Successful composite products begin with Vectorply’s R2O

Phenix City, Ala. – In an industry as competitive as composites fabrication, any edge that manufacturers can gain has the potential to pay huge dividends. As numerous customers have already discovered, Vectorply’s powerful tool known as the Road to Optimization (R2O) can identify key areas for improvement in the production process leading to higher quality products, increased efficiency, and a competitive edge in the market.

The Road to Optimization begins with an on-site technical meeting and audit by members of Vectorply’s engineering and sales teams. From the first time the material is handled at the customer’s facility, our team will have eyes on the process until the final product is complete.

With the meeting and audit complete, the Road to Optimization moves into the laminate analysis and design stage utilizing Vectorply’s proprietary software, VectorLam Cirrus 2.0. VectorLam is a free internet-based program (accessible at www.vectorply.com) that allows the engineering team and customer to determine the correct laminate schedule for the specific application. The selected materials are then tested, finalized, and the reinforcements are built to order.

The Road to Optimization was designed to help customers optimize their production process with the ideal materials and procedures. To find out more about Vectorply’s R2O and the difference it can make in your production process, call us today at 334-291-7704.

Vectorply composites strengthen Hale Boggs Memorial Bridge

Destrehan, LA – Spanning the Mississippi River to connect Destrehan on the east bank to Luling on the west bank, the Hale Boggs Memorial Bridge (also known as the Luling Bridge) is one of the Luling Bridge Picstate of Louisiana’s most crucial pieces of infrastructure.  With the bridge in need of surface repairs, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development turned to Engineering Consultant Malcolm Huval of Huval and Associates to find a solution that provided the most longevity.
The Luling Bridge is a 10,699-foot-long suspension bridge that presented Huval and Associates with the difficult task of developing a flexible composite structure that would adhere to the steel plate on the bridge as well as the concrete that would be poured for the roadway.  For this tall task, Huval developed a composite system utilizing Vectorply’s Kevlar/E-glass hybrid material and a highly adhesive and flexible epoxy resin.

“Bridges constantly move, especially suspension bridges, so a typical concrete and steel reinforced surface does not do well by itself and will eventually end up cracking,” explained Vectorply’s South/Central Region Sales Manager Doug Lachapelle. “The combination of specialized composite materials and resins make concrete surfaces on suspension bridges possible.”

The Hale Boggs Memorial Bridge is the latest infrastructure project to show the value composites provide in revitalization and repair. To find out more about using composites in your infrastructure or construction application, call Vectorply at 334-291-7704 or visit our website www.vectorply.com.

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U.S. Coast Guard marine inspectors train with Vectorply carbon

Richmond, CA – Maritime Technical Services of Tiburon, CA recently completed their 15th training course designed to teach United States Coast Guard marine inspectors how to inspect composite small passenger vessels.  The course is held three times a year at the KKMI Boathouse in Point Richmond, CA and consists of 20 students.Coast guard pic2

The course covers several topics including: small passenger vessel rules and standards for FRP (fiber-reinforced plastic) vessels, introduction to FRP and composite materials, vessel manufacturing techniques, composite testing, identifying dynamic loads in small passenger vessels, and tools of the trade and inspection techniques.

Finally, as seen in the photos, common repair methods are taught to the students. The students shown are repairing a hole in a piece of plywood using Vectorply C-LA 1812, an 18oz. carbon uni.

VectorLam Cirrus 2.0 Introductory Webinar (video)

Vectorply Corporation Director of Composites Engineering, Trevor Gundberg, P.E. leads an introductory webinar for VectorLam Cirrus 2.0. Cirrus 2.0 is the latest edition of Vectorply’s proprietary laminate analysis software. View the video below for the full-length webinar, or follow the link on our home page to register for VectorLam Cirrus 2.0 for free!

Note: For the highest quality, expand the video to full screen.

Viking Yachts 80’ Convertible brought to life with help from Vectorply’s Road to Optimization

PHENIX CITY, Ala. – The unveiling of Viking Yachts’ 80’ Convertible (80C) at the company’s annual dealer meeting in Atlantic City, N.J. marked the successful end of a well-planned journey for the new model. As the 80C navigated the water for sea trials in front of nearly 100 Viking dealers, history had once again been achieved by the luxury performance sportfishing and cruising yacht giant.

