Company Name: ALCAN BALTEK CORPORATION
Company Type: supplier
Alcan Baltek Corporation is the largest supplier of end grain balsa core
material to the worldwide composites market, with a wide and innovative product
Alcan Baltek also distributes structural foam core materials manufactured by
Alcan-Airex® AG Switzerland, and laminate bulkers manufactured by Lantor BV The
Netherlands and U-Pica Japan, and a special core adhesive manufactured by ATC
Chemicals, Oakville, Canada.
Other divisions of Alcan Baltek supply balsa lumber to model businesses around
Alcan Baltek Corporation and its predecessor companies have been in the wood
industry since the mid-1880's, first in Europe and then in the United States.
Since the early days, before World War I, the company has always emphasized the
fact that it was involved in high quality products that would fit the changing
needs of the end user. The main interest of the companies was in the trading and
promotion of tropical species, such as mahogany from the Americas and limba from
Africa, until balsa was introduced to the group in the 1930's.
In those days, tropical wood species were mainly used for furniture and in the
early automotive industry. Then came the aircraft, which in World War I were
mostly made from wood. In this market Alcan Baltek developed two new
applications for balsa: structural cores and the hobby/model industry. One of
the best known and earliest uses of balsa as a structural core was the famous
British Mosquito bomber. The plane was made entirely of plywood, which was, in
fact, a composite structure of plywood and balsa.
At the same time, Chance Vought Aircraft and Goodyear Aircraft in the United
States were both very active in the development of sandwich structures for Navy
planes and the nacelles of anti-submarine blimps. Alcan Baltek was working
closely with these manufacturers in developing several grades of balsa for these
highly technical uses of wood, since they required close tolerances of
dimensions and very precise density selection.
The company was very successful in meeting all the aircraft industry
specifications, and it is thanks to the precise work done at its various
factories that it could develop a very "civilian" use: small slats of wood used
as a core material in home flush doors. Millions of these precision-cut slats
were shipped throughout North America.
In the mid-1950's, another main use of balsa was introduced when a Chicago
engineering group developed a technique to transport liquified natural gas at
minus 260F. Large sea-going LNG tankers, insulated with balsa, were tested
successfully and large gas transportation projects were initiated based on the
fact that ocean carriers could be built.
During the 1960's, balsa was used extensively for the insulation of LNG
carriers; some of them are still in use after more than 30 years. Again, the use
of balsa was made possible by the close technical cooperation between the
company and the various engineering companies working with shipyards all over
During the same time period, the company, working together with the US Air Force
and Goodyear Aerospace Corporation, developed the famous air cargo pallet for
the 463-L cargo system of the United States Air Force, still widely used today.
This aluminum-faced pallet, measuring 88" by 108", with 2" thick end-grain
balsa, is rated at 10,000 lb. and an 8g dynamic load.
Simultaneously, Alcan Baltek developed a structural core of end-grain balsa with
the trade name, Contourkore®. This core was developed for use in the reinforced
plastics market. The most widely known of these is the marine market. Crafts of
all sizes, from the small dinghy to luxurious mega-yachts, are built with most
of the structural parts in sandwich construction with end-grain balsa as the
core. In addition to pleasure boats, this core is also used in large fishing
vessels, commercial boats and military craft, such as minesweepers, patrol boats
and super structures.
Over the past 40 years, the use of Contourkore in composites has greatly
expanded outside the marine market. Balsa cored reinforced plastic sandwich
panels have replaced traditional materials in such applications as:
- Chemical industry processing tanks and pipes
- Food processing tanks, industrial ducts and scrubbers
- Water purification and desalination troughs and weirs
- Windmill blades for electrical power generation
- Commercial aircraft, rail cars, trucks and buses
- Shipping containers
- Bath tubs and shower stalls
During all the post-war years, the company invested heavily in improving
production facilities in Ecuador. Plants were upgraded with new automatic
machinery and highly sophisticated gluing equipment using the latest resin
curing methods. A large plantation program began in the 1970's, culminating in a
land holding of over 16,000 acres on 28 sites, with a nursery on each site. A
special seed orchard supplies the various plantations with selected seeds. In
addition, it could be said that, for every tree felled, two or three trees are
seeded, which means that as a company, we are actually growing more trees than
we are cutting. 140 portable mills feeding five large processing plants produce
lumber and, in total, the Ecuadorian organization employs over 900 people
directed by 25 engineers.
Growing any kind of tree is relatively easy. Growing a "super" tree from
carefully selected seeds is another story. The company is the originator and
world leader in balsa farming and is in contact with numerous universities and
laboratories where exchange of information helps in improving the balsa farming
methods used. Our product is a renewable raw material and the statement: "We
Grow the Future" is not just a thought -but a very hard fact.
Almost everybody knows why balsa is so important to some industries. It combines
several characteristics, which surprisingly seem to contradict each other. It is
lightweight, but has a very high strength to weight ratio. It is a hard wood,
which means that it does not have any resin; however, it is very soft and can be
carved easily. It offers a uniform gluing surface and is compatible with all
Most people think of balsa for the manufacture of model airplanes, when in
actual fact, 90 % of it goes into structural core materials.
Alcan Baltek is the source of a large family of high technology products used in
some of the most advanced manufacturing technologies in the world.
Alcan Baltek applies proprietary processing expertise, which has been developed
over nearly half a century.
Balsa combines many characteristics, which make it superior to man-made
materials for a variety of applications.
Balsa sandwich structures have high impact and fatigue resistance, excellent
flexural shear and bond strengths and an exceptional resistance to high
temperature and fire.
Balsa provides superior sound and thermal insulation - due to its closed cells,
which also contributes to preventing water migration across the cells.
During the 1980's, Alcan Baltek made decisions to expand its activities in the
composite industry beyond their role of a balsa core supplier.
Laminated products were introduced with the trade names of DuraKore™, DecoLite®,
GraphiKore® and EcoForm.
A core bonding adhesive with the trade name Baltek-Bond™ was also developed.
Two laminate bulker mats were added: Baltek®Mat and Coremat®.
In 1995, Alcan Baltek announced a cooperative marketing effort with Airex® AG
for all of their structural core foam products adding the Airex® and Herex® and
AirLite™ brand names.
In 1999, Alcan Baltek added BALTEK SL™ controlled density end-grain balsa core
to the product line.
To meet the growing demand for products used in closed molding processes, in
2001 and 2002 we created GPS(tm), a special configuration of end-grain balsa and
foam cores designed to optimize resin infusion technology, and added two
products from Lantor BV, Soric® a non-woven infusion mat and Finishmat® to
enhance surface cosmetics.
In the new millenium, Alcan Baltek has expanded production capacity and
increased its value-added capabilities. We are continuously working to enhance
our product line to meet the growing needs of our customers in all the world's
ALCAN COMPOSITES CORE MATERIALS offers you many decades of broad experience
not only from one company, but from two leading companies in the composite
business. Alcan Airex, Switzerland and Alcan Baltek, U.S.A. provide you as ALCAN
COMPOSITES CORE MATERIALS a unique range of core materials, great depth of
knowledge and unmatched support.
It is all at your service in choosing just the right engineered materials for
the product you are designing or building. We will not only assist you in making
the right material choice without costly or time-consuming trial and error, we
will also direct you to the best fabrication techniques.
||PO Box 195,Northvale, NJ 07647
|| City: Northvale State:: Northvale
|| Phone: (1) 201 767 1400 Fax:: (1) 201 387 6631
||29 July, 2006 06:38
|| Bulker mats, DecoLite Panels, End Grain Balsa Core, Finishmat, KitKore, Structural foam Core
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