If you happened to thumb through the latest issue of Popular Science magazine you may have noticed that composites are prominently featured. Berry Plastics Corporation’s X-FLEX Blast Protection System has taken the Grand Award for the magazine’s “Best of What’s New 2009” feature.
X-FLEX, an FRP adhesive for blast defense applications, had already won accolades as the Best in Show at the American Composites Manufacturers Association’s (ACMA) 2009 convention. According to the company, that honor raised the product’s profile, leading to mentions on various blogs and news outlets. Elizabeth Curran, director of engineered plastic systems, says the publication likely discovered the product based on that web traffic.
“From what I’ve heard, they looked everywhere at thousands of different technologies and then they whittled it down to 1,000 possible products,” says Curran. Berry wasn’t privy to how Popular Science did their testing, but the magazine did call and ask for a sample of the product in order to conduct tests.
Of the 1,000 possible products 100 total entries were recognized in the publication under various categories (X-FLEX can be found in the “Security” category.) “Honestly, to be recognized by an organization that’s so well-known is wonderful,” says Curran. “We have manufacturing plants all over the world and the employees’ children are taking the article to school and showing it off. It has had an unusual aura about it and passion from people to see it fly. For us, it’s going to give us visibility to other people.”
Curran declined to name who specifically these other people were, but she mentioned the company was looking at other companies and firms working with the government. “We’re also looking at the morphing of the technology to other applications as well, especially in storm and tornado protection,” says Curran.