Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Marine Concepts facility visit.

Building a production boat is like a recipe for Cajun Gumbo. First you start with a roux, or in our case a boat plug and mold. Most production boats are now designed using CAD (Computer Aided Design) software. This process yields many advantages. The design output is very precise. Hydrodynamic and stability characteristics are modeled, along with displacement, water resistance, and much more.

If a mold's plug is going to be CNC/robotically milled the design complexity of the plug can be increased well past the point where humans can efficiently hand make them. For example bait wells, storage compartments, anchor locker, or console can all be integrated into one deck mold.

More complex hull shapes, steps and strake designs are now possible. Some CAD software can model pulling parts from a mold by checking for interference problems before construction. This answers questions like, "Can my design with a reverse transom actually be released from the mold?"

The first thing I noticed about my visit to JRL Ventures/Marine Concepts is the vocabulary. The main term used is "Tooling". Using this word is a reflection of the way they see their business, and technologies they apply.

Boeing and Lockheed use tooling. The boat builder historically uses molds. They're exactly the same thing, but the mind-set between these two words can often be huge. Tooling in my mind immediately implies aerospace grade precision, and this is what Marine Concepts is all about.