FULCRUM Technology Continues to Enable Unprecedented Expansion in Composites Market
PARIS - March 27, 2001 - Dow Plastics† continues to revolutionize the composites industry with FULCRUM* Thermoplastics Composite Technology. Recently, the company signed a joint development agreement with Pacific Woodtech Corporation to commercialize enhanced laminated veneer lumber (LVL) products; and licensed the technology to Milgard Windows for the production of composite door and window lineals.
A thermoplastic matrix combined with a unique pultrusion process, FULCRUM Technology pushes the boundaries by offering unprecedented strength, toughness and damage tolerance to end-use applications. These key properties have enabled the technology team to open new market avenues never before possible in the composites industry.
"The response from the industry and the new opportunities have been tremendous," says Chris Edwards, business development manager for FULCRUM Thermoplastic Composite Technology. "The Technology continues to build momentum, and we are all very excited about our developments in the lumber industry and the continued licensing opportunities with companies like Milgard Windows."
Milgard Windows Licenses FULCRUM Technology
The largest manufacturer of windows in the western U.S., Milgard Windows has licensed FULCRUM Thermoplastic Composite Technology to develop high-performance thermoplastic composite window and door lineals.
"For years, manufacturers have hoped to take advantage of the process and design capabilities of thermoplastic composites for the production of window and door lineals," says Marc Gagnon, applications development manager for FULCRUM Thermoplastic Composite Technology. "Now, thanks to the outstanding strength, stiffness, toughness and damage tolerance of the FULCRUM Technology, thermoplastic composites can finally be used for these applications."
"We are impressed with the strength of the final product we can achieve using FULCRUM Technology," Jim Milgard, Sr. at Milgard Windows, says. "In addition, the toughness and corrosion resistance achieved through the use of FULCRUM Technology eliminates the structural deterioration that is common with other materials over time."
Milgard says the resulting thermoplastic material also exhibits the same level of expansion and contraction as glass, reducing unnecessary stress on installed windows and doors.
The recyclability of thermoplastic composites and the aesthetics that may be possible when using FULCRUM Technology are two additional benefits for this application.
"FULCRUM Technology offers the advantage of recycling scrap created during the manufacture, design and construction of window and door lineals," says Gagnon. "In addition, the adhesion of thermoplastic composites produced using this Technology to other thermoplastics may provide a number of very promising aesthetic coating possibilities."
Joint Development Agreement with Pacific Woodtech Corp.
Under the joint development agreement, Pacific Woodtech Corp. will combine their state-of-the-art production method with selective reinforcement using FULCRUM Technology to produce enhanced LVL for industrial applications.
"Joint developments between companies like Dow Plastics and Pacific Woodtech Corp. facilitate rapid technological advances, as well as expansion of business capabilities and product portfolios," Edwards says. "The expertise provided by Pacific Woodtech Corp. coupled with our ability to bring innovative composite solutions to the marketplace compliment the advances of the LVL industry."
"We are pleased to have reached agreement with Dow Plastics for the purpose of jointly developing LVL reinforced with new FULCRUM Thermoplastic Composite Material from Dow Plastics into products primarily designed to suit the needs of the industrial market," said Bob Shroeder, operations manager for Pacific Woodtech Corp. "We are very excited about the potential opportunities this venture provides and believe it may very well represent the next step in the future development of LVL technology."
Dow Plastics applied its extensive thermoplastics materials and processing knowledge to bring the performance and processability of thermoplastic composites to levels required for engineered lumber products, says Faye Miller, structural lumber market development manager for FULCRUM Thermoplastic Composites Technology. "Because profiles pultruded with FULCRUM Technology have extremely high mechanical properties, offer excellent toughness and damage tolerance, exhibit outstanding adhesion characteristics, and act as strong barriers to moisture, they are ideal for reinforcing lumber," explains Miller.
LVL is used in industrial applications, such as scaffold planks, and in residential building applications, such as beams and headers. Miller says that although the joint development efforts will focus on industrial applications, opportunities may also exist in residential building applications.
The Future of FULCRUM Technology
Dow Plastics is working with three other licensees that are using FULCRUM Technology for the production of continuous fiber thermoplastic composites:
- Top Glass S.p.A. (Pioltello, Milan, Italy) – A leader in the composites industry, Top Glass is using FULCRUM Technology to expand its line of standard structural and custom profiles, and systems for sporting goods, industrial and agricultural applications. The company is also working closely with Dow to enhance die technology and develop new applications in Europe.
- Polygon Co. (Walkerton, Ind., U.S.A) – Medical, automotive components, sporting goods and industrial components.
- Bemis Manufacturing Co. (Sheboygan Falls, Wis., U.S.A.) – Reinforcement of profile extrusions and moldings.
"The team for FULCRUM is continuously working with licensees and customers to open new doors," states Edwards. "This past year was key for us, and we expect 2001 to be an exceptional growth year. We have an excellent team in place to expand the technology and its uses, both in North America and in Europe. We will be sharing more exciting news about FULCRUM Technology throughout 2001 and 2002."
Dow is a leading science and technology company that provides innovative chemical, plastic and agricultural products and services to many essential consumer markets. With annual sales of $28 billion, Dow serves customers in more than 160 countries and a wide range of markets that are vital to human progress, including food, transportation, health and medicine, personal and home care, and building and construction, among others. Committed to the principles of sustainable development, Dow and its 50,000 employees seek to balance economic, environmental and social responsibilities.
Founded in 1958, Milgard Windows began as a small glass shop with five employees. Since then, Milgard has grown to be the largest window manufacturing company in the Western United States, with nearly 3,500 employees in 14 Western states. Along with sister companies, Milgard Tempering and Milgard Vinyl, Milgard Windows is a leader in the window industry selling in the United States, Canada, Mexico and the Pacific Rim. For more information about Milgard Windows, please contact Scott Ramsey at +1.800.562.8444.
Pacific Woodtech Corp. is a premier manufacturer of private label engineered wood products, manufacturing LVL and I-joists. They are a wholly owned subsidiary of Itochu Corp. of Japan. For more information about Pacific Woodtech Corp., please contact Mike St. John, general sales manager, or Tomoaki (Tom) Kato, president, at +1 (360) 707-2200.
# # #
†Dow Plastics, a business group of The Dow Chemical Company and its subsidiaries
*Trademark of The Dow Chemical Company
Fulcrum Composites Incorporated
For Editorial Information: