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May 24, 2018

Yale Cordage wins Trade Day's 'Best in Show' honors for second straight year

Photo / Claudia Dricot Photography
Photo / Claudia Dricot Photography
Drummond Boord, left, vice president market development, and Skip Yale, account manager, display Yale Cordage's "Best in Show" product called Braeön, which won the popular vote at Trade Day 2018 last Fridya.

Yale Cordage, a Saco company that makes a wide range of specialty ropes for key industries such as mining and arboriculture, took home the "Best in Show" trophy at Trade Day 2018 for a new product that it says is "as strong as steel, as flexible as rope and as malleable as putty."

Manufactured by Resin Fibers, a subsidiary of Yale Cordage, the winning product is called Braeön — a lightweight thermoplastic ribbon that molecularly fuses to itself and has been tested and proven to withstand extreme force and conditions.

"Braeön is a thermoplastic that becomes moldable at 140°F and solidifies within just seconds. It can be formed into custom shapes and molecularly fuses to itself when it cools after being exposed to heat," according to a Kickstarter page in a funding campaign that raised five times more capital than its $15,000 goal a year ago. "Simply heat, press and repeat to form the plastic into any desired shape. Once cooled, the self-bonding plastic hardens, creating a bond as strong as steel."

The company describes Braeön's patent pending design as "a lighter and more versatile alternative to rope" that can be used to create custom grips, handles and harnesses in seconds, replace a broken chain link, create a harness, replace a broken rivet, or tow equipment, gear and toys.

New Product Global Showcase

Yale Cordage was one of six companies selected to exhibit in this year's New Product Global Showcase sponsored by TD Bank at the Maine International Trade Center's Trade Day 2018, a two-day event held last week at the Samoset Resort in Rockport. More than 200 attendees cast votes on May 18, with Yale Cordage's Braeön being announced as the winner by Larry Wold, Maine market president for TD Bank, during the awards luncheon. It's the second straight year that Yale Cordage took home the "Best in Show" trophy.

The jury-selected showcase — which MITC President Wade Merritt said at last month's preview is intended to highlight manufacturers that have "an innovative new product that is a key element in their strategy to increase export sales" — also featured these companies:

  • Rogue Wear, Lewiston, a manufacturer of custom gear bags, duffel bags, backpacks and tote bags that presented a hybrid backpage with easy-access pockets to find gear without having to dig to the bottom of the pack.
  • Planet Dog, Westbrook, pet products company that presented the Orbee Tuff Squeak with a unique, patent-pending squeaker that contains no adhesives or glues, making it 100% nontoxic.
  • Caron Engineering, Wells, which presented DTect-IT, a Windows-based software application that communicates with custom sensors to monitor any area of concern on CNC (computer numerical control) machine tools or fixtures.
  • Bristol Seafood, Portland, which is on a mission of expanding sales of seafood that strictly adhere to uncompromising Maine standards.
  • Dirigo Food Safety, Yarmouth, a full-service food safety consulting group that presented "The Locker," a fully customizable modular food production unit available for purchase or lease to help bring profitability back to local food sectors.

Focus on Asian trade

Photo / Claudia Dricot Photography
Photo / Claudia Dricot Photography
Wade Merritt, president of Maine International Trade Center, speaks at Trade Day 2018 in Rockport.

MITC President Wade Merritt told Mainebiz in a phone interview that in 2017, 2,262 Maine companies exported $2.7 billion in goods and services to 176 countries. Exports to Asia totaled $769 million, accounting for 29% of the total, and China, Japan, and South Korea were the top three Asian destinations for Maine's exports.

China is Maine's third-largest trading partner — after Canada, which garners 45% of the state's trade, and Germany — garnering between $230 million and $240 million of the overall $759 million in exports to Asia from Maine.

Although with its 1.4 billion population China often dominates discussions about trading in Asia, Merritt said a panel discussion at Trade Day 2018 — featuring panelists Adam Kennedy of Kepware, Brian McNamara of Southworth International Group Inc., Annie Tselikis of Maine Lobster Dealers' Association and Kristin Vekasi of University of Maine — made the point that there are lots of trade opportunities for Maine companies among other Asian countries.

"We spent a lot of time talking about what made for a successful trading relationship in Asia," Merritt said. The two biggest takeaways? "Make sure you have a good local partner," he said, adding that the second is the related importance of making sure to actually visit a prospective trading country, establishing personal connections and making the company and its products visible.

In an interview with China Daily USA about the two-day conference, Merritt said, "Asia is a growing market for Maine businesses, especially in the seafood sector, but others are also looking east …"I think both sides are benefiting (from the bilateral trade). Our companies are certainly stronger for it, and I would like to think that Chinese consumers and businesses are benefiting from their work with us as well."

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