Dicor Corp.’s Vixen Composites affiliate has taken the next step in its strategic plan to become a complete supplier of sidewall and other external panels and composites by introducing Vixen FRP products.
“When Vixen was formed a couple of years ago, the plan we had was to develop an unmatched range of products that would bring the newest and best FRP and composite technologies to the RV market,” stated Gregg Fore, president of the Elkhart, Ind.-based supplier, in a press release. “We started by focusing on producing our Vixenite composite panels, which we have successfully introduced into a variety of non-RV markets, and quickly moved to work with manufacturers across the globe to develop RV-specific FRP panel technology to improve the long-term performance of RV exteriors.”
The new product lines are marketed under the name Vixen FRP, and are comprised of a family of products that address different application and finish requirements. The first product introduced will be FibroPlus, specifically designed to boost the performance of RV sidewalls. FibroGloss, an extra high-gloss FRP, will be introduced early in 2013, along with FibroGrip, a non-skid material, and FibroTrans, a translucent panel.
Vixen General Manager Gordon Frost said that FibroPlus and FibroGloss will be available in a variety of widths and colors and in rolls up to 200 feet in length. Frost explained that “some competitive FRP products use general purpose resins with lower fiberglass content and may sell thinner panels, while Vixen’s products are constructed of a proprietary blend of resins and manufactured using new curing technology. They have a minimum thickness of 0.050. These are all important factors in the long term performance of the FRP.”
Fore added, “After working with several global manufacturers, Dicor selected the Yucel Group to provide these specifically formulated FRP Products to Vixen Composites. Yucel made a solid commitment to meet Vixen’s specifications and quality standards, expanded their facility for RV demand, and have proven technical ability along with the integrity and strong principles needed to satisfy both Vixen and its customers.”
According to Fore, these new products are perfect complements to the Vixenite Composite panels introduced earlier by Vixen. “With the addition of this family of FRP products, Vixen will now be able to offer sidewall products that meet the needs of the majority of RV products produced on an annual basis.”
For more information call Gordon Frost at (574) 264-2699. Vixen FRP products will be part of the “Center for the Amazing” Dicor Corp. booth in the North Wing Lobby, Hall 2A, of the Kentucky Exposition Center during the National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Nov. 27-29.
While Dicor Corp. executives had freely discussed the company’s new Vixen composite panel technology for several months leading up to the National RV Trade Show, they had steadfastly refused to unveil the new sidewall prior to the annual trade show. Not surprisingly, the buzz surrounding the new panels created quite a crowd at the Dicor Corp. exhibit inside Louisville’s Kentucky Exposition Center.
“We haven’t necessarily reinvented anything,” Gordon Frost, general manager of Dicor Corp.’s new Vixen Composites division, told RVBUSINESS.COM. “Perhaps a better description would be that we’ve enhanced existing technologies and combined technologies together into what we call ‘panelogics.’ The process is all custom-designed; there’s nothing quite like it out there.”
According to Frost, one very distinguishing feature of the Vixen product is that the company has worked tirelessly to ‘design out’ the potential for human error in production.
“The amount of control and automation that we’ve applied is phenomenal,” he noted. “We do have employees, but we’ve tried to keep employee ‘touch’ down to basically loading raw materials and unloading the finished product. It’s a highly technical manufacturing process.”
“First,” added Dicor President Gregg Fore, “we don’t use any wood. Not all of the products in use today use wood, but many do. All (of them) that we’re aware of use a seamed substrate, where there’s a seam every four feet. Those seams have a tendency to visibly show through in certain situations — especially where there’s a drastic temperature variation between hot and cold — where substrates butted up to one another.
“We hope, by producing a more homogenized panel, to eliminate that, or at least to decrease it considerably.”
Vixen sidewalls, by the same token, supposedly aren’t as susceptible to high temperatures or darker colors. “Today’s (other available) products have served their customers very well,” he added. “But as the customers used them, they noted some shortcomings. We’ve worked with the customer to address those, and we expect that our product will provide better and longer-term cosmetics on the exterior of an RV.”
