SBIR-STTR-Success: Structural Composites, Inc
At the 2017 Transportation Technology Exhibition in Nashville, TN, all eyes were on Wabash National, which just unveiled a new refrigerated semi-trailer that incorporates a patented hybrid composite-metal technology. The coating used is Co-Cure Strain Tunable Resin, a mixture of polyester and polyurethane, and was developed by Structural Composites with the help of the Navy SBIR program. For Wabash, the Molded Structural Composite Cold Chain Series refrigerated van offers 25% better thermal efficiency than traditional reefers, yet is 20% lighter than existing traditional vans.
For the U.S. Navy, Structural Composites will be using Co-Cure on a fleet of advanced combatant craft. The coating offers the potential for increased performance and reduced life cycle cost that doesn’t just stop at the government. Recreational boat builder HydraSports Custom is using the technology to enhance the performance capabilities of the lightweight HydraSports Custom 53 Sueños. Since half of all warranty claims on commercial boats are gel coat related, Co-Cure promises the same protection with a longer life span and less required maintenance.
The limiting factor in composites transitioning to transportation industries has always been cost, and the inability to compete with materials like aluminum. By leveraging SBIR funding, along with Navy Rapid Innovation Funding and matching Florida state grants, Structural Composites invented this break-through coating and structural resin technology. The low cost of Co-Cure allows it to be a viable coating option for major components of modern trucks and boats.