Category Archives: News

HK Announces Appointment of Brannon Pittman to Technical Services Manager

We are pleased to announce that Brannon Pittman, veteran of 14 years of Gel Coat development and customer service at HK, has been formally promoted to Technical Service Manager for the company. His responsibilities will include assisting the field representatives where necessary, trial runs of products in composite plants around the country and providing the follow-up laboratory work to assist our current and new customers.

We congratulate Brannon on his new position, a position he has earned with a great deal of hard work and effort.

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HK Research Starts a Revolution in 2012

HICKORY, NC — HK Research, the industry’s gel coat expert, unveiled a new user-friendly, grafted polymer matrix named “Revolution” during the 2012 Composites Exhibition and Convention in Las Vegas, Nevada.

HK Research is confident that its new Revolution® polymer will live up to its name. “Polyester gel coat technology has changed very little over the past 70 years. Until now,” explained David Higgins, VP of Marketing and Sales, HK Research. “What makes Revolution different is its ability to ‘flex’ due to the changes in its molecular structure. Revolution has multiple reactive sites that allow superior cross-link density and inherent flexibility. While providing outstanding in-shop application properties, Revolution Polymer offers the best weathering properties and water -resistance — all at a price competitive with traditional gel coats.”

Using a proprietary grafting technique, HK Research completely re-engineered the polymer’s molecular makeup. As a result of this molecular re-engineering, Revolution features modified resin backbones, grafted polymer chains, controlled uniform molecular weights and flexible cross-links. Ordered monomer grafting minimizes UV degradation, maximizes application characteristics, increases transfer efficiency and reduces water permeation through a polymer network. And, like all HK products, Revolution Polymer is specially engineered to deliver outstanding performance in the shop and in the field.

Based in Hickory, North Carolina, HK Research has the largest facility in North America designed exclusively for premium polymer coating manufacturing. HK Research’s fully automated facility produces the world’s most advanced, consistently reproducible coating products for marine, aerospace, transportation and pool and spa industries.  Barrel to barrel, HK Research’s coatings deliver superior protection that lasts, maintains a new appearance longer, and adapts easily to the production process, saving time and money on every run.

For more information on HK Research or their products, visit their new website or call (800) 334-5975.


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HK Research Corporation Announces HD™ – High Definition Gel Coats

March 12, 2007
Hickory, NC – HK Research Corporation is proud to announce its HD™ High Definition/High Performance Gel Coats. This new line of gel coats has exceptional depth and boldness and is offered in a spectrum of high definition colors.

The HD™ Gel Coats are MACT- compliant gel coats that are ideal for boat hulls, decks and swimming pools in any color.  Blistering, blushing, porosity, or fading will no longer be an issue with the application of this gel coat product.

HD™ Gel Coats have the same great application properties as HK Research’s other Low HAP gel coats. When properly applied, components created using the HD™ Gel Coats will not blush or fade under the shrink wrap or below the water line.  Using HK’s proprietary CopperCoat™ Patching System, HD™ Series Gel Coats may be repaired to produce an invisible patch.

HK Research is based in Hickory, North Carolina, and has the largest facility in North America designed exclusively for premium gel coats. For more information, visit the website at, or call toll-free, 1-800-334-5975.

Go to HK-Marine to find out more.

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Ken Lore Named New Operations Manager

Jan. 2004
HK Research has named Ken Lore to the position of Operations Manager. Employed with the company since July, 2003, and a mechanical engineer by training, Ken brings his experience of more than 25 years in the pharmaceutical glass industry. He has managed all facets of production and quality systems. In his new role with HK Research, Lore will oversee and be directly involved with every aspect of plant operations from scheduling and personnel to the manufacturing, packaging and shipping of America’s finest gel coats. ” We are very pleased to have Ken Lore on board at HK Research. He comes to us with a great technical background and plenty of quality systems experience which will help us operate at a very high level,” said HK President, Richard Higgins.

Lore will also play a leading role in ongoing facility upgrades and the continuing implementation of new state-of-the-art touch screen control technology. As HK Research moves further into gel coat production for the marine industry, the emphasis on the company’s hallmarks of batch-to-batch consistency and exceptional quality becomes even greater. “These changes are exciting and give us the opportunity to do the best job for our customers who are honest and forthright in their expectations”, Lore said. “I’m happy to be a part of a company with such a great reputation for quality and innovation. I really enjoy the work I do.”

Lore replaces long-time former Operations Manager, Ted Hilton. Although retired, Hilton is still working as a consultant with HK Research and continues to contribute to operations.

