18 July 2017
18 July 2017
North Thin Ply Technology (NTPT) and FIBRE Mechanics are collaborating to bring advanced composite solutions to boatyards in a package that addresses labour time, cost, performance and quality.
Utilising FIBRE Mechanics' experience in prepreg components and NTPT's prepreg automation technology, structures such as bulkheads, girders and interior joinery panels are built offsite as structurally-optimised prepreg composite panels, made to the exact specification, shape and size required by the design.
“We have built thousands of carbon and glass structures over the years, with ever increasing engineering sophistication and build quality,” says Geoff Stock, Managing Director of FIBRE Mechanics. “The NTPT Automated Tape Laying process takes quality and precision to the next level while at the same time reducing labour hours and shortening supply chains."
FIBRE Mechanics is responsible for client liaison, specification development, CNC-cut core kit, core insert manufacture, and quality assurance of build. NTPT manufactures the unidirectional prepreg and the laminate skin preforms at its Polish facility. The core and core insert kits join the preforms in Poland, where the final panels are built by NTPT, under the supervision of the FIBRE Mechanics boatbuilding team.
“Unidirectional prepreg is the most cost and structurally efficient prepreg,” explains James Austin, CEO of NTPT. “Using our ATL machines, we can achieve the required specification more efficiently than weaving or multiaxial stitching machines, and offer mechanical performance benefits as there is no crimping of the fibres. In addition, we can easily incorporate very specific reinforcement patching where required, and conversely not depose material in way of penetrations, with the machine working to sub-millimetre accuracy.”
According to NTPT and FIBRE Mechanics, through the automation of this process key challenges for composite construction of both custom and series production boats are addressed. They say labour time to produce complex parts is much reduced, accuracy and quality of manufacture is consistent and repeatable, and supply chains are reduced, resulting in panels that are optimal in terms of weight, cost and structural performance.
The panels are constructed on a large format table so nesting efficiencies can be maximised, or single panels up to 3.3 m x 9.9 m can be produced.
Photo provided by NTPT