Autumn 2016

Composite materials and systems from the Advanced Composites group of TenCate are used particularly in the aerospace and automotive industries. Other areas of application are the medical, sports and electronics sectors. TenCate Performance Composites has specialised in these for many years.  

TenCate Performance Composites has three sites: Performance Materials Corporation in Camarillo (California, United States), Baycomp Company in Burlington (Ontario, Canada) and PMC Guangzhou (Guangzhou (China). The basic products are lightweight TenCate CFRT® (continuous fibre-reinforced thermoplastic) fabrics and unidirectional tape.

performance composites water jet cutting
One of the technologies used is water jet cutting whereby a jet of water under extremely high pressure is used to cut shapes from various sheet materials. The water jet is so powerful that it can also cut composites and plastics.

These are three vertically integrated businesses. Both materials and parts are produced. Camarillo, where the high-volume production takes place, produces laminates and components, while Burlington produces unidirectional (UD) tape. In Guangzhou the employees use these materials to make mainly components and assembled products. 

performance composites laminate
The cut is of constant, high quality. No heat is applied to the material, so its characteristics remain unchanged

These include small parts that are used in the soles of sports and other special shoes of brands such as Nike, Reebok and Adidas.  

performance composites footwear

Asia is by far the biggest sales market for recreational and sports goods, with the home market of the US a close second. Footwear with these materials is used by participants in professional sports: from long-distance runners and basketball players to mountaineers.

performance composites footwear 2

The products can be found in hundreds of millions of pairs of shoes and under the feet of over five million chiropody patients.  

performance composites shoe
Composites materials for sports and other shoes for several brands, like Reebok 

performance composites ossur brace 1
TenCate Performance Composites products can be used for braces, orthopaedic correction and for skating

In addition to the recreation and medical sectors, TenCate Performance Composites serves the automotive, aviation, construction and industrial markets.

performance composites seatback
Composite materials are also incorporated into car seat backs

The materials are used in consumer electronics, the oil and gas industry (pipelines), backpacks and helmets for a range of sports. This work is mainly carried out in China, where a large volume of shoe production is based. The same applies to uses in consumer electronics. In Guangzhou employees produce tablet bodies to replace the heavier metal back. 

performance composites acer
 Lightweight bodies for tablets and laptops, like Acer 

That is already the case for Acer laptops and these parts are now being manufactured for HP laptops. Portable devices such as tablets, smartphones and laptops are used increasingly when travelling.

performance composites nike cleat
Nike cleats: a special run for the 2016 NFL Super bowl to celebrate its 50 year anniversary

Since the business started, production efficiency, accuracy and quality have remained as high as ever. ‘Visitors and customers are amazed and positively surprised when they see how streamlined and vertically integrated we are and how efficient our high-volume production is,’ says Laurie Calligaris (Director of Sales). ‘That’s also clear from audits carried out by Nike for example, which has investigated working conditions. We stand out in that regard, just as we do with our production process and our granulate. That also gives them confidence. It’s the way we make our products, staying competitive and being able to produce millions of parts a week.’

performance composites group

TenCate Performance Composites can also make the difference in terms of recyclability – ‘that’s increasingly an issue’ – and durability. ‘Our products score highly. The sole of a shoe crumbles in your hand after an average of forty years. After that time our sole is still completely intact.’

Blue fabric (Tecawork Blue 65287)