Carbon Fiber Recycled from Aircraft Production Delivers Sought-After Aesthetics for Kayak Paddle

WINONA, MINNESOTA, USA - Werner Paddles of Sultan, WA, a manufacturer of fine handcrafted boating paddles, has always combined the most advanced technologies and features to bring out the best paddle performance. So, when they began having aesthetic issues with their smooth, jet-black kayak paddle blades, they moved quickly to find a solution.

The blades made from carbon fiber reinforced plastic are designed to look as good as they perform. "The carbon fiber compound Werner used for the blades is more commonly found in the manufacture of structural components where surface quality is not a priority," explained Tim Bailey, engineering manager of Werner's molder, KASO Plastics of Vancouver, WA. "For Werner, the cosmetics of the material were as important as the strength, rigidity, and other physical properties." The challenge was to find a way to deliver both performance and aesthetics.

Bailey and his engineering team tried upwards of a dozen different materials from several suppliers without success until they connected with custom compounder RTP Company who recommended a recycled content material. The material, a carbon fiber reinforced compound, was developed by RTP Company with assistance from aircraft manufacturer Boeing who introduced them to the Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association, an emerging composite recycling network that Boeing helped establish. According to Pete George, Boeing's Aircraft Composites Recycling Principal Investigator, "We looked to RTP Company for high-end applications to use carbon fiber reclaimed from manufacturing scrap from our 787 Dreamliner airplane production."

The premium, aircraft grade carbon fiber delivered the physical characteristics required at a lower fiber loading, allowing KASO to meet aesthetic requirements, something none of the virgin materials were able to do. "In addition," said Bailey, "The material is actually a little bit easier to process, and the system cost between the recycled content carbon fiber compound and virgin alternatives is insignificant."

"Werner's kayak paddle is a great example of Boeing's sustainable manufacturing strategy at work, where post-industrial scrap from aircraft production provides a high-performance solution for a consumer product," said Bill Carberry, Boeing's Aircraft Recycling Project Manager.

Pleased with the both the look and performance of the new blades, Werner knows that using recycled content in the manufacture of the blades will be especially attractive to the company's dedicated customer base of environmentally conscious outdoor enthusiasts.

Molder KASO has worked with RTP Company on several projects over the years, and is very appreciative of the service they provide. Bailey noted, "Their technical support is superior, and that is very important to us. We mold highly engineered parts that are very demanding and selection of materials is critical to success. Many suppliers have application engineers that can help to a certain extent, but we've never seen anyone as knowledgeable and spot on as the people at RTP Company."

For more information on RTP Company's structural or custom engineered thermoplastic compounds, call 507-454-6900 or toll-free 800-433-4787, visit or e-mail

About RTP Company

RTP Company, headquartered in Winona, Minn., is a global compounder of custom engineered thermoplastics. The company has 12 manufacturing plants on three continents, plus sales representatives throughout the Americas, Europe, and Asia. RTP Company's engineers develop customized thermoplastic compounds in over 60 different engineering resin systems for applications requiring color, conductive, elastomeric, flame retardant, high temperature, structural, and wear resistant properties.

About Werner Paddles

Werner paddles are carefully handcrafted in Sultan Washington, where the company produces a complete range of whitewater, touring, stand up and canoe, raft and outrigger paddles, each of which addresses weight, strength, durability and performance. Every aspect of Werner's paddles works together to increase comfort and reduce fatigue. For more information, please visit

About KASO Plastics, Inc.

Founded in 1962, Vancouver, Washington-based KASO Plastics is a full-service custom plastic injection molder specializing in short runs. Its state-of-the-art equipment and skilled staff ensure that high quality; close-tolerance products are manufactured at competitive prices to provide total customer satisfaction.

For more information, please visit


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