Houseboat fabricator Catamaran Cruisers (Columbia, Tenn.) reportedly has become the first manufacturer in the marine sector to adopt AOC LLC’s (Collierville, Tenn.) new trademarked Eco-Tek styrene-free resin technology, says the resin manufacturer. Eco-Tek polyester incorporates new AOC-patented diluent monomers that replace styrene, with lower volatility and fewer emissions.
Unlike styrene, the alternative monomers in the Eco-Tek resin are not regulated as hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). As a result, says Catamaran’s president Dirk Wiley, “Our air emissions are only about 15 percent of what we are allowed for our operation. We are staying ahead of the game with help from AOC.”
Catamaran Cruisers uses hand layup and sprayup processing to manufacture the cabins, hulls, bulkheads and other structural components for its composite craft. According to Wiley, the new resin has significantly reduced VOC (volatile organic compound) emissions during manufacturing: “A primary reason for switching to the EcoTek resin was to create a healthier and safer work environment for our employees. It’s also better for the environment and makes our product more attractive to customers looking to make greener buying decisions.” Wiley also notes that the resin works well in Catamaran Cruisers’ proprietary manufacturing process. Engineered to create a lighter, more durable composite laminate, the process has reduced the use of wood components in large section of the structure, resulting in weight savings of up to 30 percent and improving both insulation properties and fuel efficiency. One customer has claimed up to 50 percent fuel savings with the lighter construction, says the company. Eco-Tek green resin is compatible with AOC’s other composite materials, including trademarked Vibrin gel coats for marine applications, for blister resistance and trademarked Hydropel vinyl ester barrier coats.