Trade Shows Provide Opportunities for ACMA Members to Reach New Markets

One of the many ways ACMA helps its members make an impact on markets is by leading the composites industry’s …

One of the many ways ACMA helps its members make an impact on markets is by leading the composites industry’s presence at industry trade shows. Events like the International Bridge Conference, the American Institute of Architects’ annual show and NACE International’s CORROSION have become annual destinations for engineering and design professionals looking to learn more about innovative materials and new products.

During the 2017 International Bridge Conference in National Harbor, Md., ACMA held its 17th consecutive technical workshop at the International Bridge Conference. Through a series of presentations, the workshop showcased advancements in the design and specification of FRP products to build steel-free concrete structures, as well as retrofit and rehabilitate aging bridges.

As engineers at the conference learned, composites offer light weight, corrosion resistance and design flexibility. In retrofit and rehabilitation situations, composites extend the service life of a bridge, are faster to install and require minimal disruption to the structure. Over the past 20 years, these properties have convinced engineers all across North America to build more than 500 bridges with composites.

ACMA’s annual presence at AIA is a newer outreach effort, but the industry’s message is just as strong. For four years, ACMA’s AIA Composites Pavilion has given an opportunity for architects, engineers and designers to learn about the value of FRP products in architectural applications from ACMA and many members of its Architectural Division. AIA is also a great opportunity for the composites industry to influence the next generation of architects through the annual COMPOSITES CHALLENGE.

The challenge asks architectural students to work in teams to develop a unique composite architectural/building component or assembly. Contest judges were looking for the students’ designs to push the limits of architecture beyond the traditional cladding and secondary components currently identified within the International Building Code. Each year, the students set the bar higher.

“It was very exciting to see how curious the architecture students were about composites,” said Robert Steffen, Ph.D P.E., an associate professor at Western Carolina University’s Construction Management Department and member of ACMA’s Architectural Division. “I think this challenge will get more and more young architects interested in FRP.”

ACMA is also becoming more active at NACE International’s annual CORROSION conference – the premier event dedicated to corrosion resistance technologies. In 2017, ACMA and many members from CGI’s Corrosion Control Division (CCD) took part in the event’s first ever Composites Pavilion. According to, the annual cost of corrosion worldwide is $2.2 trillion, which is more than three percent of the world’s GDP.

“This pavilion is a great opportunity for our members and the entire composites industry to educate potential end users about how well composites resist corrosion, particularly in pipe and tank applications,” said Steve Guay, General Manager, Ershigs, Inc., and Chair of ACMA’s Corrosion Control Division.

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