Sika is a global company with more than 113 production and marketing subsidiaries in 73 countries. They are a globally integrated company supplying specialty chemicals and application knowledge. Sika is a company with a strong innovative tradition, constantly striving for new levels of excellence. This means developing innovative products and solutions that will open up new opportunities for the company, its employees, and its partners in construction, trade and industry. Sika is a leader in processing materials used in sealing, bonding, damping, reinforcing and protecting load-bearing structures. Sika’s product range features high-quality concrete admixtures, specialty mortars, sealants and adhesives, damping and reinforcing materials, structural strengthening systems, industrial flooring as well as roofing and waterproofing systems.
Sika produces a range of resins for use with composite material systems. They work closely with Torpedalo sponsors John Burn Ltd, who introduced us to Andrew MacInally from Sika at the Composites Engineering Show 2010. Sika has since agreed to supply all of the resin we need to layup the boat, plus marine adhesives for bonding the separate boat mouldings together.
Hexcel offers a breadth and depth of products and services that is unmatched in the industry. From their worldwide manufacturing facilities they manufacture the full spectrum of advanced material solutions – this includes everything from carbon fibre and reinforcement fabrics to pre-impregnated materials (or “prepregs”) and honeycomb core, tooling materials and finished aircraft structures. Hexcel has implemented a forward thinking approach throughout its fifty plus years of providing superior industrial materials. From Roger Steele’s post-war laboratory in the basement of a suburban home, to the production of the lunar struts of the Apollo 11 lunar landing module, Hexcel has been synonymous with innovation.
We approached Kevin Ball of the UK arm of Hexcel in 2010 about the possibility of supplying Project Torpedalo with the carbon fibre we need to actually construct the boat. While the boat is relatively small, it will be constructed entirely of carbon fibre, which can be expensive to buy. Thankfully, Kevin and Hexcel have agrees to provide the 100 square metres of biaxial carbon cloth that we need, along with some unidirectional carbon tape. Every carbon fibre component of the boat will be made from Hexcel fibres, cured with Sika resin.
Lighter, Stronger, Faster – three qualities that are more important than ever in a world increasingly focussed on higher performance. Fortunately for the world’s top boat designers, SP-High Modulus, the marine business of Gurit, has been delivering those qualities for over 20 years. SP-High Modulus is a leading manufacturer and supplier of composite materials to the global boatbuilding market – integrating structural design, materials science, manufacturing technology and process engineering to ensure a solution tailored to individual specifications and needs. Such is SP-High Modulus’ expertise, its products are now used in more of the world’s top performance boats than any other manufacturer.
With secured supplies of tooling foam, carbon fibre and resin, the final material requirement for the manufacturing process was core foam. The hull and top deck of the boat will be of a “carbon sandwich” construction – interior and exterior skins of carbon fibre, with a central core of lightweight but structural foam. This foam makes the section extremely strong, stiff and light. Among their vast range of products, SP-High Modulus make such foams, and they are delighted to be helping the project by supplying all of the core foam that we need.
Although best known for their modern Autoprop feathering and Varifold folding propellers, Bruntons have been designing and manufacturing propellers and sterngear for all types and sizes of vessels for over 100 years. The group to which they belong can trace its beginnings back even further, to the earliest days of screw propulsion. This experience, together with their advanced research, design and manufacturing facilities, enables them to provide total propulsion solutions of the highest quality and performance.
When propelling a boat with human power alone, it’s extremely important to have a drive system that’s as efficient as possible. The most important component in the system, and the one with the largest impact on efficiency, is undoubtedly the propeller. Bruntons have designed and manufactured a unique, custom propeller for us; one which is matched to our target speed and power and so is efficient as the laws of physics allow. The prop contributes to a drivetrain efficiency from legs to water of over 85%, which is incredible.
Since the first James Latham began importing hardwoods into Liverpool in 1757, the company has, under the continuing management and direction of the Latham family, developed into a leading importer and distributor of wood-based sheet materials, joinery quality softwood and hardwood and hardwood flooring. The company has a Nationwide, strategically placed distribution base, fully able to bring their ever expanding range of products and services to existing and potential customers. With 11 trading offices operating from 10 sites located in Dudley, Fareham, Gateshead, Hemel Hempstead, Ossett, Purfleet, Scotland, Thurrock, Wigston and Yate, they are able to offer a wide range of products for collection or delivery.
