Company Will Produce Enhanced and Traditional Variants to Meet Market Demand
Helicon Chemical announced today that it has begun manufacturing its first batches of Hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene (HTPB) at AVN Corporation laboratories on the campus of the West Virginia Regional Technology Park (WVRTP) in Charleston. In addition to producing its patented enhanced HTPB rocket fuel binder, Helicon is turning out non-enhanced versions of the mixture that will add to the wide market demand for the substance.
Polyurethanes prepared from HTPB can be engineered for specific defense and commercial physical properties including highly elastic, tough and rigid for use in foam insulation panels; durable wheels and tires, electrical potting compounds and high performance rocket fuel binding.
Partnering with Tech Park tenant AVN, federal, state and local lawmakers, Helicon is using existing infrastructure to manufacture HTPB in West Virginia, bringing jobs to the region while helping to improve national security and substance demand.
Initial HTPB production efforts at WVRTP have been limited as Helicon and AVN begin their partnership, but the two companies expect to ramp up production over the next few months as employees and laboratory space are added to the effort.
“Our facilities in West Virginia and the partnership with AVN will allow us to produce HTPB faster and in great quantities to meet the needs of our Department of Defense customers. Working together, industry and DoD are in a race to stay ahead of America’s competitors—getting our operation in Charleston up and running has been a priority since we inked the deal earlier this Spring,” said Dr. Wes Naylor, CEO of Helicon Chemical.
“This site has so much potential and we look forward to growing our production efforts and footprint in the months to come.”
Last month Naylor and West Virginia civic and business leaders held a ribbon cutting ceremony at the Tech Park to celebrate the company’s expansion into the Mountain State.
Helicon Chemical is currently working with the Department of Defense on a drop-in-ready, upgraded propellant binder that will improve the performance of missiles, rockets, aerospace propulsion systems and munitions for government and commercial customers. Helicon’s patented technology allows for the rapid modernization of current armaments and future hypersonic weapons programs — aligning with one of the DoD’s top R&D priorities. The binder will help increase speed, lift and overall mission effectiveness of propulsion systems.