ATL Composites celebrates 40-year anniversary

Looking ahead, the Australia-based company to translate its marine composites experience into new markets.
#sustainability #adhesives #cuttingtools


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ATL Composites yacht

Source | ATL Composites


ATL Composites (Molendinar, Australia) announced on March 19 that the company is celebrating 40 years of operations as a supplier of innovative composite products to the marine, automotive, industrial and construction industries.

Founder Arnie Duckworth, an avid sailor, established the business in New Zealand in 1977 after working for Gougeon Brothers in the U.S. The Gougeons had developed the WEST SYSTEM epoxy system, which stabilized moisture content in timber boat construction. In New Zealand, Duckworth observed a market for epoxy products to supply to the burgeoning marine industry, and he began by manufacturing WEST SYSTEM epoxy products under license to Gougeon Brothers for the Asia Pacific region. In 1980, ATL Composites opened a facility in Australia to service the professional boat-building market. 

Duckworth developed the DuraKore Strip Plank Construction system in the mid-80s, which he trialed in leading racing yachts such as Buckle Up, a Rocket 41 designed by Jim Young and owned by Bill Buckle, and Riverside Oaks, the 8-meter racing trimaran designed by Tony Grainger and still races today.

ATL started 2020 with new products, a vision for the next decade and a commitment to build on the camaraderie and close bonds among their network of customers and colleagues worldwide.

ATL’s investment in R&D led to rapid evolution and an expanded product range. In 1989, the Australian operation re-located to Queensland, doubling its turnover in the first 12 months.

The introduction of a pre-filled fairing compound, which became TECHNIFILL XP, led to the expansion into opportunities for fairing applications for metal boats in late 1989, and then an extension of pre-filled systems including the TECHNIGLUE R60 structural adhesive, now used widely in industrial applications.

In the 1990s, Australia’s boatbuilding industry experienced a boom in the design and manufacture of multihulls. With its experience in epoxy resins and composite materials, reinforced by solid relationships with leading Australian multihull designers, and a personal interest in racing cats, ATL became a leading player in material supply for construction of both racing and cruising multihulls.  

During this time, ATL’s DuFLEX Composite Panels were developed and introduced into marine and industrial markets, immediately finding a niche and becoming the industry standard.

The TECHNIREZ range of industrial epoxies was also developed and introduced to provide versatile and economic solutions for tooling applications with a full range of laminating and coating systems, filled casting resins, thixotropic gelcoats, surfacing compounds suitable for CNC machining, and laminating pastes.

ATL Composites team 2020

The ATL team. Source | ATL Composites

In the late 1990s, ATL expanded distribution into Asia, with Oceanic Link in Singapore and Piercey Marine in Hong Kong, both of whom continue their distribution to this day. 

In the 2000s, ATL used its knowledge and experience of composite materials to diversify into other markets where there is a demand for lighter, stronger, stiffer, more durable structures, including automotive, architectural and surfing/sporting equipment and transportation applications.

In, 2012 the company developed a range of unique epoxy systems with extremely high compressive strength and toughness for the construction of James Cameron’s Deep Sea Challenger, a 7.3-meter-deep diving submersible that made a record-breaking 11-kilometer descent to the bottom of the Mariana Trench. 

“Enduring and close partnerships with leading International manufacturers  including DIAB Group Sweden, Hawkeye Industries USA, Airtech Inc USA, and of course our very good friends at WEST SYSTEM Inc, USA, have been key to strengthening our position in existing markets, and expansion into emerging composite industries,” says Nicholas Cossich, ATL director.

Since 2012, ATL has enjoyed a fruitful joint venture partnership with MuH von der Linden of Wesel, Germany forming, vdL Composites GmbH to manufacture DuFLEX panels for the European market. During the successful showing at METS, Amsterdam in 2019, vdL appointed Distributors in Italy, Turkey and France to represent the DuFLEX and Featherlight composite panels in their regions.

ATL started 2020 with new products, a vision for the next decade and a commitment to build on the camaraderie and close bonds among their network of customers and colleagues worldwide.

According to Cossich, the team at ATL are grateful for their customers’ loyalty and enthusiasm for ATL’s extensive range of products, commenting on their valuable input which has spurred product development and enhancements. He adds that ATL is energized by attaining the 40-year marker and has no intention of ‘resting on its laurels’: “We will continue to push the boundaries of material performance through our active research and development programs, and are looking to expand and improve our materials and technical proficiency in numerous aspects of cosmetic finishing, thermal ranges, fire-resistance and sustainability.”

Growth markets for ATL include defense, automotive, architectural and civil engineering applications.

“Our significant, long-standing international and domestic supplier relationships will continue to allow us to complement our own product ranges by offering world leading advanced composite materials to the Australasian market,” Cossich adds.