Pultruders to Gather in the Windy City

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As a member of the North American Pultrusion Conference’s planning committee, Rick Pauer, of Polynt Composites in Carpentersville, Ill., spoke with ACMA about the upcoming conference, which will be held April 8 – 10 at the Hyatt Rosemont in Rosemont, Ill.

Pauer, who is an applications specialist with Polynt and treasurer of ACMA’s Pultrusion Industry Council (PIC), helped plan the inaugural North American Pultrusion Conference in 2017, which exceeded expectations. Organizers had to cut off registration at 150 attendees – twice the committee’s original goal. Building on that success, Pauer and his peers are looking forward to the 2019 North American Pultrusion Conference.

Q: What are you most excited about for the 2019 North American Pultrusion Conference?

Pauer: We have been able to develop a better, more focused program that falls into six topical categories: design and simulation, research, manufacturing, standards development, testing and tooling. In 2017, our keynote speaker, Jeff Martin of Martin Pultrusion Group Inc., focused on where the pultrusion industry originated and who some of our key industry leaders were throughout our history. This year, our keynote address will focus on our industry from a customer’s application perspective.

Q: What new processes or products do you expect to see at this year’s event?

Pauer: I am very excited to hear Steve Gonzalez of Kone Elevator describe his company’s pultruded Ultra Rope® materials that take advantage of several key benefits of carbon fiber over steel cables – significantly lighter weight, higher strength and much improved fatigue properties (steel stretches).

There also will be lots of interesting presentations on a variety of topics, such as a new, hardened nano-coating from Phygen Coatings Inc. that might replace chromed tooling and curved pultrusion for automotive applications from Shape Corp.

Q: With the participation of the European Pultrusion Technology Association (EPTA), what perspectives can attendees expect to gain?

Pauer: In 2017, we had an outstanding presentation from Dr. Klaus Jansen (Thomas GmbH + Co. Technik + Innovation KG) that introduced North American pultruders to his company’s unique process for making curved pultruded profiles. This year, we will have two presentations from EPTA members. One will address efforts at getting composite materials approved by the Eurocode (CEN TC250), and the other will be from the Fraunhofer Research Institution for Casting, Composite and Processing Technologies on European pultrusion industry trends and research. To grow the pultrusion industry in North America, it’s important that we understand what’s happening in the field throughout the world.

Q: What are some of the challenges with the pultrusion process that need to be addressed?

Pauer: I’d say our biggest challenge is the code approvals that the PIC is attempting to support with our Load Factored Resistance Design efforts. We will have updated information available to the PIC at our meeting in April in conjunction with the Pultrusion Conference.

Another area that needs attention is education of the engineering and architectural communities. We have begun providing education at venues such as the International Bridge Conference, where ACMA has participated for the last 18 years; the American Institute of Architects Conference, where we have participated for the last 4 years; and with the American Concrete Institute’s 440 Committee on FRP Reinforcements, which has done much of the heavy lifting for reinforcing concrete over the last 25-plus years.

Getting our members – especially our pultruders – in front of state and federal legislators can also be very helpful as some of our politicians are finally beginning to understand that low bid is not necessarily the best bid! Pultruded products generally cost more than traditional materials but offer many long-lasting benefits in corrosion, weight, parts consolidation and strength.

Q: What do you hope professionals will gain from attending the conference?

Pauer: There are two huge benefits. First and foremost is education on what is happening in the pultrusion industry. The second benefit is the opportunity to network with others who have similar interests in the FRP composites area, especially in the pultrusion process. This industry is expanding so rapidly that it really is necessary to continue education and networking on a regular basis.

For more information and to register for the North American Pultrusion Conference, visit http://bit.ly/2019pultrusionconference.