Composites: Catch the Wave

2015-04-09 08.12.12

The halves of this surfboard, built by composites manufacturer mouldCAM in Bristol, Rhode Island, were sent to California to be used by the Visit Huntington Beach tourism campaign. Its creators seek to break the world record for the most people to catch a wave. Once complete, the 42-foot-long, 11-foot-wide board can be ridden by 62 people. Courtesy of mouldCAM



Masts for America’s Cup race boats. Rowing shells. A giant surfboard.

Airplane parts, radar domes, satnav dishes, spacecraft ramps. Wind tunnels, violins, outdoor works of art, bridges and buses.

What these diverse products — some of them, familiar to the marine industry — have in common is composites. That’s the combination of at least two materials whose individual physical and chemical traits are manufactured into a single material with different properties.

Whether they’re a producer, product weaver, supplier, engineer or mold builder, American companies — many of them marine enterprises with roots in boatbuilding — in composites manufacturing number 3,000, according to statistics from the American Composites Manufacturers Association.

It’s an industry that, as the demand for lighter, stronger, and corrosion-resistant structures continues to grow, is accelerating steadily. Annually, the U.S. composites industry generates nearly $70 billion in revenue and is projected to grow an average of 6.5 percent by 2020.

At IBEX, composites is a core track in the education seminar series. And, the composites pavilion takes up the single largest amount of show floor space — 14,000 square feet of the total area. More than 70 companies have already signed on to exhibit in the pavilion at the 2015 show at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville from September 15 to September 17.

New at the pavilion this year is the Future Materials hands-on exhibit. Curated by editors from IBEX co-founder Professional BoatBuilder as well as CompositesWorld magazines, this collection of new materials, processes, and technologies will be gathered from a variety of sources including marine, aerospace, and automotive industries, plus some applied academic research and development. Applicants have until May 8, 2015, to submit work they want considered for inclusion in the collection. Send applications to Aaron Porter ( or Ginger Gardiner (

Elaine Lembo

Education Seminar Manager


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Marine Industry Momentum

I’ll admit it: I’m an optimist. I’m a glass half-full kind-of-gal. I always look on the bright side because I prefer it to the alternative. But I’m also a pragmatist and I am driven by cold-hard facts and data. And I can tell you, the Marine Industry has Momentum. I talk to manufacturers, boat builders, surveyors, industry writers and publishers all the time – it’s my job. And this year, you can feel it.

Now that you’ve seen our video – do you feel the momentum, too?

Kate Holden, Marketing Director/Sales

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IBEX by the Numbers

Is it really Spring?  This has been a long, cold winter for so many of us. I’m happy to see signs of Spring as we ramp up our plans to promote this year’s IBEX – our 25th Anniversary Show, September 15th – 17th at the Kentucky Expo Center, Louisville, KY.   I want to remind you to begin your planning as well; travel, hotel, marketing, there’s so much to see and do over the course of just a few days, planning is the key to your success. Get started on our web site with these links:

IBEX 2015 is shaping up to be an exceptional event. You should know there are currently 479 Exhibiting Companies who occupy over 97,000 square feet of exhibit space – all on one exhibit floor!  And currently we have over 55 NEW Companies!  We can’t wait to see the hundreds of new products being introduced this year; the products that will shape of future of our industry. IBEX is the place to be if you are launching a new product or you’re searching for something new.  Oh, and don’t forget – we have three specialty pavilion areas this year: Composites, Electronics, and Compliance & Standards.

Check back often and keep reading our blog for updates on what’s new at IBEX. And plan to help us celebrate 25 IBEX’s – and its impact on our industry. I look forward to seeing you all in September.

Tina Sanderson, Sales Director

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Caveat Emptor! Let the buyer beware

To all our valued exhibitors, please beware of phone and email solicitations claiming to be affiliated with IBEX. Each year we hear about phone and email scams cleverly disguised as official IBEX business. Be smart, and check with us before you give your company credit card information over the phone. Clues that you are dealing with a possible scam are:

  • the person can’t pronounce “IBEX” properly
  • they demand immediate payment, or must have your credit card no later than   5:00 p.m. today!
  • the call is from a foreign number, or blocked.
  • the return address is from a foreign country.

Hotel solicitations are common so here is an easy preventative measure.  Book your room NOW through the ONLY official IBEX 2015 hotel provider, the Louisville Convention Bureau. Anyone else who calls, or emails you is a scam. Click here to go to hotel page. My advice to you is book your room now, and just hang up on all future hotel calls.

