By Mike McNulty
Rubber & Plastics News Staff
Louisville, Colorado - A fascination for developing unique polyurethane products and a passion for mountain climbing are paying off for Charles Demarest.
The founder and president of Aragon Elastomers llc, a custom moulder and urethane product maker, said the Louisville-based business soon will commercialise new soft polyurethane moulds that can be used by producers of faux concrete.
Demarest, the founder and president of Aragon, said the soft urethane is between 5A and 10A durometer with high tensile strength. The concrete can duplicate surface features in fine detail and be removed easily from the mould because a mould release is not needed, he said.
"The false concrete market has ballooned in the last 5-10 years" and it's expanding quickly, according to Demarest, who invented the urethane moulds. "It's used for such things as walls on buildings and on the sides of highways. They're building houses with faux material now and the moulds I make work very well there."
When concrete is cast in the new urethane moulds, it falls out whenever the faux concrete maker needs to pull it, he said at the recent Polyurethane Manufacturers Association meeting in San Antonio.
"I experimented with over 250 formulas until I found the one I liked best," Demarest said. He has not named the product yet, but the firm is presently making soft moulds for one company. "We still need to commercialise it," he said, and the company is working on a plan to do that in the not-too-distant future.
While he's preparing to hit the market with his new polyurethane moulds, Aragon's urethane rock climbing holds are doing well, he said. The product was launched about five years ago using polyurethane rather than polyester.
"Polyurethane is more durable and doesn't break," he said.
"It's a good, growing market for us," according to Demarest. "It's a fairly small item with high production value." The product is made at Aragon's 20 000-sq.-ft. plant in Louisville, where 16 are employed.
The factory is making a lot of product, and "today we have far more output than we did 10 years ago," Demarest said. "We're about to get quite good. For us, business is growing."
Rubber & Plastics News is a sister publication to Urethanes Technology International