So what is it about Fortrex that makes it both versatile and attractive? It's everything the automotive industry—among others—has come to love.
"We are continuing to develop the material science around Fortrex to make it even lighter weight, higher performing, and to potentially, to use recycled post-consumer waste as feedstock material—all of which are highly valued characteristics with our customers," Edwards said. "(These are) the things that make it very attractive, and frankly, more attractive for our automotive customers moving forward. That is also making it more attractive for the customer in the footwear space."
Fortrex has garnered praise for its sustainability, most recently earning the Environment + Energy's Leader Award for Top Product. The materials innovation previously won an Automotive News PACE Award in 2018, was a finalist for the SPE (Society of Plastics Engineers) award and won the General Motors' Overdrive Award in the category of Sustainability in 2021.
"The Environment + Energy Leader Award for our Fortrex chemistry platform is especially significant as it recognizes our culture of innovation, our dedication to bring innovative materials to new markets, and our commitment to sustainable business," Chris Couch, Cooper-Standard's senior vice president and chief technology and procurement officer said in a July 19 statement touting the award. "I'm proud of our materials science team and their achievements in enhancing our Fortrex technology to improve product performance, sustainability benefits and overall value."
Fortrex, the company said, is a new class of elastomeric material that combines the best attributes of EPDM and TPV materials, while eliminating what often is perceived as their negative characteristics.