Ed Pilpel, president of Polystrand Inc., and Lowell Miles, Chief Executive Officer of Miles Fiberglass & Composites, jointly announced the development of durable corrugated panels that could reduce maintenance and repair costs for refrigerated trailers. The product, made by Miles Fiberglass & Composites using material from Polystrand Inc., was originally developed for refrigerated rail cars and is now being evaluated for internal bulkhead liners of truck trailers, which are often damaged during loading and unloading. The developers say the material shows great promise in that application. “Based on field experience so far in rail car use, the panels made with fully consolidated Polystrand reinforcement are the toughest panels available,” said Miles. “They are stronger and more impact-resistant than any other panel we’ve seen.” Miles said the benefit to the customer was that the life of the interior panels in a refrigerated rail car was extended exponentially. “We don’t know exactly how much more life the panels get but the rail car leasing company reported a noticeable difference when cars with the new panels cycled back in for maintenance and repairs. We understand the replacement and repair of panels went down to almost nothing.” The manufacturing process for the new panel begins at Polystrand where continuous E-glass fibers are consolidated with polypropylene resin to make ThermoPro X-Ply reinforcement tapes. Polystrand ships the material in rolls that are 60 percent continuous fibers by weight, aligned in a 0°/90° orientation. At Miles, two rolls of Polystrand reinforcing material feed a laminating and forming process that heats and bonds the reinforcement, and then shapes the corrugated panels. In addition to producing stronger and more scuff-resistant panels, the new process provides a consistent, sealed surface with no pinholes, an important benefit when foam insulation is injected into the cavity between the panels and the exterior walls. The corrugated shape adds strength and allows cold air to circulate within the car and around the cold cargo when the rail cars are in use. “Multiple layers of Polystrand sheets or tapes can be stacked using the appropriate fiber, reinforcing content and orientation to meet the structural demands of a particular application,” said Pilpel. “The stacked material is then heated until formable and consolidated, then shaped and cooled to retain the configuration of the part.” Pilpel also said production scrap can be 100 percent re-used and the final part itself can also be 100 percent recycled in a sustainable, environmentally-responsible or "green" materials management program. Miles Fiberglass & Composites is a family owned corporation founded in 1963. The company produces a variety of products using open molding, vacuum bagging, press molding and resin transfer molding (RTM) processes. The company started by making products such as air conditioning unit covers and canoes, and has since expanded its capabilities to produce one-of-a-kind, custom-made items. Additional information can be found at www.milesfiberglass.com, or by e-mail to webinfo@milesfiberglass.com. Founded in 2004 and headquartered in Montrose, Colo., Polystrand Inc. is a privately held company focused on developing the next generation of fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) composites. The Polystrand material system combines continuous structural fibers and thermoplastic resin into ribbons or coils that can be heated and reformed to create end-use applications. The company makes ThermoBallistic products for ballistic applications and ThermoPro products for commercial and industrial applications. Additional information can be found at the company’s Website, www.polystrand.com. Polystrand reinforcements are distributed in North America by Composites One. Contact Dick Holland at 800-237-0087, dholland@compositesone.com or information@compositesone.com. For product information about Polystrand reinforcements, contact Todd Hobbs at 970-240-2233, or todd@polystrand.com.