The annual mail scam to be on the lookout for is a group called Expo Fair Guide. This scam requests you update your IBEX / Professional BoatBuilder information for a “free pre-registered directory listing.” A return envelope with a pre-affixed airmail stamp and a return address to a foreign country is included. The foreign address is your first clue that this is not a legitimate IBEX, PBB, or NMMA product. These offers can be VERY deceiving, and many exhibitors have fallen prey to these groups who then harass you for payment of the ridiculously high hidden fees offered in the small print.

When you receive a questionable offer claiming to be IBEX, please take a moment and contact anyone on the IBEX team by sending a quick email or making a phone call to confirm it is legitimate. Click here to view the IBEX team contact page.

-Anne Dunbar, Show Director

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The Father-Daughter Chat: Ethanol — Really?

Only recently have I fully begun to understand the scope of the ethanol controversy in our industry. Over dinner a few weeks ago with my dad, a commercial fisherman in Maine, the conversation migrated to boats (it always does) and the trouble he was having with his outboard; a late-90’s carbureted 4-stroke. The problem, which comes as no surprise to anyone in the marine industry or anyone who pays attention to marine industry news, is that his engine and ethanol do not mix.

The use of ethanol, a fuel oxygenate and aggressive solvent, which, due to its hygroscopic nature, inhibits fuel flow and dangerously reduces engine performance, just doesn’t make sense in a marine environment.  My dad’s engine has been in and out of the repair shop and he’s frustrated. Boats are central to his livelihood. In addition to his frustration, he’s had to miss work and drive all over getting this fixed.

I am frustrated, too. It really struck me that my dad’s problem with his outboard stems from decisions made by politicians in Washington, D.C., directed primarily by lobbyists and businessmen motivated by pure self-interest, not the broader prosperity of fishermen, the marine industry, or the environment.

I wanted to learn more about how ethanol works so I spoke with a good friend of mine who is a marine mechanic and boat systems whiz. I was so surprised to learn how much time he spends fixing outboards because of the ethanol in gasoline. It accounts for nearly all the work he does on outboard engines during the summer season. He deals with the effects of ethanol in our gasoline every day. Every day.

So now I’ve got my dad’s outboard that’s in the shop and my friend and other outboard mechanics who spend significant parts of every working day fixing outboards because of the ethanol mandate. And then I consider all the recreational boaters who are frustrated by their experiences on the water because of unreliable engines and unnecessary problems. I need to do something – something for my family, for my friends, and for my industry.

The American Boating Congress takes place in May and allows the marine industry to come together in Washington and fight for the issues that matter to us. I may only be one voice, in one industry, but I believe we can make a difference. That’s why I will be on Capitol Hill for the American Boating Congress, May 11 -13, to advocate for an end to the Renewable Fuel Standard. The amount of time that is wasted dealing with ethanol in our industry is troublesome and the impact its production has on the environment is irreversible. Let’s come to together to advocate for more efficient alternatives and put an end to the ethanol mandate. For more information about the American Boating Congress, click here.

I’ll see you in Washington.

-Kate Holden

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Chicken or Egg?

As the 25th International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition and Conference and its renown education seminar series approaches, we thankfully don’t have to noodle over such existential quandaries.

We at IBEX know what came first, where it is now, and where it’s headed. The chicken and egg story still inspires and provides IBEX-style clues — but we’ll get to that later.

Where’s IBEX Now?

For starters, it’s stronger than ever and easily the leading, largest marine industry trade show around. With a following not just in the United States but around the world, IBEX is produced by Professional BoatBuilder magazine and the National Marine Manufacturers Association. Trade Show Executive Magazine has named IBEX to the Fastest 50 Class of 2014. With more than 550 exhibitors and 7,000 attendees, not to mention 56 education seminars, dozens of free exhibitor workshops as well as daylong super sessions, IBEX is the place to be for technical boatbuilding expertise.

Where’s IBEX Headed?

This year’s event is at the Kentucky Exposition Center, Louisville, Kentucky, from September 15-17. In 2016, IBEX moves to the Tampa Convention Center, Tampa, Florida, from September 27-29.

IBEX: Looking Back

Our mission — unrivaled education and advancement of boatbuilding techniques, tools, materials and components — is the logical extension of show founder, Professional Boatbuilder magazine. In response to reader requests, ProBoat editors started IBEX in 1992 as a forum where the marine industry sector could do business, share ideas, and accelerate new product development.

