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Join Date: Nov 2011
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Manufacturing Using Recycled FRP - Hard Fiberglass

11/22/2011 3:17 AM

There is a new technology for recycling fiberglass for remanufacturing, not just for filler.

There is a company in Tampa, FL that has the patent rights and equipment and is about to go into full production early in this coming year. I know there are going to be taking old boats, tubs and showers, jet ski and snow-mobiles, and making them into extreme heady duty railroad ties, parking lot tire stops, fiberglass waste tanks for water treatment plants, park and picnic benches, seawalls, and hundred of other products. I met the owner and he said they will have to open several plants across the country. He said this is because of the transportation and logistical costs involved.

My questions are these: What areas of the country would be good statigic locations for such an operation? There would have to be both a large supply of the old products to be recycled and good areas for manufacturing of the new products. Where is the largest collection of old boats? Where are the friendliest areas for manufacturing and where the states or communities have economic developement monies available? Where are there already trained workers in the FRP field available for all the positions this will create?

And lastly, what are some other FRP products that would be in high demand that this process would be a benifit, and be able to supply that demand?

Thank you for any ideas and help you are able to supply.

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#1

Re: Manufacturing Using Recycled FRP - Hard Fiberglass

11/22/2011 3:22 AM

Why not ask the Navies of such places as Switzerland, Bolivia, Lesotho, and Afghanistan? They must have gazillions of boats ready to recycle.

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#2

Re: Manufacturing Using Recycled FRP - Hard Fiberglass

11/22/2011 8:13 AM

My first thought was the southern states around the gulf coast, up the eastern seaboard. Very heavily populated, areas.

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#3

Re: Manufacturing Using Recycled FRP - Hard Fiberglass

11/23/2011 1:42 AM

Products- GRP Pipes amd fitting

Location-Middle East

Supply - Direct from Pipe manufactures.

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#4

Re: Manufacturing Using Recycled FRP - Hard Fiberglass

11/23/2011 1:47 AM

Your friends should start with the market research of the upstream and downstream business. Upstream: know how big a volume he may get from the different fields. Boats surely look big and while the first impression is that this may give a lot of business I am really not that sure. Boats are usually old before they are scrapped and there are relatively few per capita. If I am wrong and they are a big chunk of the business then you will need one plant close the each coast at least. Downstream: Are there any details about the process. All recycling of FRP I can fathom degrade the properties of the raw material a fair bit. That is why the recycled material usuallynserves as little more than as filler. What kind of damage does the process in question do to the fibers and what becomes of the polymeric parts? What kind of waste is produced in the process? In essence what are all the outputs of the process and their quality? The outputs define your downstream business and thus where you want to position yourself for your clients.

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#5
In reply to #4

Re: Manufacturing Using Recycled FRP - Hard Fiberglass

11/23/2011 2:17 AM

This process was developed by William Amour a few years back. He was getting it off the ground with both private and government help. You can see him in a YouTube video of a TV news piece done back when he was just starting. (See link below). He has since past away and his family sold most of their interest in the company to a Tampa company.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rn6PeexUF3s

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#6
In reply to #5

Re: Manufacturing Using Recycled FRP - Hard Fiberglass

11/23/2011 10:18 AM

In the video, the recycled product shown certainly looks like "filler". The mechanical properties of composites made from a given fiber can range from poor to excellent based on fiber orientation, resin, and process. A carbon fiber pultrusion can have tensile strength of 250,000 psi and a carbon fiber filled nylon might have a tensile strength of 30,000 psi -- the difference is mainly from fiber orientation, straightness, and length. The ground up stuff shown in the video would not lend itself to high strength laminates, and so is probably best considered filler.

The term FRP, (fiber reinforced plastic) comes from the ability of glass and other fibers to reinforce plastic resins, in other words, to make them stronger, not weaker. Fillers, on the other hand, often reduce the strength of resins. If the promoter's claim of strength comparable to wood or concrete is correct, then he is suggesting a compressive strength of 4000 psi or so. This is lower than the strength of most neat resins, suggesting that the recycled material is acting as a filler, not a reinforcement.

To answer your original question, bathtubs have a distribution that reflects the population distribution. To recycle boats in any reasonable fashion, one would need to be near very large boating centers: Newport RI, Long Island Sound, Annapolis MD, Outer banks in NC, Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, etc. The NMMA (National Marine Manufacturers Association) can give you the data re boat distribution.

There are all sorts of uses for products like the concrete replacement shown in the video: parking curbs at malls, speed bumps, etc. The plastic decking market is an obvious one too. Seems it would be hard to cost justify, however: the common materials (wood and concrete) are so low cost. Does the current Tampa company have a website promoting these products? Has the material been considered as a filler for concrete or asphalt?

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#7
In reply to #6

Re: Manufacturing Using Recycled FRP - Hard Fiberglass

11/23/2011 12:43 PM

I answered one of my questions (Does the current Tampa company have a website...) myself.

I note that you mentioned the company's website in another CR4 post.

The site mentions "tests": "The Amour process has been tested with the following:"

  • A flame torch was taken to a sample of the material and didn't melt or start on fire.
  • A 36-foot beam was driven into the earth with a 2.5 ton hammer. When the beam hit rock 28 feet below, the hammer kept pounding the beam. It didn't break. If wood or steel would have been used, the beam would have been destroyed.
  • Freezing weather, 50 below zero? Steel shatters, wood breaks down over time, Amour products remain.

You might suggest that the company come up with meaningful tests, and tone down the hyperbole. They come across as completely unacquainted with material properties, and provide no meaningful data on the material's properties. The claim that a beam of this stuff survives being pounded into the ground but that a steel beam would not is completely silly. Without test evidence to the contrary (and with the inventors claim that this stuff is a strong as concrete) then it's a 4000 psi material. Steel is a 60,000 psi (or greater) material. Real test data from a certified lab could help here.