Another team that was celebrating the first float of Viking’s 80C was Vectorply Corporation’s engineering and sales team. Vectorply Director of Composites Engineering Trevor Gundberg, along with Vectorply’s team of engineers and Northern Region Sales Manager Seth Holman, also invested a significant amount of time into the successful design and fabrication of the 80C.Viking 80 Production

Vectorply’s Road to Optimization (R2O) is a process of evaluating a company’s laminate and production process from start to finish, from the time the material is delivered until the customer’s product is complete. The R2O for the Viking 80C unofficially began in 2012, with successful composite fabrication ending the journey three years later.

In April 2012, Vectorply and Viking began the process of discussing E-glass/carbon quadraxial hybrid options to replace heavier E-glass quads in various models. With weight savings at the forefront of discussions, Vectorply, along with 3A Composites and Mahogany Company, traveled to New Gretna, N.J. in May 2012 for a face-to-face meeting with members of Viking’s team.

With the on-site meeting and technical audit complete, initial studies were compiled in Vectorply’s proprietary laminate analysis software program, VectorLam Cirrus. The results of the study were two potential E-glass/carbon hybrid candidates to replace the bulky 48oz/yd² and 64oz/yd² E-glass quads in current Viking laminates. The 35oz/yd² and 44oz/yd² hybrid replacements were chosen due to their ability to provide the same or better mechanical properties, but at a reduced weight.

During the reinforcement design step on the Road to Optimization the two E-glass/carbon hybrid quads were revised from the VectorLam versions to production-ready materials. A cost analysis was provided to Viking, allowing them to determine if the new materials were cost-effective.

A test matrix was originally drawn up in June 2012 following the collaborative meeting at Viking Yachts.  Between June and August, Vectorply produced sample quantities of EC-QXM 3508 and EC-QXM 4408.  Laminates were also produced in Vectorply’s lab during this time (including “control” laminates made from E-QXM 6410 and 4808) using a standard infusion grade vinyl ester resin system. These samples were later tested in flexure by 3A Composites in March 2013.

In June 2013 it was decided to run a more detailed test program, very similar to the original test matrix, and have a third party test lab (AMC) perform the testing. For this detailed testing, the laminates were produced using the same resin system Viking currently uses (Ashland’s AME 6001 INF-35 with Syrgis/United Initiators Norox MCP-75 initiator). Testing was completed in November 2013, which included testing for tensile, compressive, and flexural properties in the 0°, 90°, and 45° (bias) orientations.  VectorLam predictions were once again modified to more closely match the test data.

The hybrid fabrics became a topic of conversation again in August 2014, just before a technical meeting between Vectorply, Viking, 3A, and Mahogany in September 2014, which was the kick-off meeting for the new 80’ Convertible model. According to Viking Yachts’ Vice President of Design and Engineering, Lonni Rutt, the 80C was the perfect model to utilize the E-glass/carbon hybrid quads based on the company’s goals for the new boat.

“We were looking to bring a new model between the 76’ and 82’ class that was more efficient with better performance and provided more room than the smaller boat,” Rutt said. “Weight reduction was huge with respect to maintaining the performance. At the end of the day, performance is all about weight when it comes to boats of this size. We are limited in horsepower when you get to that size boat, so a lighter boat is going to go faster.”

Vectorply worked with 3A Composites on designing the 80C hull bottom and side laminates utilizing the hybrid fabrics, which were discussed during the meeting. After the meeting, samples of the EC-QXM 3508 and 4408 were sent to Mahogany for kit cutting and supplied to Viking for in-house process testing.

The final steps of the materials testing and analysis portion of the R2O took place in September and December 2014 when the 80C deck laminates and hull stringer laminates were derived. Each of the laminates was designed using ABS High Speed Craft scantling rules as guidelines.

With the materials chosen and testing complete, the Road to Optimization moved on to the fifth step, building reinforcements to order. Viking 80 WaterThe first production run of the hybrid quads took place in
December 2014, with three subsequent runs in 2015 in April, June, and October. Thanks to the thorough planning by Vectorply and Viking, each material in the laminate was designed to fit into Vectorply’s current production schedule.

“We’ve done a good job from a collaboration standpoint where there is nothing that Viking orders that doesn’t fit into our production
schedule,” Holman said. “The fabrics fall under our normal lead times. They were designed to utilize some aspects of standard set-ups, which in-turn make the new fabrics readily available from a production and delivery standpoint. As a group we have done a great job selecting materials that are efficient for everybody.”

Once the materials were received Viking completed the Road to Optimization with the successful production of the first 80C in early 2015, and the results were phenomenal. Not only did the new 80C achieve better top-end performance results than the 82’, it also surpassed those of the smaller 76’.

