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Promise of wind powers WebCore toward growth

If today's climate favors wind energy, WebCore Technologies may be the barometer.

The Miamisburg company, formed in 1991, went commercial in late 2004 and 2005 with its innovative TYCOR material, says Rob Banerjee, the company's vice president of business development.

TYCOR, a fiber reinforced composite core, is used in a variety of industries. One of WebCore's largest customers builds a cargo ship for the Navy -- using components made of TYCOR. Other military applications include military shelters, in which WebCore materials have been used for several years. And the company is working with the Air Force to develop a portable runway that would allow a plane to land where no official runway exists.

But wind turbine blades is where WebCore sees the real growth potential.

Most wind turbine blades to date have been built with balsa wood or PVC foam core, Banerjee says. "Our business has been to replace balsa wood or PVC foam with TYCOR. It's a better product, lighter weight, lower cost, makes a stronger blade, more reliable supply, so that's our primary focus."

In 2008, when it received its first wind-related order, WebCore quadrupled its capacity and ran 22 hours a day, six days a week. Like a lot of companies, WebCore's business fell off during the 2009 economic downturn, but Banerjee says things are looking better for 2010.

Funding from the Ohio Third Frontier -- a $1-million advanced energy grant last year to further develop its wind-related capabilities and participation another Third Frontier-funded project to develop a composite tower for wind turbines -- has helped put the company in the thick of things.

The company employs 32.

Source: Rob Banerjee, WebCore
Writer: Gene Monteith

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