FIBRE Mechanics have delivered the 5th set of structural components for the Gunboat 68 - shipping over 150 components to Gunboat Europe in La Grande Motte. The delivery of components is timed to co-incide with the completion of the hull, so that the assembly teams can get to work building the boat without breaking stride.
The FIBRE Mechanics team in Lymington UK have become key partners in the construction of the Gunboat 68. William Jelbert is the Project Manager for the GB-68, and was responsible for the development of the boat and the key decisions about the production process. He describes the 'discovery' of the FIBRE Mechanics panel factory like this....
"...Once the key structural elements were designed, the rest of the internal structure could be optimized accordingly. We weighed the option of outsourcing these advanced components to an industry partner. A breakthrough came when FIBRE Mechanics presented us with the opportunity to employ robotically-laid fiber to the structural components on the Gunboat 68 (i.e. the bulkheads and stringers). This is the same technology that produces aircraft tail fins and F1 car parts - structures with incredibly demanding engineering tolerances - and the quality is just exceptional!
The process is called North Thin Ply Technology™ (NTPT) - a cutting-edge technology using the highest-quality materials and yielding the most precise results. In NTPT, extremely thin layers of pre-preg carbon are laid by a machine, after which CNC-cut Corecell is fitted. Then, more layers of carbon are robotically applied and the whole panel is cured at 110°C in an autoclave.
Thin ply pre-pregs allow greater optimization of modulus, strength and weight, and an overall improvement in the mechanical performance of the final part.
This repeatable and automated process can handle very fine laminate details. This opened up opportunities for our engineers, as decisions on the internal structure (and ultimately performance gains) could be further optimized...." (Excerpt from 'The Gunboat Story')