As the new manager of the seminar series, I thought it would be fun and enlightening to hunt through the archives and share some historical anecdotes. Here’s how the founding editors in the first year of ProBoat’s existence put out the call to create IBEX, in the 1990 August/September issue (No. 6):

“Among the more insistent requests we’ve received have been those asking us to produce a boatbuilders show, one unlike any other. This show (which we have named The International Boatbuilders’ Expo) will be centered around hard-hitting business seminars and exhibits of manufacturers and suppliers.

“It seems from what you’ve told us that you want to: come to one location, meet with other builders, repairers and designers, have an opportunity to speak with the technical staffs of leading materials and supply manufacturers, and be stimulated by targeted business, technical and marketing seminars.”

After asking readers to fill in and return feedback cards, ProBoat’s editors got busy. The result of their efforts came in the February/March 1992 issue of ProBoat (No. 15)  announcing the show Feb. 5-7 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Besides flagging the first IBEX on the magazine’s cover, the issue contained a full-page ad as well as an eight-page guide to the show, with 32 seminar descriptions, a list of exhibitors and workshops as well as a mail-in registration form. Seminar themes ranged from “Making the Most of CAD/CAM” to “Mastering Modified Resin Systems” and “Controlling Galvanic and Stray-Current Corrosion.”

It doesn’t sound all that different from what will be on offer in September 2015, though certainly time and technology have moved thinking and processes into a vastly different arena. And more importantly, the founding mission of IBEX remains intact, 25 shows later.

Chicken or Egg?

A casual episode of web surfing didn’t really answer which came first for me, and I’ll admit it was a silly hoax to get you to read about the origins of IBEX. Yet it certainly drove home the value of an event like IBEX and its seminars, where problem-solving and discoveries about materials and methods are what it’s all about.

According to an online version of a story that appeared in Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper a few years back, scientists uncovered evidence — the discovery of a protein in chicken ovaries that’s essential to egg formation — that they believe swings the chicken-egg argument in favor of the chicken. The discovery’s value can’t be overlooked, argues Professor John Harding, for its other uses, according to the Daily Mail account.

“Understanding how chickens make egg shells is fascinating in itself but can also give clues towards designing new materials and processes,” Harding said. “Nature has found innovative solutions that work for all kinds of problems in materials science and technology — we can learn a lot from them.”

Alas, if you can’t take your clues from Mother Nature — there’s always IBEX. See you in September.

-Elaine Lembo, IBEX Seminar Manager



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IBEX: Central to Your Success

There are many marine industry professionals out there who will agree with this post’s title – IBEX has been Central to Your Success. That’s why we incorporated it into our new creative for 2015. If you have not seen our new look, please visit our website  And while you are there check-out the homepage where you’ll find a video, our latest news, and photos from the 2014 show.  And you won’t want to miss the 2015 floor plan and exhibitor list. See for yourself who’s setup for success at IBEX 2015.


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You Say You Want a Revolution?

IKEA recently introduced a new line of wireless charging furniture. Instead of coming home and immediately plugging your phone into a charger, you simply set the phone down on your spiffy new wireless charging table. Voila! Just like that, the ease of charging has gone up a notch. No more searching for plugs or cords.

According to Wired magazine, “It’s far from perfect, but the technology is advancing fast.” Last year at IBEX 2014 we introduced The Connected Boat display, which offered the boatbuilding industry the chance to see what’s happening in connectivity for boats. This large, live display hosted more than a dozen marine products and systems that were integrated from helm to stern.  This year, the 2015 Connected Boat display will be even bigger and better with even more products offering connectivity.

Why? As the folks at Wired magazine observed, the technology is advancing fast. The mission of the IBEX Connected Boat is to show real-world systems using real-world solutions. We welcome any exhibitor who has products that can be wired, including table manufacturers, to call or email us if you are interested.

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From Anne Dunbar, IBEX Show Director

Thank you for helping us to make IBEX Tampa 2014 an incredibly successful show.  I know selecting Tampa as a location for IBEX was the right choice.  It was energizing to see our industry well-represented, helping us create a vibrant, reinvigorated show.  Given the unique offerings of the Tampa Convention Center with its on-water options and close proximity to marine businesses throughout the Southeast boating region, we look forward to returning to Tampa in 2016.

I’m equally excited about the opportunities that lie ahead in Louisville, KY in 2015. Louisville’s proximity to leading boat builders and manufacturers across the Midwest, North and South, make it a central, low-cost destination for a majority of our industry. In addition, our plans for Louisville, which we’ll begin to unveil in the coming months, promise to bring a renewed momentum to this location.

