The Transport Association of Canada (TAC) conference and exhibition was held last week in Halifax, Nova Scotia. This was the first year that Composite Advantage exhibited at the conference. I was encouraged to participate by our supplier of non-slip overlays (Tremco Infrastructure Group) and Canadian engineers that have included FRP in their bridge designs. Our product focus was bridge decks, rail platforms and fender protection systems.
CA has found very positive acceptance of FRP technology as an engineered soIution for a number of Canadian bridge projects. I found the TAC conference to also be a positive experience. The main reason for this is a high percentage of the attendees visiting the exhibit booth were owners of infrastructure. This included engineers and managers representing parks, city, regional districts and provinces. This was a refreshing change from other trade show trends where infrastructure owners do not have travel budget for their technical staff. Many of the agency engineers were aware of FRP, but had not seen the range of bridge elements and applications that have been accomplished. A major aspect of our sales effort is education and awareness of FRP infrastructure products.
Visitor interest was in three areas: bridge decks for truss bridges; planking for timber deck replacement; and cantilever sidewalks. Every urban area is expanding shared-use paths to meet the desires of their citizens. Adding a lightweight sidewalk resonates with most people as a cost-effective solution. The more populous provinces of Ontario and Quebec are similar to the northeast US with aging vehicle bridges that the community wants to retain; not totally replace. Lightweight, solid surface decking is perfect for this niche. I was able to include FRP planking in the bridge lineup with Creative Pultrusion products. This is a safe and long lasting replacement for timber that competes well on cost. I look forward to the next TAC conference in Vancouver in 2020. There will be more to offer with the expanding Creative Composites Group product lines.
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