A manufacturer of handcrafted boating paddles' search for a carbon fiber compound that combined strength and aesthetics led it to a recycled content material that incorporates post-industrial scrap from aircraft production. Werner Paddles (Sultan, WA) sourced the grade from RTP Company (Winona, MN).
The paddle blades made from carbon fiber reinforced plastic are designed to look as good as they perform. "The carbon fiber compound Werner used for the blades is more commonly found in the manufacture of structural components where surface quality is not a priority," explained Tim Bailey, engineering manager of Werner's molder, KASO Plastics (Vancouver, WA). "For Werner, the cosmetics of the material were as important as the strength, rigidity, and other physical properties." The challenge was to find a way to deliver both performance and aesthetics, which was proving difficult to realize with virgin grades.