Coe’s of Derby, based in the Midlands, is one of the UK’s oldest fiber reinforced plastic companies. It began designing and manufacturing glass reinforced plastic (GRP) products in 1951 with polyester resin and glass matt using the traditional hand laminating process, and now includes various resins and composite matting with processes including spray laminating and resin transfer molding.

The company had a significant breakthrough when it was involved in the development of an alternative to phenolic resins. Phenolic resins were some of the first thermosetting resins used in reinforced molded plastics and are a constituent part of Bakelite. According to Coe’s, phenolics offer a very high levels of fire resistance but require curing by heat, are difficult to work with and entail strict regulations around working conditions due to the formaldehyde released during the curing process.

The company says that its alternative material is easier to work with than phenolics and does not require the same level of manufacturing restrictions and produces lower levels of smoke and noxious fumes.

Coe’s phenolic alternative has been tested and approved for use by organizations across the UK that require high level of fire resistance; but which have low smoke and fume emissions in cases of fire.

It has approval from the Ministry of Defence, (used on nuclear submarines) the London Underground, and Network Rail. It has also been approved by Lloyds Register allowing it to be used in marine and other offshore applications.

Coe’s also specializes in bespoke manufacture for an astonishing eclectic range of industries, ranging from utilities, automotive, leisure, architecture and construction, with products ranging from garden gnomes to church steeples (yes they have made both) in quantities from a single motorcycle luggage rack to hundreds of 5 meter ‘stop logs’ for export to China, (stop logs used in creating dams for water barriers in flood defense). Recently Coe’s have produced GRP mortuary trays to help alleviate the bottleneck in mortuaries due to the Covid-19 Virus.

This article appeared in the March–April 2021 issue of Reinforced Plastics. Log in to your free profile to access the article.


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