Latham’s came to our rescue just as we approached the start of mould tool manufacture. While the moulds themselves are made out of high-density Sika polyurethane foam from John Burn Ltd, in order to reduce the amount of very expensive foam needed we decided to mount the foam blocks on to MDF armatures. This suddenly meant we needed over 60 MDF sheets! Fortunately, James Latham were very happy to provide the material we needed, saving the project over a thousand pounds. We’re extremely grateful to them for agreeing to help us and for sending material so quickly that manufacture of the mould tools was not delayed.
Composite Innovations Ltd is a specialist composites engineering design consultancy. The company offers a distinctive range of specialist engineering and design services, and these are not just aimed at the composites industry, but also to other creative and innovation sectors. Their clients come from several industry sectors, from medical through to wind energy. With a particularly strong and practical background in composites manufacture and composite engineering science, they offer a complete solution from the ground up.
Our partnership with Composite Innovations started as a fantastic stroke of luck. The MD, Tim Searle, happens to be married to Debra Searle – who rowed the Atlantic Ocean solo in 2001. When we arranging to meet with Debra, we realised that Tim was a composites expert, and we approached him about being our main composites specialist and advisor. Fortunately for us, Tim agreed to help, and since has been instrumental in determining the specification of the materials we’ll be using, the layup procedure and the process for joining individual sections of the boat.
Pentaxia is a company specialising in the production of complex models, moulds and patterns for the aerospace and motorsports industries. We got in touch with MD Stephen Ollier in urgent need of help. Before the two halves of the boat were joined, we needed to make and fit a large interior moulding, that fits around the drive leg, sealing it and creating a storage area. Being used to Formula 1 time scales, Pentaxia knew they could deliver the mould we needed for the part in a matter of days, so agreed to help!
John Burn Ltd once again supplied Sika tooling board, and Mark sent CAD data directly to Pentaxia. Less than three days after the data arrived, the tool was ready for collection – now that’s quick service! Norco reflected the pace of the tool manufacture by having the mould prepped, carbon layed-up, moulding cured and the part released within two days of delivery. We’re extremely grateful to Stephen, Adam and the team at Pentaxia for working so hard and so fast at a crucial time – their work played a huge part in having the boat ready for the Cycle Show.
Bay Plastics Limited are plastic stockists, plastic fabricators, and plastic formists, supplying customers all over the world with quality plastic materials and products at competitive prices. The company offers an extensive range of stock to accommodate the diverse market for semi-finished plastic materials. Their main focus is providing exceptional level of service through their professional cutting department allowing customers to purchase custom sizes in plastic sheets and rods, with rapid delivery time.
Using data supplied by Mark, Bay Plastics are making the windows for the boat from 10mm thick acrylic sheet. The windscreen will be made by drape forming a piece of acrylic over a mould tool made for us by The Design Orchard, and the windscreen will then be trimmed together with the side windows using Bay Plastics’ five-axis CNC machine. The windows not only have to have exactly the right shape and curvature, they must be tough enough to withstand wave loadings and anything else the ocean can throw at them. We’re delighted that Bay Plastics are on board as we know they’ll do a perfect job!
The endcap for the driveleg, which holds the propeller shaft and associated sprocket, seals and bearings, is teardrop shaped component that must be heavy (to help the stability of the boat) and resistant to seawater corrosion. The most appropriate material for this is aluminium bronze, a naval alloy that is perfect for the job but not cheap! We are extremely lucky to have found Columbia Metals, who have agreed to supply a billet of the material we need from which the endcap can be machined.
Columbia Metals are one of the leading non ferrous metals stockholders in the UK, with a range including high performance copper, nickel and stainless steel alloys for all industries and applications. They specialise in the supply of high performance alloys with excellent corrosion resistance and superior strength characteristics – exactly what the Torpedalo needs! Additionally, and uniquely within the metal stockholding industry, Columbia Metals has established itself as a supplier of its own extensive range of special, Trademark alloys. They can supply materials with a unique blend of properties and continue to ensure that engineers have access to an exceptional choice of alloys not available from other sources.