CompositesWorld

DEC 2018

CompositesWorld

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NEWS 27 CompositesWorld.com Composite Resources, Rock Hill, SC, US mid-sized city of Rock Hill, SC, US, about miles south of Char- lotte. Next door, another •-plus people sta• two sister compa- nies in a ••,•••-ft /,€‚m facility: C.A.T. Resources, maker of the Combat Application Tourniquet (C-A-T), a one-handed tourniquet that has been issued to more than million military personnel since ••‚; and CORE autosport, which has Œelded teams in both prototype and production-based motorsports since ••. CORE autosport has also helped to feed one of the passions of CR founder Jonathan Bennett. Not coincidentally for Bennett, '' marked the launch of both his road racing career and his composites industry brain- child. Bennett had been working for a large engineering company but decided that year to go out on his own as a composites engi- neering consultant, initially operating out of his garage, so that he would have the opportunity to work more in the automotive arena. •e business grew and, by ••, Composite Resources was ready to avail itself of attractive business incentives o•ered by the State of South Carolina, and built its current facility. •e second building that houses CR's sister companies was added in ••. As is true of many industrial parks in revitalized southeastern US cities, the tree-lined boulevard entrance to Tech Park South, just o• one of Rock Hill's main avenues, is marked by an unas- suming brick and metal sign. From there, the approach to Composite Resources feels less "industrial" and more "park." Just beyond its small parking area and front lawn, the compa- ny's one-story, U-shaped building sits behind its own greenery- surrounded brick and metal sign — this one also displaying the company's ISO'•• and AS'••D certiŒcations. •e main entrance to the building is located at the end of the wing nearest the parking lot entrance. Niche of opportunity One testament to the way in which Composite Resources began is a display wall that welcomes visitors into the facility lobby. •e diverse collection of products exhibited here, ranging from an orthopedic spar to a carbon Œber cooling duct, often became part of CR's story because of the company's ability to engineer composite solutions to unusual engineering problems. "We were more of a job shop at Œrst, focused on prototypes," recounts Mel Clauson, CR's director of business development. "And we will still look at interesting opportunities that come in," he continues. "•is is what you get with a private company that's smaller and entrepreneurial. If it looks interesting and poten- tially proŒtable, we may buy a couple machines and make it happen." Clauson points out that the decision path for buying new equipment is very short for a private company like Composite Resources, because it is not tied to the kind of annual corporate budget that constrains capital investment for larger manufacturers. •is rapid response capability begins to deŒne the niche in which CR has built its business. As a Tier £ manufacturer with a design-build emphasis, Composite Resources has positioned itself between "smaller players, who are great at R&D and prototyping, and larger players who really want to focus only on production," explains CR COO Morgan Brady. "We really Œll this void," he continues. "We produce quick-turn prototypes, going from CAD to parts in a matter of days, yet when such a program is ready for production and the client needs €,••• parts per year, we have the size to support that as well." Clauson agrees. "What a big business doesn't want or can't do, we can do," he says. "I think that's where Tier £s survive, on the opportunities a•orded them by larger companies." •ough the business has experienced modest growth for most of its existence, in early •• Brady took stock of CR's operations and decided to develop a more deliberate growth strategy. Prior to joining Composite Resources, Brady had worked as an engineer in motorsport, and this background led to a partnership with Bennett to start a race team — now CORE autosport — in ••. By •, when Bennett was ready for a diminished role in CR's day-to-day Engineering collaboration The six engineers at Composite Resources share an open oce space with variable-height desks configured in pods. The goal of this arrangement is to facilitate collaboration among the engineers. Source | CW Photo | Karen Mason Engaged workforce Stations in Composite Resources' climate-controlled hand layup area are sta-ed by workers of varying experience and skill levels. Jobs are carefully assigned to ensure a skill level commensurate with its demands, ranging from common industrial work to exacting aerospace projects. Source | CW Photo | Karen Mason

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