Innegra Technologies

INNEGRA TECHNOLOGIES restarted the company, we looked at the business justifications for this fiber technology, what it could do, and we recognized that there was a lot we needed to learn about the material, before we [could] take it to more technically demanding markets. So, we elected to focus, initially, on rec- reational sporting goods because that market has a very fast product development cycle time and can provide a lot of fast feedback. And while the individual opportunities, by themselves, may be relatively small in terms of material consumption, the market, itself, presented a reasonable oppor- tunity. “When we decided to focus on the sporting goods market, we didn’t have a lot of technical data to support this fiber in composites. There were end users who had developed that infor- mation for themselves, but we didn’t provide it, internally. So, we took advantage, the first two years, to build a technical data set that we could share broadly across different markets to enable users. That meant having composites fabricated in various different laminate configurations and having a third-party lab complete the testing so that we could report unbiased test data to the market for use and devel- opment. “Some of the feedback that we got from the sporting goods market has enabled us to embark on specific testing programs to better understand the product’s attri- butes. One example of that is vibration damping. Some of our early adopters in the sporting goods market, Bauer Hockey, and Head Racquet Sports, had reported observing considerable vibration damping in composites where they had incorpo- rated Innegra in combination with carbon fiber.” More research and development discovered many more attributes of Innegra’s two flagship products – Innegra S, and Innegra H, hybridized, multifilament fibers containing Innegra S and high modulus fibers, including, but not limited to basalt, carbon, glass, and aramid (a class of heat-resistant and strong synthetic polymers, related to nylon), which are intermingled at the filament level in a variety of combinations. Innegra fibers are the lowest density fiber, com- mercially available. They are durable and tough, but flexible; impact resistant; chemical resistant; and recyclable. Due to their low density, they are well-suited for lightweight composites, ropes, and netting. Innegra is also hydrophobic, meaning it doesn’t absorb water, making Innegra partic- ularly useful in marine applications. “We have a very strong presence in water sports,” says Cates, “standup paddle boards, surfboards, kayaks, ca- noes - a lot of the whitewater applications where impact toughness is a significant consideration.” “Cycling is another market that’s growing for us,” adds Jen Hanna, Director of Business Develop- ment. “Carbon bicycles - there, the damping is also an added value, as is the prevention of fracture propagation in the carbon laminate.”“Automotive racing is another area where there was some early interest,” says Cates, “and now there is prod- uct in Formula One, NASCAR, Indy, and several