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U.S. Boat Builders Seriously Over Estimate Closed Moulding Conversion Costs

29 October 2004

A survey by Owens Corning of US boat builders indicated that more than 70% of boat builders overestimate closed moulding conversion costs by 20 times.

At the annual International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition and Conference (IBEX), Owens Corning announced the results of a survey of U.S. boat builders which indicates that 69 percent of boat builders who have not converted to closed moulding cite cost as a major barrier…yet more than 70 percent over-estimate closed moulding conversion costs by 20 times or were unable to estimate costs. At present, 64 percent of all manufacturers have not converted any part of their operation.

The study was conducted by HMH and the Gillmore Research Group.

“This is clearly a case of bad news, good news for the industry,” said Matt Dunn, Owens Corning North American business manager for fabrics. “It’s bad news, because manufacturers are missing out on the cost and performance benefits of closed moulding – which provides better, more reproducible parts, improved shop conditions, lower personnel attrition, and is virtually free of emissions. The good news is that it’s simply a matter of industry education.”

In the study, which Owens Corning undertook to gauge the boatbuilding industry’s progress and perceptions regarding closed moulding, most respondents who cited cost as a major barrier thought it would cost more than $100,000. However, the cost most often reported by those who have converted is actually less than $50,000 – much less in many cases.

Additional results showed that thirty percent use both open and closed moulding with only 16 percent of companies that have not converted have plans to convert to closed moulding.

“The real story for the industry is that conversion to closed moulding is not capital intensive and is not a difficult technical challenge,” continued Dunn. “But it does require careful planning of the required changes in the shop floor.”

To assist, Owens Corning offered on-site, hands-on training for boat builders and a variety of products which have been specifically designed to make the conversion to closed moulding easier for boatbuilders, including OC FlowR fabrics (introduced at this year’s IBEX), OC FlowTex fabrics, and Molding Mat fabrics , as well as OC VL8860 surfacing veil. Using Owens Corning’s FlowRo 2420 fabric, in an actual example, the cost of converting production of a 14-foot skiff from open moulding to closed moulding was less that $5,000.