February 19-20, 2019

Belmond Hotel, Charleston, SC

Crosslinking Technology

The annual Thermoset TOPCON connects all members of the thermoset material supply chain; from additives and chemicals, to resin and reinforcement suppliers, compounders, processors and OEMs.  This conference is the only gathering in the U.S. dedicated entirely to thermosets.

Technical topics will be complimented by contemporary application case studies and market development tutorials focused on the pursuit of profitable, organic growth.  The SPE Thermoset Division is currently accepting papers for consideration for the 2019 conference.

The thermoset industry's

most comprehensive


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$ 675
  • Technical Sessions
  • Exhibits
  • Breakfasts & Lunch
  • Exhibitor Reception


$ 575
  • Technical Sessions
  • Exhibits
  • Breakfasts & Lunch
  • Exhibitor Reception


$ 275
  • Technical Sessions
  • Exhibits
  • Breakfasts & Lunch
  • Exhibitor Reception


$ 0
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  • Technical & Exhibits
  • Breakfasts & Lunch
  • Exhibitor Reception



$ 10,000
  • 6 Conference Passes
  • Specialty Signage, Exhibit, Reception Keynote
  • Meals & Reception
  • 4 Full Page Ads in Thermosettings
  • Logo Displayed on Website / Event Signage

Lunch – SOLD OUT

$ 8,500
  • 5 Conference Passes
  • Specialty Signage, Exhibit
  • Meals & Reception
  • 3 Full Page Ads in Thermosettings
  • Logo Displayed on Website / Event Signage


$ 7,500
  • 4 Conference Passes
  • Specialty Signage, Exhibit
  • Meals & Reception
  • 2 Full Page Ads in Thermosettings
  • Logo Displayed on Website / Event Signage



$ 4,000
  • 2 Conference Passes, Exhibit
  • Meals & Reception
  • 4 1/4 Page Ads in Thermosettings
  • Logo Displayed on Website / Event Signage


$ 3,000
  • 1 Conference Pass, Exhibit
  • Meals & Reception
  • 2 1/4 Page Ads in Thermosettings
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$ 2,000
  • Exhibit
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  • *Conference Cost is Additional

Exhibit Space

$ 1,000
  • Exhibit Table
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  • *

Thank You 2019 SPONSORS


2018 Conference Agenda

Len Nunnery is an experienced leader of international product development, sales and marketing teams.  Globally recognized as an authority in reinforced composite materials, Len was an integral contributor to the mixed organic / inorganic growth of Bulk Molding Compounds, Incorported / Citadel Plastics ($6M to exit revenue of $525M).  A Six Sigma Black belt, Len holds a patent for a novel, nitrogen-assisted injection molding technique, is a published technical author and recognized public speaker. A marketing architect with a notable ROI to investment ratio, Len also possesses substantial experience with sophisticated, technology driven M&A, integration and exit processes. Change proficient, he has excelled under family, private equity and public business models.

Len is currently the vice president of global sales and marketing at Minnesota Rubber and Plastics (MR&P). MR&P, a worldwide manufacturer of engineered rubber and rubber components, also processes LSR and high performance thermoplastics. MR&P serves the Medical, Transportation, Water and Hydraulic Power industries. Examples of MR&P products include standard rubber seals, custom rubber seals, custom medical seals, rubber over-molded inserts, two-shot silicone touch surfaces, precision PEEK / Torlon plastic components and clean room / MedPharma assemblies.

MR&P is a portfolio company under the sponsorship of Norwest Equity Partners (Minneapolis). Norwest is the third private equity firm for which Len has provided growth focused leadership in the areas of commercial re-organization, acquisition integration, exit preparation and management presentation.

