Composites Manufacturing magazine.  

Dustin Troutman, director of marketing and product development at Creative Composites Group, envisions applications for the technology beyond the utility market. “I think the logical thing is for us to take this patented technology and expand it into applications where fire performance is critical – bridges, grid structures or anywhere where fire would be a concern,” he said in the magazine article.  

The Awards for Composites Excellence (ACE), sponsored by Composites One, recognize outstanding achievement and innovation in design, manufacturing and market growth. Here are the 2022 ACE winners:  

Design: Innovation in Green Composites DesignFiberglass-Graphene-Polypropylene 3D Printing Filament Made from Decommissioned Wind Turbine Blades; Windfall, Inc.