CAMX 2017 – Confidence In The Face of Adversity


CAMX Convention 2017 | Smartech

Happy New Year! We hope you are all getting off to a good, healthy start to 2018.

For the composites industry, 2017 finished with a bitter-sweet event. Just a few months earlier, Hurricane Irma quite literally washed out the industry’s excitement over CAMX 2017. The year after its most successful event, CAMX management was now facing its worst nightmare. The show everyone was waiting for was forced to cancel.

News quickly surfaced that show management was looking for a new date in 2017. I felt immediate confidence that this would happen as we were quickly approaching a time of year when nobody wants to do a trade show – the holiday season. Surely there was plenty of exhibit space available at that time. As I had anticipated, the show was rescheduled for December 12th through the 14th.

I’ve got to hand it to them. They pulled it off, and pulled it off well! Rather than the gloom that characterized other southern region trade shows that chose to continue in the face of Irma, the exhibit hall at CAMX was filled with a sense of confidence and relief. Granted, it was something a little less than that of excitement. After all, the show was approximately one hundred exhibitors short of the original event. However, I had an overwhelming sense that everyone that was there was excited to be where they were, despite the obvious inconvenience of running a trade show during the holidays.

It would be hard to overstate my enthusiasm over this show. As a new player in a very exciting industry, I was hungry to learn and the show did not disappoint. What struck me most, however, was how unique this show was from anything I had ever experienced in a trade show before. CAMX was one-part traditional trade show, one-part modern office with open air collaboration, and one-part coffee shop. I felt as though I had just entered in a trade show held inside an enormous Starbucks…and I liked it!

So what am I talking about? Innovation Park, as show organizers called it, was a unique layout that provided show floor opportunities for meetings, discussion groups, and even featured a theater for open air presentations. Trade show organizers take notice. I think we’ve just seen the future.

Kudos to CAMX! You stared a hurricane in the eye and came out the winner!


Bill Formella

Technical Applications

Smartech International


IBEX Show 2017

For the composites industry, September was a month of uncertainty. Two big events were scheduled in Florida -CAMX 2017 (Orlando) and IBEX 2017 (Tampa).  Irma decimated plans for CAMX 2017, but quick organization has it rescheduled for December 12-14. However, just one week later, IBEX (International Boatbuilders’ Exhibition) was able to move forward as planned.

The IBEX show was a huge success. Though Irma passed through just nine days earlier, IBEX was still able to post a 4% increase in attendees and 10% increase in exhibitors. Driving through Tampa, it scarcely seemed as though a hurricane had been anywhere near the area.

We had the luck of running into a client – Blue Wave Boats from Seminole, Oklahoma. Blue Wave has been using the same sheets of our 2mm thick transparent silicone vacuum bagging material since December of 2013. That’s nearly 4 years with an average of 9 cycles per week!!

Smartech’s reason for visiting the CAMX and the IBEX is the same – exploring the market for our new super thin, hyper- elongation material. Silicone 35 Transparent was specifically designed for use as reusable bagging material for composites manufacturing. I was anxious to show this material to other industry professionals and gain valuable feedback.

Conversations with industry educators, suppliers, and current customers confirmed our excitement. Silicone 35 Transparent, with its high-elongation, transparency, and light weight, will find a welcome home in composites manufacturing.

Bill Formella

More Choices – More Value

Four Solar DiaphragmsWe are excited that Steinbach has added two great choices to their Solar Membrane/Diaphragm/Blanket/Bladder line-up. For those of you that have been paying attention, that’s a 100% increase! So now in addition to Steinbach’s patented EVA-resistant Lamibran® Diaphragm and their equally popular grey, durometer 55 silicone, we are proud to provide two more options to PV Module manufacturers.

Blue, Durometer 50, Type STBB

Designed specifically for the glass lamination industry, this material has 350% elongation and high temperature resistance – up to 230°C. This of course makes it equally well-suited to the solar industry. Available in seamless widths up to 3500mm, Steinbach’s STBB silicone mixture will fit the largest of laminators. High cycle life and affordable pricing make this a great option.

Red, Durometer 58, Type STMB 3003

Best practices have shown that certain brands of laminators work best with stiffer diaphragms. If your laminator falls in this category, Steinbach’s STMB 3003 is available up to 3000mm wide. With a stiffer durometer 58 yet with 310% elongation, this material is ideally suited to the requirements of PV module lamination.

Both of these new materials have one smooth side and one with a texture. Customers tell us that using the textured side toward the panels doesn’t transfer the texture to the backsheet and helps prevent the diaphragm from sticking to the panels or the PTFE release sheet.

But this is only the beginning. In early 2017 Steinbach’s new 3200mm wide Rotocure D320 calendar will begin production in Germany. This new system will allow for incredible flexibility and innovation when it comes to flexible manufacturing materials. As the only Made-in-Germany supplier of wider silicone and other elastomeric materials, Steinbach is uniquely positioned to tailor their production to the solar industry’s needs and expectations. Contact us for samples and pricing!