“The speed of the 80’ is 41+ knots, which is about 3.5 knots faster than the 82’. It is also faster than the smaller 76’,” Rutt explained.

The collaboration between Vectorply, Viking, 3A, and Mahogany has been a major reason for Viking’s ability to lead the field of semicustom boat builders in innovation, according to Rutt.

“A tremendous benefit for our company has been seeing what everybody brings to the table in terms of their specific piece of knowledge,” he said. “The fact is that you have people who have the opportunity to see other things and bring new, different ideas. Vectorply is dealing in multiple industries in addition to marine, and our knowledge is going to be driven by what we have in house and what we learn from out of house.”

Making boats lighter and faster than smaller models is a difficult task, but with Vectorply’s Road to Optimization Viking Yachts was able to accomplish that lofty objective with the 80’ Convertible. From start to finish, the Road to Optimization can help customers achieve goals that seem unlikely at first glance. To find out more about the Road to Optimization, call Vectorply today at 334-291-7704.

Vectorply adds 100″ multiaxial machine

Vectorply Corporation recently expanded its manufacturing capabilities with the installation of a 100” multiaxial Karl Mayer LIBA COPCENTRA Max 4 machine. The new state-of-the-art Max 4 machine will help Vectorply continue to meet and exceed the needs of our customers with high-quality composite reinforcements delivered on time. For more information on Vectorply fabrics, call us at (334) 291-7704

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Vectorply unveiling new technology at CAMX

PHENIX CITY, Ala. – Vectorply Corporation is excited to announce the release of VectorLam Cirrus 2.0 at the Composites and Advanced Materials Expo (CAMX) on October 26-29, 2015 at the Dallas Convention Center in Dallas, Texas.

VectorLam Cirrus 2.0 is the latest edition of Vectorply’s proprietary laminate analysis software. VectorLam Cirrus 2.0 provides a cloud-based, multi-platform compatible approach to classical laminate theory and provides a suite of services across diversified market segments. This upgrade from the Excel-based version of VectorLam allows users to build and access laminates on nearly any internet connected device.

VectorLam Cirrus 2.0 helps users achieve goals of stiffness, strength, weight and cost by allowing users to design the perfect laminate for their application. Whether it is comparing materials, resin, or even manufacturing processes, VectorLam Cirrus 2.0 offers the best solution and reports it in clear, concise languageVectorLAM-Cirrus_2_logo_black_NO_WEBBASED

The VectorLam Cirrus 2.0 program is free to all users, and will be accessible through Vectorply’s website, www.vectorply.com.

The Vectorply website also features a new look that will be on display at CAMX 2015. Visitors who have not yet seen the new website will be able to view the easier to navigate pages and see examples of Vectorply’s easily downloadable specification sheets.

Another exciting event that will take place at CAMX 2015 is the debut of Vectorply’s new 20’ X 20’ custom show booth (Booth T112). The interactive booth will feature examples of the latest product offerings by Vectorply including thermoplastic, carbon rod, and lightweight carbon fabrics among many others. Visitors will be able to take a hands-on tour of the new booth to see how Vectorply designs and manufactures custom fabrics to meet their specific requirements.

Finally, Vectorply’s Director of Composites Engineering, Trevor Gundberg, P.E., will present his technical paper titled E-Glass/Polypropylene Woven & Stitch-Bonded Biaxial Fabrics – Static & Dynamic Composite Property Characterization at CAMX 2015. The paper covers the mechanical property testing, both static and dynamic, done on Vectorply’s ThermoPly E-Glass/polypropylene comingled fabrics. Gundberg will compare this data with other types of thermoplastic composites, including LFRT, and similar thermoset composites.

Vectorply debuts new booth, products at IBEX 2015

Louisville, KY. – Vectorply Corporation recently participated in the International Boatbuilder’s Exhibition and Conference at the Kentucky Convention Center in Louisville, KY. The show, with the theme “Building Better Boats,” offered boat builders a chance to learn about the latest products and offerings in the marine market including Vectorply’s advanced composite reinforcements.

IBEX Sign LouisvilleAt the show, Vectorply unveiled a new 10’ X 20’ booth designed and built by Clawson, MI.-based Creative Solutions Group. The new booth displayed samples of Vectorply’s latest reinforcement fabrics such as CR-LCX 3610, a carbon rod-reinforced VectorUltra fabric. Infusion-specific, hybrid VectorUltra, and lightweight carbon fabrics were also on display. Members of Vectorply’s management and technical services teams were on-hand to assist visitors with any questions about the company or products.

