In May 2017, the IACMI headquarter team visited the Composite Recycling Technology Center (CRTC) and Peninsula College in Port Angeles, Washington to see the newly renovated facilities.

Geoff Wood and Bob Larsen, CRTC CEO, by the CRTC’s newest addition – the 5 Axis D5E Gantry CNC machine.

The facilities include equipment such as the Flow Mach 2B Water Jet and DMS’s 5 Axis D5E Overhead Gantry CNC machine. The 5 Axis D5E has a small footprint, but can be used to precisely process composites and other materials. The closed system keeps the debris contained during the machining process, as to not contaminate the other work within the CRTC.

Resources at the facility, such as the Water Jet and CNC machine, are being used to catalyze economic development in one of Washington’s advanced manufacturing hubs. An example of the innovation in progress is the use of the facility to produce pickleball paddles using recycled aerospace carbon fiber. While pickleball paddles have been made from carbon fiber in the past, making them from aerospace scrap carbon fiber has never been done before.  The use of this scrap material prevents it from being included in the 50 million pounds of aerospace carbon fiber in landfills each year.

How It’s Made: Pickleball paddles are subtracted from a sheet of carbon fiber, which has been made from pieces of scrap carbon fiber.

The game of pickleball invented on Bainbridge Island, Washington in 1965, now has more than 3 million players globally, and is the fastest-growing sport in North America. Pickleball is played with a perforated plastic ball, similar to a whiffle ball, and composite or wooden paddles about twice the size of pingpong paddles. Players hit the ball back and forth on a badminton-sized court with the net lowered to 34 inches at the center.

The CRTC’s scrap carbon fiber pickleball paddles are available for purchase through Pickleball Central of Kent, WA., which is the largest pickleball distributor in the world.

The CRTC also houses Peninsula College’s Advanced Manufacturing – Composite Technology program with classrooms, offices and lab facilities. This program gives students hands-on training in advanced materials recycling and remanufacturing techniques.

To learn more about IACMI partner facilities and equipment, visit https://iacmi.org/technology-areas/.