IBEX 2006, held Nov. 1-3 at the Miami Beach Convention Center in Miami, Fla., was the largest event in the boatbuilding show's 16-year history. Registration totals indicate that 6,404 marine industry tradespeople ï¿½ including boatbuilders, designers, repairers, surveyors, and boatyard/marine operators ï¿½ attended IBEX 2006. The attendance figure does not include exhibitors, pushing total attendance past 10,000, say organizers. IBEX is co-owned and co-produced by Professional BoatBuilder magazine and the National Marine Manufacturers Assn. (NMMA).
More than 500 boat manufacturers looked on as distributor Composites One (Arlington Hts., Ill.) repeated closed molding demonstrations performed in mid-October at COMPOSITES & POLYCON 2006, molding a 16-ft sailboat and a 15-ft skiff hull. Composites One's technical team, including Andre Cocquyt (GRP.guru.com, Stuart, Fla.), used light resin transfer molding (LRTM), vacuum infusion processing (VIP) and closed cavity bag molding (CCBM).
All available exhibition space was taken up by the show's 820 exhibitors, which included boat manufacturers, producers of boatbuilding materials, boating equipment and accessory suppliers and service companies headquartered in more than 25 countries. Of interest to CT readers were the more than 125 companies that exhibited composites-related products or services in the show's Composites Pavilion, a feature introduced at last year's IBEX event.
Pavilion Product Showcase
Representatives from the CT editorial staff were on hand and sighted the following new products and other developments, a mere sampling of those on display.
Ashland Performance Materials, Composite Polymers (Dublin, Ohio) introduced to boat manufacturers its new AROPOL NLN closed molding resin, a derivative of its "pop-free"resin system, developed for applications of sheet molding compound (SMC) in automotive exterior body panels that must endure high heat in automotive OEM paint curing ovens. The room-temperature-cure resin enables boatbuilders to achieve automotive gloss on above-the-waterline boat components. The company credits finish quality to the use of a tailored unsaturated polyester resin and Ashland's NEULON low-profile additives. ashchem.gocomp.biz/41
Delcam Plc (Birmingham, U.K.) demonstrated a new release of PowerMILL, Delcam's leading CAM software for companies moving from traditional machining methods to computer-controlled machining. Used with third-party CNC machines, the software reportedly offers fast calculation times and a wide range of 5-axis strategies for both roughing and finishing, plus comprehensive gouge/collision checking and integrated simulation, which permits correction of problems on the computer before machining begins. System options enable complex 5-axis operations to be programmed quickly and easily and support programming of 5-axis swarf machining, a cutting technique carried out with the side of the tool rather than the tip. This allows a job to be completed with a single setup rather than the multiple setups required with 3-axis machining. delcam.gocomp.biz/14
Magnum Venus Products (MVP, Clearwater, Fla.) introduced its new Patriot pump for FRP production. One of its primary features is a catalyst-to-resin variance of less than 1 percent ï¿½ a substantial improvement over the 30 percent variance that MVP says can be found in pumps currently on the market. The system also incorporates a displacement rod that is deep-induction heat hardened and then coated with a thick, hard chrome layer to increase product life. It also has a ceramic-coated displacement shaft and a "soft stop"inlet valve that allows for a positive seating surface, with a stop feature to maintain consistent flow and reduce inlet ball wear. The system can be used in closed mold processes, such as RTM. mvpind.gocomp.biz/23
MIXPAC Equipment Inc. (Salem, N.H.), a developer of refillable, dual-component dispensing systems, showcased its DX dispensing system. The compact, mobile DX includes a handheld dispenser with a refill station, providing a versatile and accurate solution for two-component material dispensing in boat assembly, including deck-to-hull fitting, stringer system binding, cabin building, roof laying and door applications. The system offers the ability to dispense 1:1, 1.5:1, 2:1, 4:1 and 10:1 ratios of two-component reactive resins. Multiple handheld dispensers can quickly be refilled with one DXR refill station, says the company. The refill station uses two transfer pumps that are fed from 5-gal bulk containers of material, each equipped with follower plates to handle a wide range of viscosities. mixpacusa.gocomp.biz/6