Smartech Heads to IWF 2016

Revolving Roll Rack | SmartechHeading to HOT-lanta…
for the International Woodworking Fair

Every other year, Atlanta hosts the biggest woodworking industry party in the Western Hemisphere and we’re gearing up for a great show! Our 3DL cabinet, store fixture and component friends have been busy and the industry has an optimism not felt for quite some time.

Smartech is excited to set up shop on “Main Street” in the Machinery Hall B where we’ll be showing the super handy and easily affordable Revolving Roll Rack. Configured to hold 18 rolls of 3D Laminate (or any other rolled material) in a variety of sizes, this rack is still up for grabs. For a once-in-a-lifetime price, contact us before the show and we’ll even pick up all the shipping!

Smartech To Attend Intersolar 2016

Smartech To Attend Intersolar North America 2016 | Smartech InternationalCome visit Smartech in San Francisco during the Intersolar North America event in July! From July 13-16, the solar industry holds one of its greatest family reunions at the Moscone Center in downtown San Francisco, California. Smartech will be attending the event and positioned in Moscone West, Level One, Booth 7627.

At the event, Smartech will be introducing to PV module manufacturer attendees Steinbach’s two newest solar membranes. The solar laminator diaphragms are Steinbach’s Durometer 50 (Blue) Diaphragm and Steinbach’s Durometer 60 (Red) Diaphragm. Steinbach’s Durometer 50 (Blue) Diaphragm is available in seamless widths up to 3000mm (118”) and offers great EVA resistance, as well as both a smooth and a textured surface. Steinbach’s Durometer 60 (Red) Diaphragm is also available up to 3000mm (118”) wide and works well with Meyer Burger Laminators.

Most Common Uses of Textured Silicone Membranes

Silicone Membrane | Smartech internationalMembranes.

They come in every shape and size – with differing levels of thickness for the varied jobs you face.

They’re used in woodworking, for laminating doors and cabinets. They can be used for veneer and thermofoil (3D Laminate) pressing. The components of the membrane itself can be silicone or rubber.

However, silicone has different qualities than rubber, and so different uses. Here we’ll discuss some of the most common uses of textured silicone membranes.


Tips for Extending the Life of a Membrane

Woodworking Membranes and Silicone Blankets | Smartech InternationalAre you managing a project that requires membranes for 3D Lamination? We want you to be able to get the most out of your membrane pressing processes. As the North American partner for Steinbach Membranes, Smartech understands the importance of quality and improving your bottom line. That’s why we’ve compiled a fact sheet to help you get the most life from your membranes – whether silicone or natural rubber.

Check out these tips for extending the life of a membrane.

Membrane Preservation Tips

  • Cleaning. Lamination projects require the use of a clean membrane. If you find yourself needing to remove any dirt from your membrane, remember to use a solution that consists only of water and mild dish soap. Steer clear of solvents, mineral spirits, alcohol, and acetone. These solutions can weaken the membrane, potentially causing premature failure.


Save Space with Roll Storage Racks

You can save space with roll storage racks that hold your laminates in place and give you easy retrieval right where you need them. Revolving Rack for Membrane Storage | Smartech International

The alternative is to have a cluttered factory floor that doesn’t allow you the efficiency to get projects done in a timely and economical way. Worse still, with every load and unload, you risk damaging the outer layer of your costly laminate investment.

There are many kinds of racks – from large rack walls accessed by a forklift, to horizontal racks that can take up massive swaths of space from your square footage.


Three Design Considerations for 3D Laminates

With 3D laminates, interior designers of commercial and residential areas have the ability to seamlessly customize a variety of surfaces within a space. Because 3D laminates offer such freedom to designers, their use is extremely appealing. In addition, 3D laminated parts offer spaces sustainability and high-quality components.

3D Lamination | Smartech Online

If you’re looking to incorporate these benefits into your next project, keep in mind these three design considerations for 3D laminates.

Identify Components that Require 3D Lamination

First and foremost, determine which parts of your interior will require 3D lamination. For example, do you plan to include custom cabinetry within your space? Are you planning to incorporate a company logo in decorative wall panels? Do you wish to create a shelving unit that is modern, yet aesthetically pleasing? By identifying these components within the space you’re designing, you can easily take customization to the next level.


How Photovoltaic Diaphragms Work

EVA Resistant Lamibran® Diaphragm | Smartech InternationalThe photovoltaic industry relies on durable diaphragms to lower their costs when manufacturing solar panels. The use of solar panels on the roofs of commercial buildings and on residential structures has increased exponentially over the last several years. In 2014, there were 195,000 new photovoltaic installations in homes and businesses. New solar projects were installed every 2.5 minutes in the United States.

This trend is likely to continue as companies, governments and homeowners aim to conserve energy, contribute to environmental sustainability, and save money. Solar panels reduce the reliance on fossil fuels that emit greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere.

The challenge for the solar industry lies in selecting diaphragms that will not deteriorate. Understanding how photovoltaic diaphragms work will help both thin-film and crystalline solar panel manufacturers make informed decisions about the options available to them.