CoreLite is a global manufacturer of advanced Foam & Balsa Core Materials for structural Composites construction in high performance applications that demand light yet strong structures and parts.

The company supplies its materials globally, to customers in more than 40 countries, paving the future of structural performance worldwide.

The focus of CoreLite has been to deliver engineering solutions that make the difference in structural applications and enable manufacturers to gain more competitive advantage.

Interview with Paul Lewis, Managing Director at CoreLite.

Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company?

Paul Lewis: CoreLite supplies advanced Foam & Balsa Core Materials mainly for wind energy, boat building, automotive, rail, aerospace, defense, and industrial applications.

These core materials are used in a sandwich structure to reduce weight while increasing overall strength, serving as an ideal lightweight alternative to full metal or wooden structures. The goal is to enable the final structure or part to be lighter, stronger, and more sustainable. 

Commonly, the skins of these sandwich structures are made from resin-cured Fiberglass, and now more recently from Carbon Fiber or Natural Fibers.

E.E: What’s the news about new products?

P.L: CoreLite recently introduced a new foam core material engineered for impact resistance and high shear elongation: CoreLite PVC F Series. 

CoreLite PVC F Series is a closed-cell foam core material engineered for high toughness and tremendous impact resistance, delivering unmatched performance in shock absorbing structures. CoreLite PVC F Series has excellent shear elongation properties. It is cold formable and thermoformable. 

It has a very low water absorption rate and excellent chemical resistance. Ideal for many high performance, lightweight composite applications. 

This advanced and unique foam core material is engineered for use in applications that require to withstand heavy impacts, such as the hull of a boat or a cargo container floor.

To achieve our customer service and sustainability goals, CoreLite has invested in building proprietary robotics and information systems while embracing sustainability in everything we do. For example, we built the most advanced kiln-drying system for balsa wood; with the waste generated during the balsa wood manufacturing process we power the boiler used in the kiln-drying system to dry the raw material. Our information systems can predict what our customers will need and when, which helps us manage vendor managed inventories for them.

E.E: What are the ranges of products?

P.L: CoreLite supplies the following main products:

BALSASUD Core: end-grain balsa core material for high strength applications with the highest strength-to-weight ratio to withstand heavy impacts and carry dynamic loads.

CoreLite PVC: classic cross-linked PVC foam core material for lightweight applications that demand the highest performance. Available in a wide variety of densities and finishing options.

CoreLite PVC F Series: impact-resistant with high shear elongation foam core. Engineered for toughness.

CoreLite PET: sustainable foam core material made from recycled plastic bottles.

CoreLite Board: high density board designed for durability and screw retention. An ideal plywood replacement that will not rot and is 27% lighter.

E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active?

P.L: The composites market, which is our main market, is constantly evolving and innovating with new technologies being developed annually, if not monthly. Therefore, we see a lot of activity, growth and continued new opportunities for the use of our foam & balsa core material solutions.

There are so many new industries that are incorporating more composite parts to achieve more competitive advantage such as developing larger wind turbines that can produce more energy, increasing the payload of buses and trucks, making sport equipment more fatigue resistant, making cars go faster, enabling an airplane to spend more time flying and helping build the boats of the future.

CoreLite technologies play a key role in all these developments. CoreLite is not only a materials manufacturer. CoreLite is a solutions provider that works in a holistic approach with composite parts manufacturers to make their structures more durable, lighter, stronger, and more sustainable. 

E.E: What can you tell us about market trends?

P.L: The composites market is continuously innovating. The current trend is how to make the composite parts more sustainable. One of the approaches to this trend is the development of bio-composites, for which our BALSASUD Core product is positioned perfectly considering it also has the highest strength-to-weight ratio among core materials.

The composites market is also demanding solutions that will help them reduce weight further, for which we continue to invest resources in Research & Development to bring new innovative technologies to market that will solve the engineering challenges of tomorrow.

E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed?

P.L: Most of CoreLite innovations are focused on performance, lightweight and sustainability.

BALSASUD Core is one of our most innovative products, since it is an all-natural, organic, and renewable resource coming from Ecuador. CoreLite has engineered it to come in a wide variety of customizable formats. It is the most sustainable core material available in the industry. It has remarkable physical properties, starting with its outstanding strength-to-weight ratios (high shear and compression strength). It has exceptional fatigue and impact resistance properties. And it provides phenomenal sound and thermal insulation. In addition, it is a natural fire-retardant material. 

The CoreLite Board is another very innovative product. It is a high-density foam core material specially formulated to provide high physical properties. Engineered for easy workability, weatherproof and insulation properties, and excellent fire behavior. It is characterized for its phenomenal screw retention and amazing resistance to moisture; it will not rot, mold, or mildew. It is also compatible with multiple resins and adhesives. 

CoreLite Board is a stand-alone product and can be used without skins as a replacement for wood and plywood. This PVC foam has excellent fastener pullout strength and high flexural strength and stiffness. CoreLite® Board is 27% lighter than plywood. 

E.E: What estimations do you have for 2023?

P.L: During 2023 we are seeing continued growth and demand increase across all industries we are servicing. We are planning the capacity allocation for the next few years to ensure constant supply to all our customers.

During 2023 we are also seeing that more manufacturers across the globe will continue to introduce and expand the use composites into their current operations to achieve more competitive advantage.