Polyumac Inc. (Hialeah, Fla.) announced that it is now the exclusive distributor of NAVICEL PVC structural foam core manufactured by JFC Inc. (Osaka, Japan). Two densities are currently available: Q60 (3.75 lb/ft3) and Q80 (5 lb/ft3). The product already has been approved for certain applications by the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS), Lloyd's and Det Norske Veritas (DNV), among other standards organizations. polyumac.gocomp.biz/1
Prairie Technology (Hutto, Texas) introduced a new, quick-curing silicone for rapid alteration and repair of its SWORL spray-made, reusable vacuum bags. The silicone repair material is said to be easy to dispense from dual-cartridge packages. It attains handling strength in less than 30 minutes and contains no solvents, VOCs or HAPS. Once cured, the silicone bonding material reportedly exhibits high elongation and tear strength and can withstand exposure to temperatures up to 350°F/177°C. prairietechgroup.gocomp.biz/3
3M Marine (St. Paul, Minn.) premiered its PPS Sun Gun color-matching light, said to be the industry's first portable source of simulated daylight for gel coat and paint finish evaluation. The gun's halogen light is designed for use in several phases of boat production ï¿½ from color matching to checking coverage as well as detection of surface defects, such as sand scratches, pinholes, swirl marks and dull spots. The gun reportedly does not generate hot spots or dim with use. The Scotch-Weld PUR Easy Adhesive Applicator and moisture-curing polyurethane adhesives are designed to provide the production benefits of hot-melt technology with the performance benefits of structural adhesive technology. The adhesive dispenses through an applicator at 180°F/82°C and can remain in the applicator at dispensing temperature for up to 40 hours. The adhesive chemistry enables bonds to wood, plastics, rubber, dissimilar materials and plasticized vinyls. A choice of four adhesives offers variations in set times and tensile strength. 3m.gocomp.biz/10
3Tex (Cary, N.C.) introduced its new ZPlex conformable sandwich panel system to the marine market. The system features slender foam cores woven into a z-shaped fabric matrix, thereby integrating fabric and core in one product. The company says the product can be contoured easily, without delamination, over curved mold surfaces that make conformability difficult when balsa or foam cores are used. Once infused and cured, the product's z-columns become rigid. Designed for lightly loaded parts, such as car hoods, ducts, engine covers and doors, the product easily accommodates rivets to hold brackets, shelves, hinges, or lighting, says the company. E-glass faceskins range from 32 oz/yd2 to 76 oz/yd2, with cores 0.25 inch to 0.5 inch in diameter; ZPlex also is available with different thicknesses on each side, if desired. The company reports that 54-oz skin variants have been hand layed by wetting the mold side before laying; fibers employed to date include carbon, E-glass and hybrid variants. 3tex.gocomp.biz/15
VABS Ltd. (Auckland, New Zealand) brought its Vacmobiles to the U.S. for the first time. Designed for infusion molding of boat components, the vacuum systems are notable for their mobility, says the company, which enables boatbuilders to move the vacuums into close proximity with the production mold, thereby minimizing leakage and increasing productivity. For large-hull production, multiple Vacmobiles can be grouped together; individually they can be used for infusion of smaller components, vacuum-pressing of veneered panels, and for vacuum-holding of components during trimming operations or dockside/onsite repair work. The Infusion 20/2 model shown at IBEX has an integral resin trap and a vacuum regulation valve for maintaining vacuum levels of 50 to 90 percent. vabs.gocomp.biz/1
Webcore Technologies Inc. (Miamisburg, Ohio) had its sales and technical support team on hand to answer questions about its TYCOR core product line. The product is a resin-infusable core material made by a proprietary manufacturing process in which fiber reinforcement is stitched through the thickness of closed-cell foam sheets to form a vertical web or rib-stiffened core structure. The dry fiber web and faceskin fabric are resin-infused to form a sandwich panel with significant z-directional reinforcement. The company also participated in the IBEX outdoor demo zone, highlighting the ease and benefits of using TYCOR core in infusion molding processes. webcoreonline.gocomp.biz/7