Now that the Ohio Transportation Engineering Conference (OTEC) 2017 is wrapped up and in the books, we can reflect on the most interesting parts of the conference and the current state of FRP infrastructure products in the transportation world.
First things first, the other exhibitors were intrigued by the FRP rail platforms we displayed. During setup, fellow exhibitor Redi Rock Structures of OKI asked for more details on the platforms, as they'd never seen them before. I was happy to expand on the benefits of FRP panels for rail, especially the fact that they're half the weight of their concrete counterpart with the same structural properties. This, of course, surprised our fellow exhibitor, and many other exhibitors that came to see FRP rail platforms for themselves.
The conference started in earnest the next morning, as did the heavy foot traffic to our booth. Most people who stopped by were either from the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), design firms or construction companies. ODOT employees seemed to know about the use of FRP in infrastructure, but tended to ask about earlier, less reliable FRP products. I used our product sheets and physical samples to show that today's FRP products aren't what they used to be - in a good way. Composite Advantage's products are built to last for 75-100 years with little to no maintenance. Visitors were thrilled to hear that FRP is an innovative way to take the strain off their maintenance budgets.
Many people asked me about the foam in the middle of the FRP rail platform. I explained that the foam isn't a structural component of the FRP panel but is used as a manufacturing aid until the part cures to the final shape. This eliminates any potential water collection locations.
Overall, OTEC was a great opportunity to explain the ins and outs of FRP. I also really enjoyed hearing about companies and meeting representatives from throughout the transportation infrastructure world. Hopefully we'll have a chance to work together in the future. We look forward to seeing everyone again next year at OTEC 2018.