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HK Research’s Wigington Delivers a Shining Gel-Coat Seminar at ACMA Show

Oct. 2, 2003
Glenn Wigington went to Anaheim, CA for the American Composites Manufacturers Association’s COMPOSITES 2003 with a new purpose. As Technical Director for HK Research, he’d attended dozens of trade shows to gather information. This time however, his mission was to give information away, to educate his composites industry colleagues and spread the news about low-HAP gel coats.

The role of seminar presenter is a natural offshoot of the creative process prevalent in his daily environment, and one that Wigington particularly enjoys. “It’s a privilege to get up in front of people and talk about the things that are of great interest to me and anyone in the industry,” he said. Given the freedom by HK President, Richard Higgins, to create new products that save time and raw materials, Wigington embraced the opportunity to share the benefits of low-HAP gel coats with members of the marine and bathware industries.

The well-attended session addressed issues facing composites manufacturers every day. Available low-HAP gel coat categories including clears, pigmented, deep-tone accent and FDA certifiable products, among others, were highlighted. Discussion of critical performance topics like resistance to UV yellowing, osmotic blistering, hardness and tensile strength issues brought forth valuable information for session participants.

Non-atomized and airless/air assisted product delivery systems were addressed in light of new emission control regulations designed to reduce Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAP). Wigington also provided compelling evidence on how low-HAP gel coats reduce the styrene emissions at the heart of the Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) standards. “All the regulations are HAP-driven, meaning that compliance with MACT will revolve around reducing pollutants. I have been a believer in the low-HAP philosophy since its inception,” Wigington said. “Some people in the industry are still trying to solve yesterday’s problems today. I went to Anaheim to talk about how a forward-thinking vision now can help the industry two years down the road and beyond.”

For more information about the American Composite Manufacturers Association, visit

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HK Research Backs Emissions Guide

Jan 2004
In an effort to help composites manufacturers prepare for compliance with new air quality regulations, HK Research has co-sponsored the publication of Emission Control Strategies: A Guide for Composites Manufacturers. “This booklet is meant to be a reference guide for the composites manufacturer. It will afford quick access to new regulations their businesses must follow in regard to reducing volatile organic compounds (VOC) and hazardous air pollutants (HAP) that come from the composites manufacturing process,” stated David Higgins, National Sales Manager for HK Research. The compliance deadline for Maximum Achievable Control Technology (MACT) is August 23, 2004 for boat producers. New compliance guidelines for the reinforced plastic composites industry will take effect on April 21, 2006.

Great detail is given to understanding MACT standards as well as other air quality regulations that preceded them. This guide will help readers understand the relevant standards for quantifying the volatile content of materials and for measuring pollutant emissions.

Also contained in this guide are overviews of new technologies aimed at exceeding the compliance standards of new MACT regulations. Among some of these are the development and use of new environmentally-friendly resins and gel coats capable of drastically reducing styrene and other HAP emissions. New low-emission application methods now allow manufacturers to use redesigned equipment to meet the regulations. Some companies may find success utilizing vacuum infusion molding or by changes in their pultrusion process. Still others can take advantage of today’s easy-to-use emissions capture and control systems that allow amazing operational flexibility. The guide also includes a complete resource section providing a wealth of regulatory agency contacts and industry resources.

HK Research, recognized as the industry’s premiere manufacturer of low-HAP gel coats, knew their proactive involvement and support for this publication would benefit all composites producers. “Manufacturers are turning to their suppliers more and more with questions about being able to comply with the new regulations. We saw our involvement in the publishing of this book as a way to help look out for the manufacturer, whether they are an HK customer or not,” stated Higgins.

For more information or to order a copy of Emission Control Strategies – A Guide for Composites Manufacturers, contact Ray Publishing at 303-467-1776.

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HK Research Sponsored Boat Wins National Championship

Oct. 2003
Team Donzi added another jewel to its offshore racing crown by capturing the 2003 National Championship in the highly competitive American Powerboat Association Racing League Super Vee classification. Carrying forward the momentum of a wildly successful re-entry into powerboat competition in 2002, the #193 Team Donzi Super Vee, co-sponsored by HK Research, made its intentions for a championship known. By the Marathon, FL race in May, they took the lead in points and would not relinquish that position for the remainder of the season. “We knew two things going into this racing season: Super Vee was going to be a very fast and competitive class and the stresses that are put on a race boat this size are tremendous,” said David Higgins, National Sales Manager for HK Research Corporation. “Donzi gave us the chance to test HK Research gel coats under extremely rough racing conditions this season, and we are excited to help sponsor their successful championship team.”

