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October 2008
Engineered fiberglass cladding replaces metal for retail architectural applications

 When FormaShape's (Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada) engineering manager Henry Czenczek approached Husky Energy, one of Canada's largest energy companies, his demonstration of the way fiberglass composites could dramatically improve the look, weatherability and vandal-resistance of the ribbed tin architectural cladding on Husky's Travel Centre retail outlets was enough to persuade Husky execs to overhaul the entire network. For the Husky project, FormaShape applied NEi Nastran finite element analysis software, Solidworks 3D, supplied by Noran Engineering Inc. (Westminster, Calif.

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Posted on: 10/6/2008
Source: Composites Technology

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 When FormaShape's (Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada) engineering manager Henry Czenczek approached Husky Energy, one of Canada's largest energy companies, his demonstration of the way fiberglass composites could dramatically improve the look, weatherability and vandal-resistance of the ribbed tin architectural cladding on Husky's Travel Centre retail outlets was enough to persuade Husky execs to overhaul the entire network.

For the Husky project, FormaShape applied NEi Nastran finite element analysis software, Solidworks 3D, supplied by Noran Engineering Inc. (Westminster, Calif.), and mechanical CAD programming to create photorealistic renderings and animations, and worked with Husky to perfect the concept  before male foam plugs were CNC machined. Economical, lightweight two-part fiberglass tools, with integral heating and cooling elements, were pulled from the plugs. FormaShape employs Light RTM, typically using filled AROPOL unsaturated polyester resin, supplied by Ashland Performance Materials, Composite Polymers (Dublin, Ohio), and MULTICORE 3-D closed molding fabric, supplied by the Owens Corning Vetrotex (OCV) Technical Fabrics division (Toledo, Ohio), which incorporate a resin flow medium within chopped strand mat skins. Resin is injected at low pressure, about 0.5 bar/7 psi, while a vacuum is pulled, and parts cure at room temperature. The process takes less than three hours.

FormaShape was able to create a one-step composite solution for Husky that replaced a four-step metal cladding construction method that involved sequential installation of a wooden truss, flat sheet material, tin ribs and a soffit. The one-step process greatly reduced installation time and produced a product with a more contemporary look and a life span of at least two decades — much longer than the existing tin cladding. Roman Anisimovicz, senior staff engineer for Husky's Retail Marketing Group, sees the adoption of fiber-reinforced polymer technology as a natural progression for Husky, a company that prides itself on using the most current technology.


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