Len Nunnery / SPE Thermoset Division Chair

As of last October, Russ Broome is senior director, business development at the Plastics Industry Association, or PLASTICS for short, formerly known as SPI. In this role, he is responsible for company member acquisition and retention as well as other non-dues revenue streams like their business benefit partner programs. Prior to this role he was on staff at SPE as managing director for 3 years. Russ has also held about every volunteer role at SPE at both the local levels as well as the international governance level culminating with being elected President of the organization in 2011. He began his membership in SPE as a student in 1992 and holds honored service member status. He received a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering from North Carolina State University.
Before joining the ranks of the non-profit association world, Broome worked in the plastics industry for over 20 years. He interned for a tool & die shop and custom injection molders during school. Upon graduating, he remained in operations at one of those injection molding firms until a customer, ABB, recruited him away. Later he was recruited over to the dark side of engineered thermoplastics where he worked for LNP Engineering Plastics, GE Plastics and PolyOne. His last industry role was working alongside his father at TE Connectivity.
During his career, he has spent time in manufacturing, engineering, business development and purchasing. He also ran his company during a brief non-compete where he was a manufacturer’s rep and recruiter.

He currently resides in Fayetteville, NC with his youngest daughter while his oldest daughter attends his arch rival UNC – Chapel Hill.

Russell Broome / Senior Director, Business Development, PLASTICS

There are increasing demands for automobile composite parts with low residual volatile organic compounds (VOCs), low or no styrene, and low odor. Each of these three demands are achievable but the terms are not interchangeable. For example, a product can be formulated with no styrene, yet still have an odor. As well, a product can be formulated with an appreciable amount of styrene and have a very low detectable odor. This paper will present the methods used to develop sheet molding compound (SMC) formulas for low odor applications, low residual VOC applications, and low or no styrene applications.

Jonathan M. McKay, Ph.D. / Research Scientist, Composites, Ashland

Fatigue life testing provides a means to predict the serviceable lifetime of composite materials when exposed to repeated stress cycling. Lifetime testing is important to aerospace, automotive, and the oil and gas industries; and the information gained aids material selection and engineering part design.
Studies were carried out to compare the fatigue life of epoxy and vinyl ester resin systems containing either glass or carbon fiber. The applied stress varied as a percentage of ultimate tensile strength using a constant amplitude tension-tension technique. A low stress frequency was used to avoid frictional heating of the materials. The effect of resin system and fiber type on fatigue life are summarized

Tim Langschwager / Project Manager, A. Schulman

Carbon fiber prepregs continue to make inroads into automotive applications with improved and automated processes. The next generation prepregs will utilize current snap-cure resins and optimized reinforcements.
SGL has developed a snap-cure resin system in conjunction with application specific reinforcement options including recycled or reclaimed carbon fiber waste. These options allow the user to utilize continuous fiber prepregs for spot specific reinforcement while utilizing lower cost reinforcements in less structural areas. The end result is cost effective solution where key attributes such drape, flow, strength and stiffness can be achieved.

Alex Walk / Technical Sales Manager, Americas for SGL Carbon

Due to interest in sustainable materials, natural fibers are increasingly being utilized in composite materials. In many commercial applications, very short natural fibers are being used primarily as fillers to achieve a 'greener' product. While these types of applications reduce plastic content in consumer goods, and generally require lower energy during production, they are not realizing the true potential of natural fibers as an engineered reinforcement material. Recent advances in natural feedstock processing have yielded fiber forms which can be used to replace glass fibers in many reinforced plastic applications. Moreover, natural fiber composites have been found to offer benefits such as reduced weight and costs. Generally speaking, the high specific modulus of natural fibers often enables reduced weight parts which can be designed to match glass fiber composite stiffness. An introduction to these materials, as well as their benefits and challenges, will be offered and substantiated. Test data on natural fibers and natural fiber reinforced composites will be presented illustrating the competitive nature of natural fiber composites. Details will be given on the compatibly and processing variations when utilizing natural fibers in common manufacturing processes. Examples will be presented which illustrate property matching and design considerations between glass and natural fiber composites.

Trey W. Riddle, Ph.D / CEO, Sunstrands
11:00 AM - 11:30 AM

As an original equipment manufacturer, John Deere is a leader in steel manufacturing processes.  However, as equipment grows larger and more productive, it becomes heavier.  OEM's search for solutions to reduce weight, increase performance, and improve appearance yields some interesting composite applications. 

This presentation will review agricultural equipment industry applications in which thermoset composites are implemented to replace steel.  Assessments defining successful and less than successful will be presented, concluding with observations and trends for thermoset composite applications, materials and suppliers to the equipment industry.

