Weighing in on the Acquisition
There’s been recent buzz on the Web regarding DSM Dyneema’s 2015 acquisition of Cubic Technologies, name changes to the material it produces, formerly known as Cuben Fiber, and the future of this technological advancement. As one of the leading outdoor gear manufacturers backing this technology, we thought it appropriate to weigh in, share some insight and better explain this technology.
DSM Dyneema acquired U.S. manufacturer, Cubic Technologies, May 2015. DSM is a large, global, Dutch company active in the health, nutrition and material sciences industries, and is also the inventor and manufacturer of the Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE) fibers branded as Dyneema®.
Rebrand and Name Change of the Technology
In an effort to mobilize market awareness for their technologies, avoid consumer confusion, and improve long-term brand equity, DSM decided to change the name Cuben Fiber to “Dyneema Composite Fabrics.” The Dyneema® fiber brand name is already well recognized. To date, the Cuben Fiber name has had no direct correlation to the technologically advanced Dyneema® fibers that it is made from. So it only makes sense to better align the brand following the acquisition by better aligning its naming scheme.
Going forward, Hyperlite Mounatin Gear will take a bit of time converting to this name change due to the existing market awareness of Cuben Fiber. Additionally, we are still working with DSM on a naming scheme that covers the various versions, qualities, and thicknesses of Dyneema® Composite Fabrics in a way that is marketable and easily recognized by the end consumer. As an example, we have referred to the .78oz/m Cuben Fiber as CF8 and the 1.13oz/m Cuben Fiber as CF11. We like the possibility of now referring to the Dyneema® Composite Fabric versions we utilize in our shelters and stuff sacks as DCF8 and DCF11, but will continue to refine this methodology with DSM.
Is This Acquisition a Good Thing?
We are excited about the future benefits of this acquisition, which we anticipate including: improved order lead times, the development of new innovative materials, marketing support, and hopefully overall improved consumer awareness of both Dyneema® woven and non-woven composite fabrics as an innovative outdoor gear solution that contributes to increased performance, safety and enjoyment for the adventurer, regardless of skill or experience level. Per the initial launch of the Dyneema Project TrailBlazers video series, we are already seeing nice marketing support.
Raw Material Price Increases
Raw material prices are increasing. But, in fairness to DSM, this is the first price increase we’ve experienced since inception; an indication that DSM is attempting to drop their prices relative to larger economic and inflationary metrics. Several outdoor gear competitors have increased prices for 2016. Consumers can also expect small 2016 retail price increases for Hyperlite Mountain Gear products beginning in the spring of 2016. However, our price increases will be nominal as we strive to keep end user prices as low as possible in comparison to traditional alternatives.
There is no doubt we would love to see pricing for Dyneema® based raw materials decrease in the long run. We are highly confident it would accelerate the ubiquity of consumer adoption for a technological advancement that is so beneficial, we think everyone should be embracing it. We hope DSM will continue to find the most appropriate balance between their economics of demand, supply and price as we know from experience that the only thing slowing the growth of Dyneema® based products in the massive outdoor industry is the end consumer price compared to traditional alternatives. We maintain that the benefit to the outdoor adventurer is well worth the added price if they want to perform at their highest and most optimal levels, but reaching the mass markets and traversing the consumer’s technological adoption arc with any swiftness will likely require reduced prices in the long-run. Regardless, we strongly believe in the technological benefits of Dyneema® woven and non-woven composite fabrics, are committed to this technology, and do not see a change in our materials offering or strategy anytime soon.