Steel does not shatter at -50 degrees -- and where in Tampa do you find -50 temperatures? No reasonably knowledgeable person will believe that this material is remotely like steel in terms of strength. Such hype screams "run away" to informed investors and potential customers.

A flame torch can be "taken to a sample of" wood, and the wood would not burn or melt. (Many of us have passed a hand or finger through a candle flame, for fun.) How long was the torch held on the sample? Your friends need to provide real test data, showing time of exposure, chemicals off-gassed, etc.

The claim that this is the only fiberglass recycling company in the world is probably unwise, because, just like the unsupported and silly "test" data, it sounds like hype.

The process may work well for producing a low strength product of variable properties, based upon variations in the waste stream. The use of "out dated" and "off specification" resins (as specified on the website) can cause huge and unpredictable variations in material properties. The low strength material markets you have already identified might, however, be good bets. But it would be foolish to "ramp up" given that this has not been demonstrated to be a viable business, and given the history of investors in the process loosing their money.

I notice that here and elsewhere on this site you have called this process "new". That also comes across as unsupportable hype, because it is not new: the patent was published in 1996. Perhaps you can suggest that your friends in Tampa avoid such claims. Perhaps you can frame it as an old process that never took off, but one with some potential, if the product can be shown to be marketable.

This could be a useful service, provided there is a proven market for the output. Publishing actual material properties attained might suggest further markets. Without such data one can only assume that the applications cited in the patent (all low strength) are the appropriate ones. Then, the issue becomes how to justify the cost.

The investor relations page would benefit from a P&L statement and balance sheet showing that there is high demand for the product, that the current company is making money in the Tampa area and ready to expand.

Wish your friends good luck with doing the testing, doing the accounting, and fixing up the website.

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#10
In reply to #6

Re: Manufacturing Using Recycled FRP - Hard Fiberglass

12/21/2011 11:27 AM

You are right the company in Tampa just makes a filler product and it can not be used for anything except that. Their products could be made with ground wood chips or anything else sitting around the yard. The system that ECO-WOLF INC manufactures enable the makers of fiberglass products to recycle their scrap and waste fiberglass that is now going to landfills back into the products that they manufacture such as bathtubs, spas, pipes, containers, boats ,ect. The processed fiberglass has been tested by Swedish Institute of Composites and found to make products stronger and lighter. Taking fiberglass from post consumer sources and processing it into a usable product that can be used by the manufacturers would remove fiberglass from the landfills in the same way we now do with beverage cans. The ECO-WOLF INC system does not degrade the fibers from the recycled fiberglass and is the only system to do so. There is no heat or burning or chemicals used so the impact on the air is nil to none. I have seen this equipment in use and there is only minor dust while in use.

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#9
In reply to #4

Re: Manufacturing Using Recycled FRP - Hard Fiberglass

12/21/2011 9:23 AM

The fiberglass recycling system manufactured by ECO-WOLF INC. does not degrade the glass fibers and that is what makes it so very different. No furnace and no chemicals needed to process the fiberglass into a product that can replace between 30% to 100% of the virgin glass in new products making the recycled fiberglass more than a filler. The resin is recycled along with the glass and the end product is stronger and lighter that the same item made without recycled fiberglass. There is no waste produced when using the ECO-WOLF INC system now that is a change from what everyone else is selling.

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#8

Re: Manufacturing Using Recycled FRP - Hard Fiberglass

11/30/2011 12:48 PM

The company in Tampa you write about is not the only one to recycle fiberglass in Florida. There has been a system around since 1973 to recycle fiberglass in a much more important way. The system sold by ECO-WOLF, INC enables scrape and waste fiberglass to be used in the manufacture of fiberglass products. The biggest problem at this time is the lack of a fiberglass pipeline in the way there is for beverage cans. You are right about the need for plants in many areas of the country due to shipping costs but the supply is out there. Anywhere there are boats and people would be a good location for a plant. I get many calls from people that have tons of fiberglass that needs to be recycled. Last week I had calls from people that have over 1,000 tons of the stuff and that is only in one week. I have fielded calls from every part of the country including some that I never thought of as boating centers. The windfarms are another source of fiberglass in great need of recycling. The ECO-WOLF, INC system takes the used and waste fiberglass and does more than just cut it up into small bits. It separates the glass from the hardened resin so that it can replace virgin glass in a spray or other system. This system can be used by manufacturers to reduce their waste to almost nothing in the manufacturing of tub, spas, boats, panels ect. There is a company in Washington state that is moving forward with the establishment of creating collection and processing plants around the country at this time. We are hoping that this will be the start of the recycled fiberglass pipeline from consumer to factory.The biggest difference between a truly recycled product and just chopping fiberglass up is "Can you make more than just blocks of stuff out of it?" True recycling reduces the need for virgin materials in the products that the recycled material came from not just making some other product from it. Can to cans, bathtubs to bathtubs, boats to boats. That is recycling at it's best. please see the web site www.ecowolfinc.com for additional information.

I hope this does not come off as a self serving rant or an under the wire ad as I really want people to know that there is a solution to fiberglass recycling and has been for years. Thank you

Bruce

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#11
In reply to #8

Re: Manufacturing Using Recycled FRP - Hard Fiberglass

05/31/2018 6:55 PM

I have a lot of admiration for your writing. Thank you for all your valuable input on this

of FRP

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#12
In reply to #8

Re: Manufacturing Using Recycled FRP - Hard Fiberglass

08/29/2018 11:27 AM

asa

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