Greg McCunn CQT, CCT-CM / AG Equipment; A Study in Styling

AIM has launched a variety of RIM programs in recent history where part consolidation and cost savings have been achieved as a result of advanced ‘B’ side geometry development.   Historically, these complex ‘B’ side geometries would not have been pursued or considered manufacturable.  It is due to these advanced geometries that AIM is on the cutting edge of the DCPD market.  Said programs have been tried, tested, and field proven in a variety of markets today.   A generalized summary of these development efforts will be presented in a format that will not divulge proprietary customer design concepts.  I will facilitate the presentation on AIM’s behalf while utilizing a few internal and external resources for data/information. 
The development of these advanced ‘cutting edge’ geometries has been several years in the making and have consisted of great degrees of collaboration between OEM’s, material supplier, and tooling suppliers.

Zach Montognese / Advanced Sales Manager, Ashley Industrial Molding (AIM)

Mar-Bal, Inc., headquartered in Chagrin Falls, OH, is the leading integrated compounder and molder of BMC Thermoset composite products and value added finishing services. Since 1970, Mar-Bal has engineered and manufactured quality, customized materials and parts while delivering unmatched client cost-effectiveness through superior customer service and commitment to the total value.

Rheological and chemorheological thickening of polyester materials for use in sheet molding compound (SMC) and bulk molding compound (BMC) have been a topic of study for many years. Work in the 1950’s uncovered the usefulness of earth alkali as thickeners for such applications. More recent work in has uncovered the usefulness of rheological techniques, including elevated temperature chemorheology, to characterize materials including various thickeners needed to produce SMC and BMC. This presentation will survey these materials and methods, and explain advances in materials and methods for thickened unsaturated polyester compounds. Especial attention will be given to influences of resin chemistry, moisture, filler, and how these variables impact not only the thickener technology that is appropriate, but also the window of moldability for SMC and BMC.

Paul Rettinger / Technology Manager Thermosets - Americas, Chromaflo

In the past, polyesters, vinyl esters and epoxies have been the major players in technologies such as vacuum infusion, pultrusion and SMC/BMC. Each technology has its own merit, but I would like to introduce a new technology - Urethane Acrylate Technology.  Like epoxies, UA's give us the ability manufacture resins with variable glass transition temperatures (Tg's), modulus and most importantly, toughness.  Pre-reacting the urethane allows customers the benefits of having urethane in the product but not having to handle the dangerous isocyanates. Tough, high Tg, shorter de-mould times, faster pultrusion runs and now the ability to thicken for SMC/BMC,all while making parts with fiberglass and carbon fiber for the likes of the automotive market that is clamoring for tough, light weight parts for near exhaust and under the hood applications.

Jeffrey Strarcher / Business Development Manager, New Markets. Crestapol Urethane Acrylate Resins

Design of experiment methodology develops thermally stable unsaturated polyester resin formulations by adjusting various resins, catalysts, and promoters. Factorial design and surface plot analysis create the most effective resin formulations.

Subsequent plant implementations with statistical process control data analysis confirm the improved surface smoothness of new fiberglass reinforced polymer (FRP) panels. The high gloss FRPs are successfully developed and commercially launched on the target market with multi-million dollars’ sales increase.

Daniel Kim / Business Development Manager, Global Materials Research

New polymeric materials have played an important role in accessing previously challenging oilfield environments. Polydicyclopentadiene (pDCPD) is the prototypical example of a thermoset polymer made by ring-opening metathesis polymerization (ROMP), and is characterized by high toughness, low water absorption, and excellent resistance to corrosive fluids. Despite a promising price/performance profile, applications of pDCPD have been limited in part by the sensitivity of the curative catalysts which restricted their use to unreinforced systems processed by reactive injection molding (RIM).

Recent advances in catalyst technology have led to a series of curatives that are more robust and dramatically broadened the applicability of pDCPD beyond what was previously possible. The new catalysts are compatible with:

• Composite fillers, including fibers (glass and carbon) and particles (glass bubbles and mineral fillers)

• Alternative processing techniques, including casting, infusion (RTM, VARTM), rotomolding, and pultrusion

• Property modulators, to provide enhanced elongation, Tg, toughness, and chemical resistance

This paper will outline recent advances in ring-opening metathesis polymer development, with a particular emphasis on high temperature materials (up to 450 °F) and composites for downhole applications.