According to the IBEX website there were 4,700 total qualified attendees, equivalent to the number of professionals that were at the 2013 event when it was last held in Louisville. IBEX drew quality boat builders and other industry professionals from around the globe, representing 42 countries.

With IBEX 2015 in the books, Vectorply will now turn their focus to the upcoming Composites and Advanced Materials Expo (CAMX) to be held at the Dallas Convention Center in Dallas, TX on October 27-29. If you are planning to attend CAMX, please stop by booth T112 to visit and learn how Vectorply reinforcements can help you take your product to new heights!

IBEX 2015 floor

Scout Boats’ 420 LXF made possible with Vectorply’s R2O

PHENIX CITY, Ala. – In a market as diverse as the United States marine market, Vectorply Corporation understands that each boat builder has unique goals they strive to achieve with individual projects or models. With a list of must-meet goals in hand, Scout Boats, Inc. turned to Vectorply to assist with laminate design and technical recommendations as they tackled their first epoxy-infused boat hull.

Although epoxy infusion was new to Scout, Vectorply’s Southeastern Region Sales Manager, Jordan Haar, complimented the market innovator for their willingness to try new production methods for their customers.

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Scout 420 LXF hull

“Scout’s willingness to be open-minded and venture into new realms of production to achieve the cosmetics and see the added bonuses of epoxy was a worthwhile investment that their customers will value,” Haar said. “This further reinforces Scout’s commitment not only to the industry, but also to their customers by producing a top-quality product,” he added.

Vectorply’s ‘Road to Optimization’ (R2O) is a process of evaluating a company’s laminate and production process from start to finish, from the time the material is delivered until the customer’s product is complete. To achieve the goals that Scout had for the new 42’ boat, Vectorply’s R20 was put to the test.

A team consisting of Vectorply, Composites One, Magnum Venus Products (MVP), and 3A Composites was on-hand to hear the objectives that Scout Boats wanted to achieve with the 420 LXF. This team was specially chosen after much consideration, according to Scout Boats Director of Manufacturing William Ferguson.

“We made sure that we did our due diligence to choose the right team,” Ferguson said. “We chose their team because they were focused on our needs and the attention to detail was second to none.”

Weight reduction and high cosmetic appeal were two of Scout’s biggest goals for the new model. The cosmetic appeal of the new boat would need to at least equal that of a traditional open molded hull, but the ambition was to be even more aesthetically pleasing. A boat as large as the 420 LXF would also need to be light enough to maintain top-of-the-line performance on the water.

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Scout 420 LXF hull infusion

With these goals in mind, Vectorply’s proprietary laminate building software program, VectorLam, was employed to create the optimal laminate. VectorLam helped members of the design team reach a lower weight by reducing or eliminating costly or heavy products such as resin and putty.  By working with VectorLam’s laminate design program the team was able to utilize higher quality laminates, which reduced the potential voids and created a better mechanical bond, resulting in peace of mind for the boat’s new owner.

The result of the hull infusion confirmed that Vectorply’s R2O solution achieved drastic savings in labor time and weight. The building of the hull saw reduced labor of 20 percent and the finishing time dropped 50-60 percent from the open molded hulls, according to Ferguson. The already lightweight hull, which was previously core-bonded, also achieved a 15 percent weight savings.  As for the cosmetics, the Vectorply solution performed even better than expected to create one of the sleekest boats on the market.

An added benefit of the Vectorply solution was a cleaner production facility that meant less waste and better working conditions for employees. Employees also saw a skill that they can learn to help improve value and productivity, according to Haar.

“I have seen a spark of new interest in many of Scout’s employees that want to be involved on the closed mold team,” Haar said. “I am excited to see employees more engaged and learning new skill sets that produce a better product.” These observations were echoed by Ferguson, who said he was very pleased with the somewhat unexpected cleaner and more engaging working environment.

Scout has big plans for the future utilizing closed molding infusion. In the LXF series the 380 and 350 models are the next hulls planned to be epoxy-infused. Ferguson also said that the stringers and consoles are on the schedule to be produced through closed molding.

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Scout Boats’ 420 LXF on the water

Vectorply’s ‘Road to Optimization’ has been a driving force for innovation across all markets. As the new Scout 420 LXF proved, the ‘Road to Optimization’ can turn ideas into real-world processes and results. With such a powerful program in place that is free to any customer, Vectorply is also proving their commitment to helping businesses create the best, most innovative products on the market.

To find out how Vectorply’s ‘Road to Optimization’ and other tools can help your business, call our customer service department today at 334-291-7704.