|Composite Technical Services, LLC
(CTS) made the decision to move to Kettering and begin its Ohio operations at the National Composites Center (NCC) – and now, CTS is on a roll. With a firm commitment to innovation through environmental sustainability, CTS is developing high-performance composite materials that include unique bio-based resins and flame-retardant additives.
CTS Business Development Manager, Debra Talentino explained, “Here at NCC, we are next door to CMPND and met UDRI, both of which helped us make progress with our products and opened our horizons in a business sense.”
Historically, CTS was born of an Italian continuous winding machine company (VEM SpA) that also made solutions for other customers’ labs. Today, CTS is a stand-alone operation in North America with the full support of its Italian business partners. In its present configuration, CTS has a core competency of flame-retardant and smoke-suppressant material that is a heavy metal- and halogen-free liquid additive for thermoplastic and thermosetting matrices.
But, as Talentino said, “We also latched onto cardanol, a phenol manufactured from cashew nut shell liquid (CNSL oil). Cardanol can be extracted when CNSL is double vacuum distilled, and for CTS, cardanol makes many things possible.” CNSL is a renewable natural resource obtained as a by-product of the mechanical processes used to render the cashew kernel edible. Its total production is nearly one million tons annually. CNSL represents a low-cost, widely available raw material for obtaining pure cardanol.
The CTS product line, known as ExaPhen™, includes bio-based resins created by extracting phenolics. Currently, ExaPhen™ products are made from cardanol, but are not limited to this phenolic base. The unique chemical structure of these materials retains the natural properties of the original material, cashew nut shells, and works by slowing the spread of flame, even in aggressive environments. ExaPhen™ bio-resins can be used in various ways, as novolacs (Novocard) that are used as curing agents of commercial epoxy resins; as polyols (Polycard) for preparing polyurethanes; as epoxy-novolacs (Epocard); and as saturated and unsaturated polyester resins. Cardanol-based aminoalcohols are used in polymeric matrices with a polyurea scaffold; acrylic and methacrylic monomers are used as additives for coatings or varnishes; and benzoxazines can be used either as coupling agents for glass and natural fibers or as reticulating agents for epoxy resins.
“Everything we produce is heavy-metal-free,” Talentino said. Another big plus is that much of the CTS product line is derived from materials that would otherwise be considered food industry wastes. This positions CTS to play a significant role as a green manufacturer. Moreover, the cardanol-based polyols could have an opportunity within Ohio’s biobased polyurethane supply chain. Ohio is a major fabricator of polyurethane foam seating for the auto industry and there is an increasing interest in finding reliable sources of polyols for foam manufacture. In a market study conducted by the Ohio BioProducts Innovation Center (OBIC) on usage rates of biobased polyols, customers indicated a need for a wide array of optimized biobased polyols for multiple applications. CTS’s cardanol polyols may be able to provide different attributes compared to soy-based, castor oil-based or corn oil-based polyols.
Talentino worked for NCC before joining CTS. “I met CTS at a trade show I was attending for NCC, and although I left NCC, we obviously have a good relationship. Now, CTS is an active participant in the NCC incubator facility,” she said. With regard to future funding opportunities and support of its unique process and products, she added “Now, I can see the true value of NCC from the side of the incubating company, itself.”
“In the production area at NCC, our R&D facility there is acquiring equipment and doing our own research and development. We are also collaborating with toll manufacturers in Ohio and planning to buy our own reactor soon,” Talentino explained.
As CTS transitions from the incubator facility to a larger facility of its own, other Ohio companies are helping as part of the CTS supply chain. NanoSperse LLC
, also located at NCC, is providing dispersion for CTS products. “Collaboration is the name of the game,” Talentino said. “NCC is a workplace that offers security and collaboration – it’s amazing how conversations lead to collaboration because a company is across the hall or you meet someone in the break room and start to talk.”
CTS is in a growth mode and is creating at least a dozen new jobs in the next few years. “As we grow, we will have to leave NCC because the building cannot accommodate the equipment we plan to acquire,” said Talentino. “We definitely want to stay in the Dayton area.”
CTS products can be applied in a variety of industrial fields:
- Thermoplastic compounding for automotive, electric/electronic, aeronautic, and building and construction
- High-performance composites with anti-corrosion, flame-retardant and heat-resistance properties made of bio-based thermosetting matrices for the production of structural laminates, pipes and tanks, and pressure gas cylinders
- High wear-, heat-, and corrosion-resistant thermosetting protective coatings
- Rigid and flexible bio-based polyurethanes for use in foams or sealants/adhesives.
Composites Technical Services, LLC, is located within the National Composite Center (NCC) facilities in Kettering, OH. CTS, in close collaboration with the Cimtec-Holding Group, provides state-of-the-art know-how and technology in the fields of new materials and composite design and manufacturing.
The Center for Multifunctional Polymer Nanomaterials and Devices (CMPND) is a research and commercialization partnership in polymer nanotechnology. This multi-institutional, interdisciplinary organization, centered at The Ohio State University, partners with the University of Dayton, the University of Akron, the University of Toledo, Kent State University, and Wright State University. For more information, cmpnd.org
The Ohio BioProducts Innovation Center
(OBIC) is a Wright Center funded by Ohio Department of Development. OBIC focuses on enhancing Ohio’s leadership position in bioproducts commercialization. A novel market pull model integrates academia in support of comprehensive supply chain collaborations across agriculture, specialty chemical and polymer industry sectors. For more information, bioproducts.osu.edu.
The University of Dayton Research Institute is the research arm of the University of Dayton, located in Dayton, Ohio. UDRI is a national leader in scientific and engineering research, serving government, industry, and not-for-profit customers. Its full-time professional staff of engineers and scientists conduct research and provide support in a wide variety of technical areas. URDI works with its customers on many levels, ranging from short-term projects completed on an as-needed basis, through contractual partnering or teaming relationships, to working side-by-side with our customers in multi-million dollar long-term contracts.