Structural Composites receives Innovation Company of the Year Award

The company has been recognized for its next-generation CoCure hybrid metal/composite technology featured in Wabash National’s 53 ft semi-trailers.

Structural Composites Inc. (W. Melbourne, FL, US) announced May 8 that it has achieved the Innovation Company of the Year Award for its next-generation CoCure hybrid metal/composite technology featured in Wabash National’s (Lafayette, IN, US) 53 ft semi-trailers. The technology combines metal (aluminum or steel) with FRP allowing the structure to take advantage of the best properties of each material. 

CoCure resins and adhesives form a tenacious bond to metals which allows the creation of metal hybrid laminates using the same resin as used in the fiber composite layer. Elimination of expensive adhesives and simplified manufacturing are key advantages. Hybrid structures can be created by stamping or forming the shape in thin gauge metals (70% thinner than used by themselves) then laminating the metal part with CoCure composite materials. This allows for fabrication of very stiff structures at reduced weight but with costs that can compete with traditional fabrications.

By incorporating molded structural composites instead of aluminum, Wabash reportedly improved the trailer’s overall thermal performance by up to 25%. The trailer’s floor is reported to be up to 20% lighter than it would be with steel, and the system is more puncture- and damage-resistant than conventional constructions.

Structural Composites president, Scott Lewit, says, “Hybrid metal/composite technologies open many new markets for composite materials in aerospace, transportation and infrastructure. The combination of our PRISMA reinforcement technologies and CoCure low cost strain tunable high-performance resins creates structures at parity with the cost of traditional aluminum structures. These developments are enabling composites to move into some massive new markets that demand low price and high performance. The two innovation awards show the impact of the technology spreading beyond marine applications.”

Wabash National Corporation president and chief operating officer Brent Yeagy says, “Wabash National worked closely with Structural Composites to identify how molded structural composites, using PRISMA and CoCure technologies, could deliver unmatched thermal performance in the transportation market. We are now scaling up the manufacturing of our proprietary molded structural composites while continuing to refine and advance the value this new material technology brings to our fleet customers. CoCure technology has played an important role in allowing Wabash to bring new, high-performance composites to the trucking industry.”

The Innovation Company of the Year Award was presented by the Space Coast EDC selection team.