Wesleyne Greer / Senior Sales Manager at Materia, Inc.

Dielectric cure monitoring is the only mature testing method that allows users to obtain critical data on curing thermosets in situ, in real time, over the course of the entire cure. Dielectric cure monitoring, also known as Dielectric Analysis (DEA) can accelerate R&D processes by eliminating the need for more time-consuming and less accurate forms of testing. It can also speed the transition from R&D to quality control and quality assurance by providing QA/QC teams with solid data upon which they can base their work—helping to ensure the quality and reliability of the finished product.

In my talk, I will discuss how DEA can be applied across a range of materials and applications relevant to resin formulation in R&D, outgoing product testing in QA/QC, and cure monitoring in manufacturing. The insights obtained through this technique are applicable in products ranging from nail polish and countertops to aerospace structures, automotive and marine parts, and wind turbine blades.

Huan Lee / Co-Founder, Lambient Technologies

You might not think that chemistry and polymer processing is a key part of the manufacturing of electronic devices, but without sophisticated polymers and advanced processing techniques, today’s electronic devices would not be possible. There are a wide variety of polymers used in the typical smart phone. These include epoxy resins for printed circuit boards, adhesives to attach semiconductor chips to substrates, and polymer coatings to protect devices from moisture and dirt. The presentation will provide an overview of the types of polymers and processing techniques used in smart phone applications. Some of the thermoset chemistries used in include epoxies, acrylics, bismaleimides, and UV cured thermosets. Processing methods such as adhesive and underfill dispensing as well as lamination for multilayer circuit boards will be covered. Emphasis will be placed on the structure-property-processing relationships required to make mobile devices highly reliable.

Jeff Gotro, Ph.D / President & Founder, Innocentrix. LLC

Join the SPE Thermoset Division at the exhibit area for a networking reception with the industry's finest. Speakers, sponsors and exhibitors will meet for cocktails and appetizers immediately after the conference.

All Things Bakelite: The Age of Plastic, a film by John Maher, is a virtual periodic table of elements that combine to create a joyous and provocative story about the “Father of modern plastics”. In 1907, Leo Hendrik Baekeland, a Belgian-born American chemist, made one of the most transformative discoveries of the 20th century: Bakelite. It was the first wholly synthetic plastic and it ushered in an explosion of new man-made materials that marked the beginnings of our modern industrial age. 

History comes alive in this unique one-hour documentary that is as innovative and fluid as its subject. It blends together beautifully realized period re-enactments of Baekeland’s life, rare archival footage, photos and journal entries, interviews with scientists, historians, and artists, and clever musical performances that capture both the wonder and the curse of Baekeland’s alchemy.

The primary source and inspiration for this illuminating film is one of the great grandsons of Baekeland himself, Hugh Karraker, who is also the film’s executive producer.   All Things Bakelite: The Age of Plastic is suitable for all audiences interested in the human drama that underlies history, science, business, and design—with the surprising twist that the nature of plastic reveals the nature of people.

Hugh Karraker / Executive Producer

As automobile engines become smaller and lighter, and passenger car interiors grow quieter, mitigation of engine NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) is a key concern for OEMs. “Rubberized” engine sprockets (crank, cam and timing sprockets) are a solution that OEMs are implementing in order to dampen chain noise and reduce the chain drive’s contribution to engine NVH. Minnesota Rubber & Plastics provides an over-molded sprocket (rubber-on-metal) solution that can survive the substantial durability and compatibility requirements of automotive engine components.

Dan McArdle / Vertical Market Manager, Transportation. Minnesota Rubber and Plastics

Learn about the role plastics will play in electric vehicles and industry innovations and needs in this critical area of development. This discussion from Continental Structural Plastics will include a look at battery boxes and lightweight body panels and structures, among other areas.

