Show Coverage: IBEX Boat Shows Showcase

Composites and composite molding processes make strong statement in Miami.

With exhibition space sold out and seminar preregistration exceeding 2004 totals, the 2005 International BoatBuilders Exhibition & Conference (IBEX), held Oct. 19-21 at the Miami Beach Convention Center in Miami, Fla., promised great value to exhibitors and attendees alike. Despite damage and travel difficulties left in the wake of Hurricane Wilma, the show offered much to composite boatbuilders who made the trip.

The outdoor demonstration area, triple the size of last year's "demo zone," was the site of one of the largest closed-mold demonstrations ever held at IBEX.

As an audience of more than 300 looked on, technicians from composites distributor Composites One (Arlington Heights, Ill.) built the hull and deck for a 16-ft sailboat using the Light Resin Transfer Molding (LRTM) process, to demonstrate the practicality of the process for manufacturing very large parts. A random drawing after the demonstration awarded a fully rigged version of the boat to Jim Huddleston, plant manager at Dynasty Boats Inc. (Vinemont, Ala.).

Pavillion Picks

The accent was on convenience this year, as show organizers grouped composites-related suppliers into a Composites Pavilion, which occupied most of one of the show's three exhibition halls. The following is just a sampling of what was on offer.

On display at the 3TEX (Cary, N.C.) booth was ZPlex cored three-dimensional reinforcement. The highly conformable product is designed for vacuum infusion and RTM. The product embeds a closed-cell core within standard 3WEAVE three-dimensional woven material. The core does not absorb moisture or compact under vacuum, and its z-direction fibers help prevent delamination. ZPlex is offered in 6.4-mm and 9.5-mm (0.25-inch and 0.375-inch) core thickness with 54 oz/yd2 structural 3WEAVE skins. 3tex.gocomp.biz/11

ATC Formulated Polymers Inc. (Burlington, Ontario, Canada) introduced Poly-Fair F25 high-build polyester-based fairing compound. With a longer gel time than the company's Poly-Fair F26 (15 to 20 minutes compared to 3 to 5 minutes), F25 can be applied to greater thickness than the earlier product. atc-fp.gocomp.biz/1

Delcam (Windsor, Ontario, Canada) showed PowerINSPECT OMV, an on-machine verification tool for CNC machine tools. The product allows Delcam to directly use CAD files and to show deviations from the CAD dimensions, so that reworking needs can be identified before a part is removed from a machining center. PowerINSPECT OMV also provides a graphical and tabulated report. delcam.gocomp.biz/6

DIAB (Desoto, Texas) premiered HP, a new high-temperature core material for marine and wind turbine applications. It can be processed at up to 130*C/266*F making it suitable for prepreg and closed-mold applications, the company reports. It is currently produced in densities from 80 kg/m3 to 200 kg/m3 (5 lb/ft3 to 12.5 lb/ft3), and DIAB has plans to extend this range. diabgroup.gocomp.biz/18

Epoxical Inc. (S. St. Paul, Minn.) displayed its complete line of epoxy systems for infusion. The products offer heat-distortion temperatures of more than 93*C/200*F, the company reports, enabling boats to travel in hot, humid climates without surface distortion or blisters. epoxi.gocomp.biz/2

Eurovac Inc. (Concord, Ontario, Canada) presented a new shroud that facilitates dust-free operation of hole saws. Its flexible suction hose surrounds the bit and maintains contact with the surface being sawn, capturing dust for collection by one of the company's vacuum units. eurovac.gocomp.biz/1

Forest City Tool Inc. (Hickory, N.C.) showed off the winner of the 2005 IBEX Innovation Award for the "Yard & Boat Construction Hardware & Software" category, the company's Quick Change Hole Boring system. The three-tool system incorporates quick-change shanks that provide for clean, efficient boring in composite materials, the company reports. In addition to a transom drill and 3-wing drill, the system includes a (pat. pend.) clean hole saw, uniquely designed with a tapered bore to allow easy plug ejection. forestcitytool.gocomp.biz/1

IPS Weld-On Corp. (Research Triangle Park, N.C.) announced that the company received acceptance from Lloyd Registry and a certificate of design assessment from ABS for its SS230 HV high-viscosity structural adhesive. The adhesive comes with a selection of four activators that provide a range of working times up to 130 minutes. The product exhibits superior toughness and high shear strength, reduced sag and sliding, and little or no residual odor, the company reports. ipscorp.gocomp.biz/7

MultiCam LP (Dallas/Ft. Worth Airport, Texas) showed its new MultiCam high-speed cutter. The carbon-fiber gantry on this machine provides a lightweight, stiff and accurate structure for the cutting unit, which cuts patterns from single plies of nonporous material or multiple plies of porous material. The unit offers cutting widths up to 306 cm/120 inches and maximum velocity of 220 cm/sec (72 inches/sec). multicam.gocomp.biz/1

Phoenix Resins Inc. (Cinnaminson, N.J.), maker of MAS epoxies, discussed a new room-temperature-cure No-Blush Fast hardener for fiberglass repair and construction applications. The hardener, which can be used with MAS and FLAG resins, offers a pot life of 7 to 8 minutes and a thin-film set of two hours at 25*C/77*F. This rapid hardening allows boatbuilders to extend the building and repair season into cooler temperatures, the company reports. masepoxies.gocomp.biz/1

Prairie Technology Group's (Hutto, Texas) new sprayable, reusable SWORL vacuum bagging system is made from solvent- and VOC-free, low-odor, one-component, moisture-cure PRSI 108 silicone. The bags are designed to conform to tool surfaces, fitting tightly in radii, draping easily over complex contours and lasting for as many as 100 mold cycles. prairietechgroup.gocomp.biz/1

Richmond Aircraft Products Inc. (Norwalk, Calif.) touted its 10.3m/34.4-ft wide vacuum bagging material. The gusseted Vac Pak 400Y medium-temperature bagging film, supplied in 0.06-mm/0.0025-inch thickness, offers better than

527-kg/cm (7500-psi) tensile strength and 400 percent elongation, and has a maximum use temperature of 155*C/310*F. richmondaircraft.gocomp.biz/9

Sika (Madison Heights, Mich.) touted its Sika-Fast 3000 series structural adhesive. The methyl methacrylate product is uniquely flexible, the company contends. Its high elasticity is said to help distribute loads and raise fracture strength of bonds. sikaindustry.gocomp.biz/2

SP (Magog, Quebec, Canada) discussed its Sparc film, which can be combined with an infusion process, decreasing post-mold processing, to produce a gel coat-like finish that is more durable and damage-resistant than traditional gel coats, the company reports. Sparc is reportedly easy to repair, and is designed to self-repair to a limited extent. A variant, Sparc Clear, offers a lacquer-like quality, with a glossy finish. spsystems.gocomp.biz/31

VEC Technology LLC (Greenville, Pa.) announced that it had recently licensed its proprietary closed-molding technology to Commercial Vehicle Group Inc. (CVG, New Albany, Ohio), which will use the fabrication technique for components on Class 6, 7 and 8 heavy trucks. CVG has been granted exclusive rights to use the VEC process in this market, under the five-year licensing agreement. vectechnology.gocomp.biz/3