Success, it turns out, breeds success. Team Donzi paired veteran throttleman Lee Murray with the reigning National Champion driver Doug Valentine. They raced a closed-canopy model 38ZR (produced with HK Research gel coat technology) equipped with twin Mercury 525 racing engines, and specially configured for Super Vee competition. The combination of speed, balance and maneuverability proved to be nearly unstoppable, elevating #193 as many as 110 points above the competition en route to the National title.

While HK Research joins Team Donzi in celebrating the thrill of a championship, the knowledge gained from racing provides valuable insights into gel coat technology. “HK Research produced a gel coat that handled the stresses of offshore racing while maintaining the beauty and luster we build into all our gel coat products. If HK can produce a gel coat suitable for the racing environment, that same gel coat will exceed anything a boat owner could do to their watercraft”, said Higgins. “Everyone wins”. (See Editor’s Note)

For more information about Donzi Marine and Team Donzi Racing, visit For information about the American Powerboat Association Racing League, visit

Editor’s Note: It is with great sadness that we learned of the untimely death of Steve Simon, Team Donzi’s Director of Racing. To view a tribute to his life and work,

please click on the following link:

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Lab Manager Killian Delivers Seminar at Polycon 2004

Feb. 2004
The festive atmosphere of Mardi Gras provided the perfect setting for Polycon 2004, the largest annual convention and trade show for representatives of the cast polymer industry. Joining in the revelry, 820 convention-goers filled the Hyatt Regency in New Orleans from February 19-21 to visit with exhibitors, network with colleagues, and attend educational seminars offered through the International Cast Polymer Alliance (ICPA).

HK Research Laboratory Manager Jerry Killian went to Polycon not only to gain insight about cast polymers, but also to give it to 65 cultured marble industry representatives who attended his session. The seminar, “Cultured Marble Patch and Repair,” provided practical and technical information about how manufacturers can improve throughput by repairing defective castings as a cost-effective alternative to discarding them.

The benefits of being a seminar presenter for Killian are twofold. “I enjoy talking with other folks in the industry about situations they face every day in their facilities. The seminar helps them solve problems and provides useful information that I can take back to the lab to help us improve our products,” says Killian. “HK Research has always been very customer oriented. I believe these seminars show that we want to help the manufacturer and can be an asset to their production process.”

The International Cast Polymer Alliance has scheduled its next annual meeting, Polycon 2005, for February 17-19, 2005 in Nashville, Tennessee. For more information about the ICPA, visit

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HK Research Makes Significant Investment in New Production Technology

April 2004
HK Research Corporation recently announced several major facilities improvements already under way. “We are updating our computer control capabilities as well as adding new mixing and production equipment in order to increase throughput efficiencies,” stated David Higgins, National Sales Manager.

Like most efforts to improve productivity, the principle of working smarter is the primary focus of these enhancements. “HK Research has built a solid reputation based on the consistency of our products, and state-of-the-art touch-screen computer control is the best way we can maintain and build that reputation. All functions of our automated equipment, such as formula transfer and production schedules, can be managed with even more precision than was possible with our relay logic-based system”, said Higgins.

Production capability will be enhanced with the addition of three new 50-drum mixing tanks. HK Research currently has the ability to manufacture well over 200,000,000 pounds of gel coat per year. These new additions will enable the company to produce about 500 drums (over 250,000 pounds) simultaneously.

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Technicians Broaden Nationwide Service Area for HK Research

Jun. 2006
HICKORY, NC – Leading gel coat manufacturer HK Research recently expanded its nationwide coverage with two technical sales representatives and one technical service representative. Based in Georgia, Technical Service Representative Greg Greene brings 24 years of experience to the southeastern region. In the Midwest, 20-year industry veteran Glen Stewart joins the sales department. Bernie Von Dette, also a Technical Sales Representative, begins his 36th year in the industry in the southern Great Lakes area. “The addition of technical personnel assures our expanding customer base that quick and knowledgeable help is available at a moment’s notice. HK’s reputation for customer service has been built on this philosophy,” said National Sales Manager David Higgins. “Some in our industry have been forced to downsize, which can marginalize their quality of service, we are proud to be in “growth mode” and to offer our customers the skills of these three experts.” HK Research operates North America’s largest gel coat manufacturing facility in Hickory, North Carolina, as well as warehousing in Rialto, California. To learn more about the company’s 26-year history of innovation, visit the website or call toll-free, 1-800-334-5975.

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