For the first time since relocating to Miami Beach, organizers of IBEX, The International BoatBuildersÂ’ Exhibition & Conference (Oct. 10-12), took a chance and opened all four of the Miami Beach Convention Center’s exhibit halls to exhibitors. Though the show previously used only three halls, this year’s show subsequently sold out the 225,000-ft2 (20,900m2) show floor, and the event proved to be the largest in IBEXÂ’s 17-year history, not to mention the biggest boatbuilding event ever produced anywhere in the world. Organizers reported an uptick in attendance over last year, despite what they called a flat economy. Figures released after the show indicated that 4,570 attendees from 67 countries were registered, compared to 4,509 in 2006 Â— figures that do not, according to IBEX, include staff members representing the nearly 900 exhibitors who displayed boatbuilding products this year. A group of exhibitors from Australia were on hand, with help from the Australian International Marine Export Group (AIMEX). In fact, exhibitors hailed from 25 countries on six continents, including more than 140 composites industry-related suppliers and service providers, situated in an expanded Composites Pavilion, inaugurated two years ago to make it easy for builders of composite boat components to find exhibitors.
A number of exhibiting companies taught preconference workshops the day before the show (Oct. 9). Additionally exhibitors’ workshops were held each afternoon of the show, while simultaneously, a slate of outdoor technical demonstrations were conducted adjacent to the exhibit hall.
New attractions at the show included a Tool & Machinery Pavilion, located next to the Composites Pavilion, and the new Compliance and Standards Resource Pavilion. In the latter, IBEX hosted consulting firms and other organizations that provide services with respect to national and international boatbuilding rules and regulations. Services available included compliance inspections and certifications.
In the Composites Pavilion, suppliers to the composites industry greeted visiting boatbuilders with a number of new technologies aimed at the marine market. The following represents a small sampling of what was available. (For more information about these companies and their products/services, see “Related Suppliers,” at left.)
Ashland Performance Materials, Specialty Polymers and Adhesives (Dublin, Ohio) introduced PLIOGRIP 1000 marine structural adhesives with a series of demonstrations to boatbuilders attending the conference. The two-part adhesive is available in bulk and cartridge formulations, and in side-by-side comparisons with other adhesives, PLIOGRIP 1000 adhesive shows less shrinkage and no voids or Â“boilÂ” sometimes caused by reaction between adhesive components.
Meanwhile, Ashland Distribution (Dublin, Ohio) touted Sprayomer Elastomer vacuum bag technology, which is designed to allow vacuum-assisted resin transfer molders to eliminate tacky tape and reduce leaks and tears. The bag material is water-based and does not contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or hazardous air pollutants (HAPs) and does not contain silicone or require embedded reinforcement, creating a bag that reportedly weighs one-third less than a silicone-based infusion bag.
Composites One (Arlington Heights, Ill.) reprised its traveling Closed Mold University Technical Seminars, highlighted by demonstrations in which technicians produced miniature catamaran hulls using light RTM. Each afternoon, the crew also infused a 15-ft skiff hull.
Diatrim Tools Ltd. (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) introduced two new Dust Collector Guards designed for use with its Diatrim 4-inch and 5-inch heavy-duty pneumatic trim saws. The new guard reportedly enables operators to make more accurate cuts, including by laying the trimmer on its PVC faceplate to cut composite parts to predetermined depths. Faceplates on the new guard can be replaced for a small fee (on previous guard models, faceplates could not be replaced).
High Modulus’ (Hamble, Hampshire, U.K. and Auckland, New Zealand) Richard Downs-Honey presented seminars on three topics: resin infusion processing; composites testing, which challenged common beliefs about testing; and production engineering for composite boatbuilding. The company also hosted the IBEX Kiwi BBQ.
MultiCam LP (Irving, Texas) showed off its MultiCam 3000 CNC Router Series, which features a heavy-duty, all-steel frame construction at what is said to be an affordable price. Designed for a wide range of medium-duty panel processing applications, the 3000 Series is reportedly ideal for cutting plastics, composites and nonferrous metals. The companyÂ’s CNC router, laser, plasma, waterjet and knife cutting machines are all programmed to work seamlessly with virtually all standard CAD/CAM and nested-based software.
Owned and produced jointly by Professional BoatBuilder magazine and the National Marine Manufacturers Assn. (NMMA), IBEX 2008 will return to Miami, Oct. 6-8, 2008.