While some of our community requested that IBEX remain in Tampa in 2015, the many benefits Louisville offers guided our decision to keep IBEX in Louisville in 2015.  In addition, keeping IBEX on course for Louisville honors our prior commitments to the city, the convention center, and several hotel chains we do business with. I feel strongly that acting with integrity to honor our commitments is important.

I am dedicated to a long-term strategy of rotating IBEX between the two largest areas of boat building and marine manufacturing in North America. Each year, the show will shift between a central location and a Florida location.  Show dates for IBEX Tampa 2016 are October 4 – 6, 2016.

I believe this creates the right combination for IBEX. One that brings together boat builders and decision makers who value IBEX and recognize that location is secondary to the business the show generates and the growth it brings to our industry.

We’d like to announce and invite you to join us as we celebrate our 25th IBEX, September 15-17, 2015 at the Kentucky Exposition Center. In addition to the valuable networking you’ve become accustomed to in Louisville, in 2015 the entire industry will celebrate 25 years of marine innovation, technology, and excellence as IBEX rolls out the red carpet in honor of our 25th event. It will be a party you won’t want to miss and a milestone we can all be proud of.

Thank you for supporting IBEX and being a valued partner.  Please feel free to contact me anytime.


Anne Dunbar

IBEX Show Director

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With An Increase In Attendance Exhibitors Provide Positive Feedback As IBEX 2014 Enters Final Day At Tampa Convention Center

An overwhelming majority of the exhibitors at the 2014 International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition & Conference (#IBEX14) were thrilled with the quality and quantity of attendees at this annual marine industry trade show which is now in its final day. The conference kicked off at 8:30 am today and the exhibit hall will be open from 10 am – 3 pm.

“Attendance is up over previous years and the response to the Tampa venue has been extremely positive,” said Anne Dunbar, Show Director of IBEX. “We thank our partners, the exhibitors, attendees, speakers and press for helping make our return to Florida a huge success.” Final attendance numbers will be released at the close of the show.

IBEX 2014 Exhibit Floor

Social media, managed by Josh Chiles, Founder, Engaged! spread quickly with mentions for IBEX surpassing 1 million impressions faster than any year before. The Exhibitor Video Awards: People’s Choice Awards Facebook application also set a new record with over 2,180 votes cast.

Exhibitors had this to say about the first two days of the event:

“The entire IBEX experience has been great for us as a new exhibitor with a new product. Getting face-to-face exposure with media, buyers, distributors, and fellow manufacturers has been invaluable. In 3 days we have been able to reach decision makers and get product feedback that may have taken years to acquire otherwise. And from an organizational and professional environment IBEX is running a first class event,” Steve Fill, President, Docktail Bar.

“IBEX is the best venue for the marine industry and this event has been a great show with great traffic. We had the opportunity to meet with key customers and potential customers and tell them not only about our products but also about our company as we celebrate our 20th anniversary,” said Matt Peat, executive vice president, Transhield USA.

“We are new to the marine industry and we received a very warm welcome. We met with a lot of great people and got some very strong leads. We have been able to introduce new material ideas to the marine industry which have been used successful in the motorcycle, military and fashion industries,” said Caroline Berna, Account Manager Material ConneXion.

“The 2014 IBEX was terrific and we received a lot of great feedback about the new format for The Connected Boat, which we partnered with IBEX on. . People in the marine industry are much more comfortable with wireless technology and understanding that Cloud-based services are now a reality. We met with a lot of potential customers and well qualified leads. We are looking forward to Louisville in 2015,” said Steve James, Vice President of Chetco Digital.

“This is our first time at IBEX, and we were very pleased with the reaction from the Marine Industry to our 3-D printing machines. This has been a great show, and the attendees were excited about this new concept of printing their own prototypes within hours,” said Vince Denino, of Prototyping Solutions a representative of Stratasys 3D.

At the end of the day, Professional BoatBuilder magazine hosted a VIP Reception for their 25th Anniversary by recognizing the advertisers who started with them in 1989 when the publication first launched, and are still advertising. Those advertisers included American Boat Builders and Repairers Association, Awlgrip, Baltek Corporation, Epifanes, Paul Gardner Company, Gougeon Brothers (PRO-SET & WEST System) Interlux, Marine Concepts, Marine Machining & Manufacturing, Paneltronics, Soundown Corporation, Systems Three Resins, Westlawn Institute of Marine Technology.

“‘We thank these companies and recognize them for having the courage to sign on as advertisers during our first year of publication and are still with us a quarter of a century later. We will continue our dedication to bringing our readers the skills, materials, and technologies of building and repairing boats,” said Aaron Porter, Editor, Professional BoatBuilder magazine.

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