Newly incorporated Vixen Composites is introducing an innovative new composite sidewall panel called Vixenite that offers many advantages for RVers and RV manufacturers. Vixen Composites is an affiliate of the Dicor Corp., whose affiliated companies are leading suppliers to RV manufacturers and the RV aftermarket.
A Vixenite panel and other Dicor products are on display in the Dicor booth No.260 in the North Wing Lobby of the Kentucky Exposition Center at the National RV Trade Show in Louisville today (Nov. 30) through Thursday.
According to a press release, Vixenite composite panels are manufactured in a highly controlled, fully automated, continuous process that eliminates common variables that contribute to dimensional and performance inconsistencies and failures. The flat, composite panels can be produced at any length desired in widths up to 120 inches, with a 0.19-inch thickness and more thickness options to come. Vixenite panels are lighter than wood-based panels and can be supplied in any automotive paint color and clear coat. There are no discreet layers, no wood, no substrate seams, and excellent thermal and mechanical properties.
Panelogic unique proprietary process
“This is an amazing and unique proprietary process that has been more than two years in the making,” said Gordon Frost, general manager of Vixen Composites. “What our team has essentially done is take existing technology and chemistry and put them together in a revolutionary new way that yields a better composite product.”
Perhaps the biggest benefit to RV manufacturers, dealers and consumers is Vixenite’s ability to hold up to the rigors of RVing without running the risk of difficult and costly wall replacement or repair due to wall panels bubbling, separating and internal delamination. Its structure is virtually a solid fusion of proprietary materials that are processed at over 300 degrees Fahrenheit. As a result, extreme heat situations will not create the thermal effect in Vixenite that causes it to post cure, thus avoiding panel damage. Also, the manufacturing process ensures a consistent, quality finish for RV manufacturers to work with.
Frost is part of a team assembled by Vixen with extensive experience in the field of composites. Prior to his association with the Dicor Corporation, Frost worked eleven years for Owens Corning — Fabwel Division/Crane Composites. During that tenure he served as Technical Director/Technical Leader, Manager of Research and Development, and Application Engineer. He also received the Slayter Award for Innovation for his work in developing the CTEC all-composite, wood-free, high-gloss exterior RV sidewall panel. He holds multiple U.S. patents and is Six Sigma Black Belt trained.
In-line finishing process
Another example of what Vixen’s manufacturing approach can do is a patent-pending coatings technology to ensure automotive finishes. The finish is applied in-line with no VOC’s or HAP’s, thus meeting and exceeding EPA guidelines for airborne pollution. Finishes are instantly cured with ultraviolet lights for an automotive-quality result. There is no fading, no chalking and no added lead time. This means Vixen Composites can help RV manufacturers produce full-body paint more efficiently.
”The line automation and in-line finishing procedure shortens manufacturing time considerably when compared to other composite processes,” said Frost.
Making a better RV
“Overall, the equipment is designed for dimensional and process flexibility, which, combined with our expertise in composites, allows us to address and meet many of the existing flat panel composite challenges,” said Frost.
“As a company affiliated with Dicor Corporation, we at Vixen are dedicated to working with each of our manufacturing customers in whatever way is needed to make composites work better for their particular applications.”
For more information visit www.dicor.com/amazingstuff.
Dicor Corp. is pulling things together, both literally and visually.
As the company prepares to make several product introductions at the 48th Annual National RV Show, Nov. 30-Dec. 2 in Louisville, Ky., it was in the process of moving its corporate headquarters and a number of affiliate companies to a new, shared Elkhart, Ind., location. Also in the works was a corporate rebranding effort to more closely identify the corporation’s various units under the Dicor umbrella.
The privately held northern Indiana industry supplier, with some 100 employees, was doing all that while launching Vixen Composites, a new business unit that uses a computer-controlled system to manufacture “advanced composite” RV sidewall panels up to 10 feet wide and 45 feet or more in length.
Dicor Corp. President Gregg Fore said the new brand identity, kept under wraps until its unveiling in Louisville, will help customers see both visually and “in practice” that the corporation encompasses not only Dicor Products but also Alta Resources, Seal Design and United Shade, along with the new Vixen unit.
