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Boral USA dedicates ‘Innovation Factory,’ keen on disruptive-product development

Sources: Boral USA, Roswell, Ga.; CP staff

Boral USA officials cut the ribbon on a San Antonio, Texas, facility focused on material science, polymer chemistry, composite products, durability testing and process development. Dubbed the Boral Innovation Factory, it is a companion to a cementitious material- and concrete technology-centered research & development lab in Sydney, home base of parent Boral Ltd.

The new Innovation Factory has 27,000 square feet of office space and analytical areas to incubate projects supporting the producer’s building enclosure product businesses and long-term results. The San Antonio and Sydney facilities advance Boral’s “commitment to disruptive innovation around durable, manmade light building products, bringing transformational solutions to market at an accelerated pace.”

“Boral has taken an international perspective on the industry as part of our commitment to drive sustainable growth through product development, customer solutions and performance excellence,” says Vice President, Intellectual Property Portfolio Joel Charlton. “Establishment of the Innovation Factory has set us on a trajectory to introduce new products and processes that can solve customers’ unmet needs in the marketplace, enabling Boral to be synonymous with innovation.”

Created in 2012 as a Research & Development Division extension, the Innovation Factory analyzes market trends and future building requirements, then identifies emerging technologies and develops solutions to fill service gaps. Among early deliverables is a poly-ash technology—a synthetic material of specially formulated urethane glue and fly ash—that resists moisture and maintains a high level of dimensional stability for home and building wall components. Marketed under the Boral TruExterior brand, the resulting line of trim and siding products has created an entirely new cladding market category and opened to the company’s cladding division additional geographies, channels and segments. The Innovation Factory has also helped Boral increase by 30-plus percent its U.S. patents, now totaling more than 100.

“The evolution of the Innovation Factory is closely aligned with Boral’s growth strategy as an industry leader,” affirms Global Chief Technology Officer Russell Hill. “Through a socially responsible approach to all activities, our mission is to expand our capabilities and expertise, delivering a more sustainably built environment for the future.”