A. Schulman opens fifth Innovation & Collaboration Center at Quantum Composites

The two-day event featured golf on June 6 followed by a tour of the facility and concurrent technical sessions on June 7.

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A. Schulman Engineered Composites has opened its fifth Innovation & Collaboration Center at the headquarters of its subsidiary, Quantum Composites Inc. (Bay City, Mich.). The two-day event featured golf on June 6 attended by 16 guests plus their key accounts managers followed by a tour of the facility and concurrent technical sessions on June 7, attended by 30 customers and partners from the automotive/ground transportation, aerospace, and oil & gas industries. Other A. Schulman Innovation & Collaboration Centers are located in Akron, Ohio; Bornem, Belgium; Kerpen, Germany; and San Luis Potosi, Mexico.

After breakfast, opening remarks, and a safety review on the Day 2, attendees were split into six groups that then rotated through a series of stations in the center where they received a 30-minute overview of each of the service categories Quantum/A. Schulman provides to its customers around the world. These included simulation/finite-element analysis (presented by Justin McClure, applications engineer); simulation/mold flow (co-presented by Greg Horsemanko, engineering manager, and Srikar Vallury, engineering manager/account manager, Moldex3D Northern America, Inc., Farmington Hills, Mich.); quality lab capabilities (co-presented by Kathy Zollars, quality manager and Beth Yeager, development chemist); small-scale molding demonstration of both random/chopped and continuous carbon fiber-reinforced vinyl ester sheet-molding compound (SMC) (presented by Marty Savage, applications engineer); R&D case studies in the analytics lab (co-presented by Laura Slingerland, production quality chemist and Craig Yeakle, polymer chemist); and a discussion of the uniqueness of SMC and the various chemistries Quantum produces, which includes chopped, unidirectional, biaxial, and triaxial glass and/or carbon fiber reinforcements of vinyl ester, unsaturated polyester, phenolic, epoxy, polyimide, bismaleimide, and hybrid resin systems containing two, three, or four or more different polymers (co-presented by Duane Gohr, site leader and Tim Langschwager, product manager of Engineered Composites, Quantum/SMC/TMC). At this station participants also watched glass-reinforced Lytex 9063 chopped glass fiber (63 wt-%, 0.5 in./13mm)-reinforced epoxy SMC being produced, wrapped, and palletized for customers.

Attendees next took a break to review part displays and have lunch, then split into two groups that participated in 90-minute concurrent technical presentations on the topics of: Why Use Thermosets (presented by Langschwager) or How to Overcome Mold Design Challenges (co-presented by Michael Kiesel, applications engineering manager-Engineered Composites and Mark Bieberstein, engineering manager of Engineered Composites).

"From helping design single components to complete tear down analyses, we can guide our customers through an initial needs assessment all the way through to fully developed solutions," says Doug Gries, market development director of Engineered Composites. "By having all disciplines participating up front in a collaborative environment, conceptual changes to design or materials can immediately be evaluated by the whole team for cost and production feasibility."

“For now, our Innovation and Collaboration Center in Bay City will focus exclusively on our thermoset composite product lines," notes Frank Roederer, senior vice president and general manager of Engineered Composites. "However, our future plans for this center include expanding our focus to include all of A. Schulman's materials ― including our engineering thermoplastics products."