TechConnect speaks with Joe Fox Director, Emerging & External Technologies at Ashland Performance Materials
What are technology/solution areas that you have a primary interest in?
Ashland Performance Materials (APM) is a leading global supplier of thermosetting resins for use in composite applications in a wide variety of markets, including Transportation, Building & Construction, Infrastructure, Corrosion, and Marine. Our composites business is a material substitution business, where we look for opportunities to replace materials such as steel, aluminum, wood and concrete. We also look for opportunities where composites can be used to enhance the performance of other materials.
Key areas of interest for Ashland related to polymer matrix composites include:
• Thermosetting resins / additives with lower flame spread, lower smoke and lower toxicity
• Thermosetting resins with vastly improved resistance to uv
• New applications of composites
• High speed methods and fast-curing resins for composite fabrication
• Design and predictive modeling of composites
What level of commercial maturity do you typically look for in technology partnerships?
Ideally, we are searching for technologies that have already been commercialized or are close to commercialization. However, we are very open to assessing technologies that are still at pilot scale or even lab scale.
Please describe your company’s Innovation model and how this model helps to find new innovations.
In our open innovation model, we have modified the traditional “Want, Find, Get, Manage” approach to external technology to “Want, Find, Assess, Get, Manage” where there is a very important internal assessment step in the middle. We have mechanisms in place for each step in this process.
Why work with TechConnect and the National Innovation Summit as a technology prospector?
Who are you looking to meet with? One of our strategies for innovation is to establish relationships with entrepreneurial, start-up companies with technology that fits our needs. We are looking at potential upstream or downstream partnerships in this value chain for composites.
What did you like most about the 2014 conferences?
The Innovation Spotlights were an excellent opportunity to hear about both large and small companies’ innovative new products and their external technology needs. The presentations in the technical sessions focused on several topics of great interest to Ashland (eg., green buildings), and provided another opportunity for potential partnerships throughout the value chain.