Eric Haiss / Executive Vice President, Continental Structural Plastics

In several markets, the objective of light weighting is one of the key characteristics by which material engineers justify the use of composite components.  In the auto industry, this is exemplified by the CAFE requirement of 41 mpg average for a given OEM fleet by 2021.  Part of this challenge involves removing weight without affecting the performance of the vehicle or the productivity rate of the process to manufacture the component.  Carbon fiber composites have the ability to meet the performance criteria and offer an excellent strength to weight ratios in

structural automotive applications.  Rapid cure is known to exist for many composite processes including epoxy and styrenated vinylesters.  Epoxy resins have been successful at obtaining a snap cure response, under 2 minutes cure cycles, but have limitations on the storage conditions of the prepregs manufactures and their shelf life.  Vinyl resins have a long history with snap cure performance and the ability to formulate around their cure kinetics.  In addition, they offer excellent shelf life stability at ambient storage conditions.  There exists several vinyl resin chemistries and formulations which allow for excellent adhesion to carbon fiber- key to maximizing composite’s performance requirements.

This paper investigates the adhesion of vinyl resins to commercially available carbon fiber inputs.  It will demonstrate mechanical properties of liquid vinyl resins used in carbon fiber SMC formulations  as well as hot melt vinyl hybrid resins used in long continuous fiber prepreg materials. In addition, the paper will present formulation opportunities to toughen vinyl systems – in both their polymer backbones and in polymer additives designed to optimize performance

Jim Bono / Senior Technical Manager- High Temperature  Polynt US Composites, Inc.

Thermoset parts were the forefront of our plastics industry decades ago, but have been replaced in large part by thermoplastics. This is due in part to the cost of materials, design flexibility, material performance enhancements, and filled thermoplastics. But, thermosets are making a comeback!
With today’s electronic technologies being designed into products in the automotive, medical, & aerospace industries, we’re seeing a wonderful opportunity for thermoset materials again, but part of the challenge at hand is that thermoset process & production technologies have not advanced to efficiencies of thermoplastic molding (process technology, automation, cycle improvement, etc..). Many molders are simply doing it the old fashion way - manually.
Furthermore, with CAFÉ standards on the rise, and the push for more fuel efficient transportation, thermosets will play an important role in automotive part designs that can both minimize weight, be heat resistant, electrically insolated, and designed for optimal part function.
With such good opportunity at hand, our thermoset industry needs to prepare itself with more automated systems & process advances to achieve the cycle requirements & piece price demands these industries will demand.

Jason Holrook / Sales Manager, Krause Maffei

The mold is the heart of the molding process and generally 60-70% of mold maintenance is mold cleaning. Traditional methods not only can create extended downtown, because the molds are hot, but can also be ineffective and cause mold wear. This presentation discusses how in-machine mold cleaning, at operating temperatures, can mean the difference between mediocre performance and high-profit productivity.

Dry ice cleaning allows molders to clean while molds are still hot and in the press, significantly reducing downtime due to cooling, disassembly, manual cleaning, re-assembly and reheating. Dry ice cleaning is non-abrasive (protecting the dimensions on parting lines, sealing surfaces, and various surface finishes) and non-conductive, and will not etch or profile most metals. It is also very effective at keeping vents clean for proper air evacuation during molding. Mold release agents buildup, plastic residue and out-gassing can quickly be removed, and intricate, complex shaped molds are easily cleaned with dry ice cleaning.

Because thermoset molded pars have flash, we will also discuss how this flash is easily removed utilizing dry ice. While many parts lend themselves to tumbling, some part geometries do not, and molders find themselves manually deflashing these parts. Dry ice, whether manually performed or an automated system, is very effective at quickly and efficiently removed flash.

This presentation will also briefly discuss the theory and process of cleaning with dry ice as well as the top 5 reasons for considering this solution for mold cleaning and part deflashing: improve quality, lower cost, increase productivity, extend the asset life of the tool, and improve worker safety and the environment by eliminating cleaning chemicals.

Steve Wilson / Director of Global Business Development – Plastics, Rubber & Composites, ColdJet

Reserve Your Room

Reserve a room at the beautiful Belmondl in downtown Charleston at the SPE Thermoset Group Rate of $239.00 per night. Enjoy pre and post conference stays at the group rate for a limited time.  Book online or call 1-800-831-3490 or email groupres.cph@belmond.com  Reference SPE THERMOSET TOPCON