Alta Resources, Seal Design and Dicor Products will share facilities with Vixen, at 2965 LaVanture Place in Elkhart, after moves to be completed by December, Fore said. Part of United Shade and the company’s Window Expressions division, which serves the commercial and residential building markets, will share the older Dicor on the city’s north side facilities.
A company news release explained that the $6.1 million startup and relocation project “is symbolic of the company’s recent reorganized efforts to communicate a consistent corporate message across all product brands.”
“Right now, we offer what looks like an unrelated group of products,” said Fore, chairman for 2011 of the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). “However, each product and each brand is driven by the same core values established at the corporate level. We want to be very clear, as a corporation, about what we stand for. And we think our new branding approach will more effectively communicate that.”
Fore said the unique Vixen Composites manufacturing process addresses the “typical problems” associated with sidewalls. The finished product is entirely seamless, down through the substrate, and includes no wood. It’s cured at temperatures of more than 250 degrees to prevent the “post forming” esthetic flaws that sometimes result when resins are cured at lower temperatures, Fore said.
“This is a proprietary process that we’ve spent the last couple years developing,” he noted. “It uses technology that is a mix between existing technology and new technology that we’ve paired with it that enables us to scale the process and size so we can produce a panel up to 10 feet wide and in virtually any length.”
A number of towable RVs are expected to be on display at the Louisville show featuring new sidewalls from Vixen Composites. Vixen’s customers also include Class A motorhome builders, said Fore, adding that Vixen’s products also have potential applications in commercial transportation, the marine sector and in building construction.
Dicor Corp.’s varied divisions are also planning on introducing several other new products or improvements for OEM and aftermarket customers in Louisville.
Seal Designs will display new thermoplastic extrusion seals, a polyurethane spray insulation/sealant and “an advanced new technology” for exterior seals. Dicor Products, in turn, will unveil lightweight, European-style RV cabinetry and new roofing and flooring products.
Alta Resources’ new offerings include Eurostyle table bracket mounts and pedestals, TV slides and a multifunctional remote control, while United Shade plans to introduce cordless honeycomb shades and new “SpaceSaver” rollershade systems that can be motorized.
TaigMarks Inc. has been named as the new marketing and public relations agency for Dicor Corp. Both firms are based in Elkhart, Ind.
TaigMarks is a full-service advertising, marketing and public relations firm with particular expertise in product launches and branding strategy. It has a long history of service to the RV industry, including clients such as Coachmen-Forest River, Workhorse Custom Chassis, Dometic, Blue Ox and TRA Green Certification. It also serves a diverse range of clients involved in such fields as health care, hospitality, outdoor recreation, cabinetry, financial services, trucking, higher education and poultry drinking systems, according to a news release.
Presently TaigMarks is assisting Dicor with an extensive rebranding effort and the marketing launch of its new affiliate, Vixen Composites.
“Dicor is a great match for us because of the depth of RV knowledge that we both bring to the table,” said Steve Taig, president of TaigMarks. “Dicor is the kind of client that we enjoy working with because it allows us to use the full range of our capabilities, from developing brand charters to coordinating marketing and public relations action plans. We think the ability to develop a branding plan from conception, and then helping to implement the marketing plan, makes us most effective.”
Dicor is a leading supplier of innovative products to the OEM and component manufacturers for recreational and conversion vehicle industries, as well to distributors in the recreational vehicle and automotive aftermarkets. It is currently bringing to fruition a $6 million start-up of Vixen Composites, which will manufacture advanced composite materials for RVs and other products.
Current affiliated companies include Dicor, United Shade, Alta Resources and Seal Design, all of which provide a variety of components, materials and services that enhance RV manufacturing and the RV experience for the consumer.
“We appreciate TaigMarks’ RV knowledge and the strategic thought its associates put behind everything they do,” said Dicor President Gregg Fore. “We think TaigMarks and its creative team will help us focus our message and provide a more cohesive identity for all our companies, which will keep Dicor’s success growing for many years to come.”
For more information about TaigMarks, visit www.taigmarks.com or call (574) 294-8844.