April 24, 2018

Here's a sneak preview of Maine products 'ready to launch' globally

Courtesy / Maine International Trade Center
Courtesy / Maine International Trade Center
Visitors at Maine International Trade Center's sneak preview this morning in Portland check out products that will exhibit and compete in its New Product Global Showcase on Trade Day 2018 next month in Rockport.

About Trade Day 2018

Maine International Trade Center's Trade Day 2018 is billed as the premiere international annual business event in Northern New England.

The May 17-18 event at the Samoset Resort in Rockport features a 5-7 p.m. opening reception on Thursday, May 17.

Events on Friday, May 18, include a keynote presentation, "Global Trade's New Era: Accessing Asia. There also will be a panel discussion on "Accessing Asia: Risks and Rewards" 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.

Following a networking session and the New Product Global Showcase, MITC will present its annual awards following the luncheon:

  • Exporter of the Year – Maine Coast

  • Innovator of the Year – Fiber Materials Inc. (FMI)

  • Service Provider of the Year – Planson International

  • Foreign Direct Investor of the Year – St. Croix Tissue

  • President's Award – Muriel Mosher, President of Maine Manufacturing Extension Partnership

  • Future Global Leader Award – Jeff Cuartas.

Last year, MITC reports that 2,262 Maine companies exported $2.7 billion in goods and services to 176 countries. Trade supports 180,500 (nearly one in four) Maine jobs. Since 2009, Maine jobs related to trade increased by 25.9%, while overall job growth was just 0.3% in same time frame.

Maine International Trade Center offered a sneak preview this morning of products that will exhibit and compete in its New Product Global Showcase on Trade Day 2018 next month in Rockport.

Five of the six products chosen to exhibit and compete in the showcase were on display at a preview media event this morning in the lobby of the Courtyard by Marriott Portland Downtown Waterfront at 321 Commercial St.

Maine International Trade Center President Wade Merritt introduced the selected companies at the preview event.

"The six Maine companies selected by the jury range from experienced exporters through those new to international markets," Merritt said in a news release advancing the event. "All of these manufacturers have an innovative new product that is a key element in their strategy to increase export sales. We're excited to highlight their efforts with an international audience at Trade Day 2018."

The companies will exhibit their new products at Trade Day 2018 on May 18 at the Samoset Resort in Rockport. Attendees at the event will vote for "Best in Show," with the winner announced during the awards luncheon. This year's New Product Global Showcase is sponsored by TD Bank.

Here are the six competing companies:

Yale Cordage / Resin Fibers, Saco

Description: Yale Cordage / Resin Fibers call Braeön, a lightweight thermoplastic ribbon that molecularly fuses to itself in a matter of seconds, a revolutionary new material. Tested and proven to withstand extreme force and conditions, Braeön is as strong as steel, as flexible as rope and as malleable as putty: Simply heat and press into any desired shape. Once cooled, the self-bonding material quickly hardens.

Market potential: The company believes Braeön will become a staple for all outdoor enthusiasts. The product has many industrial applications as well such as creating custom grips for hockey sticks, knife handles, and harnesses in seconds. Other applications include towing equipment, gear and toys, or even a splint for an injured finger.

Braeön is manufactured by Resin Fibers, a subsidiary of Yale Cordage in Saco.

Rogue Wear, Lewiston

Description: Rogue Wear in Lewiston custom manufactures gear bags, duffel bags, backpacks, and tote bags mostly for the sporting good and team athletic market. Now, the company has designed a hybrid backpack that provides a convenient way to both carry gear and access it easily through a side entry to avoid the common problem of digging to the bottom of the pack to get what you need. The hybrid backpack also has a separate shoe pocket, a top pocket for a toiletry kit, and a padded laptop sleeve.

Market potential: Rogue Wear sees this new hybrid backpack as the perfect carry-on for airlines and will allow the company that currently employs 18 people to expand beyond the sports gear world and into international sales.

Planet Dog, Westbrook

Description: Known as an industry leader in the world of pet products, the Westbrook-based company is being recognized for some of its newest interactive dog toys this year. The Orbee Tuff Squeak has a unique, patent-pending squeaker that contains no adhesives or glues, making it 100% nontoxic. The squeaker, molded into the center of the ball, is recyclable and free from latex, BPA, and phthalates. Other new products from Planet Dog include the Orbee Tuff Strobe, a durable and interactive ball that starts blinking when you bounce it, turning a typical game of fetch into a multi-sensory experience.

Market potential: New product introductions account for 27% of sales. Planet Dog is currently selling internationally to Asia, Australia, Canada, Europe, New Zealand, South America and South Africa.

Caron Engineering, Wells

Description: Just like doctors use stethoscopes to monitor the health of a patient, Caron Engineering in Wells has come up with a way to monitor the health of machines that are run by computers. DTect-IT is 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. CNC machines for manufacturing are expensive and DTectIT allows shop owners a cost-effective and efficient way to make sure those machines are operating properly. DTect-IT can be used to identify excessive vibration levels on bar feeders, evaluate bearing health, and more.

Market potential: Caron Engineering was started by President Rob Caron, who saw a gap in the market to monitor CNC machines. The company says research shows the United States market buys only 10% of the CNC machines produced each year, which means there is a huge international market waiting to be tapped. The company plans to increase its international sales to 20% of its business during the next two years.

Bristol Seafood, Portland

Description: Bristol Seafood is on a mission to make seafood America's favorite protein. Since its founding in 1992 on the Portland waterfront, the company built a nationwide following for its steadfast adherence to its uncompromising Maine standards. Bristol's Fair Trade Certified scallops are the first U.S. seafood item to earn that certification and are available at retailers in the United States that include Hannaford, Tops Markets and Safeway, as well as select retailers internationally.

Market potential: In 2017, Bristol reported record sales for the third consecutive year and received Portland's Business of the Year award. To advance its mission of expanding seafood sales, the company recently announced plans to invest $5 million and add 40 jobs at its Portland facility.

Dirigo Food Safety, Yarmouth

Description: Dirigo Food Safety is a full-service food safety consulting group based in Yarmouth that works with businesses of all sizes to ensure production of the safest food possible. It has developed an innovation in small-scale food production called "The Locker," a fully customizable modular food production unit available for purchase or lease to help bring profitability back to local food sectors. The unit is an economic, efficient, cleanable, and inspectable space to do small-scale, value-added production without the large overhead costs associated with brick and mortar infrastructure. It comes fully assembled in a reconditioned 40-by-8-foot refrigerated container that needs only access to potable water, electricity and sewage.

Market potential: The Locker is designed with efficiency and Global Food Safety Initiative food safety guidelines in mind, and was designed to help businesses grow, comply with regulations and inspire consumer trust.


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