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Eko-Flor ms1, an interlocking, lightweight, composite panel system is being used in special application shipping containers purchased by the United States military for rapid deployment.
The product was developed by Conforce International, Inc. using Baydur PUL 2500, a two-component polyurethane system from BaySystems, the umbrella brand for the global polyurethane systems operations of Bayer MaterialScience. Using the polyurethane system along with the polyurethane pultrusion process makes it possible for Conforce International to manufacture a product that has a number of advantages over panels made from materials traditionally used in this application, such as wood, steel, aluminium or FRP composites.
Attendees at the recent American Composites Manufacturers Association’s Composites+Polycon 2009 conference had the opportunity to view the Eko-Flor ms1 at Bayer MaterialScience’s booth.
The interlocking panels, designed by Conforce for military supply shelving, measure 24 inches wide and are cut to length as required. They are a nominal 1.25 inches deep. In this application, the polyurethane pultrusion process and the polyurethane material helped Conforce International achieve uniformity and integrity of the wall sections, which in turn enabled the company to achieve greater flexibility of design and to streamline the manufacturing process.
“We chose polyurethanes from Bayer MaterialScience and BaySystems because of the overall mechanical properties and perceived performance improvements – including a highly desirable strength-to-weight ratio, overall weight reduction and the ability to work in tandem with our specific reinforcements,” said Marino Kulas, president and CEO of Conforce International, Inc., adding that with the Eko-Flor ms1, Conforce International is carving out a new market for the company’s high-performance and environmentally responsible line of composite products.
In addition to offering improved strength and durability compared with panels made of traditional materials, the Eko-Flor ms1 offers another major advantage: it is not subject to weather-related degradation or corrosion, resulting in an extended product life.
Kulas added, “Bayer’s support services, including structural design analysis, material property assessment and optimization, tooling design and process start-up allowed us to enhance our product in order to combine high performance with environmental responsibility. With Bayer’s support, we were able to exceed our performance expectations.”
“We were pleased to leverage our technical expertise and materials for this project, which has resulted in the availability of a superior and more environmentally friendly product for the shipping container market,” said Craig Snyder, market channel representative, Bayer MaterialScience LLC.
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