November '19

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82 • RV PRO • November 2019 rv-pro.com O R I G I N A L E Q U I P M E N T T he sun's UV rays are hard on anything outdoors – including RV exteriors, which tend to be parked out- doors for long periods of time. Crane Composites, a leading manufacturer of FRP exterior sidewall panels for RVs, is tackling that issue with the debut of its Filon Max panels – the latest generation of the company's standard-finish coilable Filon brand product that Crane has been selling for 26 years. "The Filon brand has been an industry leader and this is our latest iteration," says Mike Cheney, Crane Composites' vice president for RVs. "It's geared toward the towable RV segment, which is the largest and fastest-growing segment of the market. The product is coming out with a higher gloss, so it provides a better appearance, and it has an improved color and gloss retention, so it will reduce the fade caused by UV rays." Crane touts the new product as being especially illuminating in natural light compared to previous generations of its Filon products. The new gel-coated panel is made of a durable, semi- rigid fiberglass-reinforced polyester resin material, making it highly scratch- and abrasion-resistant, with strong weathering characteristics, according to Cheney. Strong Focus on R&D Powers Innovation Crane's Chicago-area headquarters houses its R&D Center. It's there where Filon Max – which was in development for about two years – and other products have had their genesis. The center's focus is on projecting industry trends and devel- oping products to serve its needs. "We had been testing new materials to improve our product performance, and in parallel we began to receive feedback from our customers and RV owners desiring improved gloss and improved weathering," Cheney says. "This is an example of our team anticipating the needs of the industry." The R&D Center helps Crane bring products to market faster while also ensuring that each product goes through rigorous testing prior to commercialization of the product, according to Cheney. Filon Max was subjected to accelerated weathering testing, plus what Cheney describes as the full suite of testing to validate the product's performance. Crane officially unveiled it just prior to Elkhart Open House Week. Crane's R&D department has a two-pronged strategy of working closely with its customers to craft innovations based on their needs and suggestions, and also conducting its own Crane Takes it to the Max The supplier's new Filon Max product represents the latest evolution in light, durable sidewall material for the RV industry. By John McCurry Crane Composites' facility in Jonesboro, Ark., manufactures the company's coilable exterior sidewalls, including the Filon product line for towables. Crane touts its new Filon Max gel-coat product as having a high gloss for a better appearance and for being scratch- and abrasion-resistant.

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