Composite Industrial Group to Provide GRP Boats to Tsunami Victims

11 February 2005

An RTM charitable boat project orchestrated by Plastech TT is attracting unprecedented support from the composites industry.

UK based Plastech issued a call for assistance to help the fishermen of Sri Lanka following their recent catastrophic losses, and have since received an “unprecedented level” of support from the composites industry.

In just four days Plastech had contacted a group of composite suppliers who have pledged sufficient materials to initially produce 50 new fishing boats for the Sri Lankan inshore fishermen. These initial pledges will produce fishing boats to the value of more than 300,000 Euros!

Boating World, a Cornish boatyard generously agreed to supply the 14 foot, Dory type design fishing hull to be used as the basis for the new moulds which are already under construction at Plastech's Manufacturing Centre in Cornwall, UK.

Using the latest glass fibre manufacturing technique called Light RTM, one set of production moulds and a set of masters for the production of further moulds on site, will be commissioned and then air freighted, along with four of the company’s resin injection machines direct to the production units in the coastal disaster zones in Sri Lanka.

""We are not intending to replace the whole of Sri Lanka’s devastated fishing fleet"", says Alan Harper, Plastech's owner. ""But we are, as a group in the composites industry, offering practical help which will in turn empower the survivors to help themselves"".

The moulds, machines and materials combined with the latest technology and training will enable them to begin the immediate production on the ground of 100 fishing craft per month. This figure will rise rapidly to 400 per month once further duplicate mould sets are produced locally from the master patterns.

By offering the industry's latest closed mould production technology a rapid response to the unprecedented number of fishing craft required can begin to be met. The skills to make such high numbers of boats by the traditional hand lay moulding technique are simply not available. The more modern LRTM technique is well proven and delivers high quality boats with environmentally friendly, clean manufacturing methods with low wastage. Charitable funds can therefore be maximized in their effectiveness.

Each of the boat production mould systems will only require a small air compressor to achieve the production output thus ensuring that local power requirements can easily be met.

Plastech are now moulding a resin master for a basic Dory style hull for this project as an initial hull design to provide some new hulls and ensure the promised technology and machines can be applied towards this programme immediately. The hull is 4.2m long with a surface area of 12m2 and will be used as the basis for the production of the first Light RTM mould construction.

Plastech have just launched an appeal locally through the local media for a minimum of two able body volunteers to assist in the mould pattern and mould building as they are unable to provide all the staff to make the moulds for the project. They do have a main mould builder full time on the project, but he is desperately in need of assistance, hence the call for local volunteers.

The four donated Plastech machines are being built through their normal production line.

The group of composite companies forming this consortium comprise:

AOC (US Resin supplier)
Scott Bader (UK gel coat supplier)
Saertex (Reinforced glass fibre from South Africa and Germany)
Nord Composites (Mould building resins, France)
Axel (US Mould release agents)
Norac/Andos (Catalyst supplier, Sweden)
Structiso/Nidacore (Composite core manufacturers, France and US)
Plastech TT (UK machine and mould manufacturers)

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