Chicago, January 27, 2006 (word count: 909)
Poncin Yachts, a French pleasure-boat manufacturer and vendor, is taking advantage of the technology provided by the ESI Group's PAM-RTM software, a simulation software program used for simulation of manufacturing composite components by injection. Thanks to technological partnerships with plastics industry specialists and the applied engineering from the software, the yacht company has defined a method of production never seen before in the field of water sports.
A newcomer to the boating and sailing industry, the company’s latest project is to develop a new range of modern 30-to-48-foot-long sail boats. For making the composite hulls and decks, it will incorporate high-performance and computer-controlled tooling as part of an innovative industrial manufacturing process using resin transfer molding and vacuum infusion, or the “closed mold” process. The PAM-RTM software simulates a mold based on various parameters to optimize its design. For example, it can simulate the advance of the resin in the mold to predict problems, such as dry spots, which can be adjusted on the simulation allowing for more accurate tooling when the mold design is fit for production.
For Poncin Yachts, the software has made it possible to design and develop new tooling for its composite-materials production lines that use closed mold technology. The eastern France plastics industry cluster, the Pôle de Plasturgie de L’Est, who helped the company team up with composite-materials specialists, has made considerable use of resin injection simulation on fibrous reinforcements with the same software.
The closed mold technique produces higher quality parts with better appearance due to its highly detailed and controlled processes. The combined use of resin transfer molding and vacuum infusion guarantees a very high degree of resin homogeneity in all compartments of the mold for greater rigidity and constant weight. All of the parameters are managed by automated controllers with sensors that continuously monitor temperature, pressure, volume, etc.
The high-level automation of the closed molds also makes this technique safer. Resin is injected under vacuum pressure, preventing contact with harmful products. The emanations from noxious volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are contained and dealt with at a later time, thereby allowing a reduction in the emanation rate, now estimated at between 5 and 10 ppm. This is two times less than the future requirements of the European standard that will be applied in 2007.
“With PAM-RTM, Poncin Yachts is now able to anticipate potential manufacturing problems which could not previously be simulated when voluminous parts were being designed,” says Dr. Patrick de Luca, head of Composite Materials Solutions for ESI Group.
Poncin Yachts has invested more than $20 million in its modern factory spread over an area of 110,000 ft2, recruited more than 170 people since the beginning of the project, and set up a production and quality control model typically found only in the automobile and aeronautics industries. This model, the only one of its kind, makes it possible to reduce costs and development lead times as well as optimize industrial capacities by operating around the clock.
About ESI Group:
ESI Group is a world-leading supplier and pioneer of digital simulation software for prototyping and manufacturing processes that take into account the physics of materials. Its extensive suite of coherent, industry-oriented applications realistically simulate a product’s behavior during testing to fine-tune manufacturing processes for desired product performance and evaluate the environment’s impact on it. The products have a proven track record in manufacturing and represent a virtual engineering solution known as the Virtual Try-Out Space (VTOS), enabling virtual prototypes to be improved in a continuous and collaborative manner. This allows the company’s solutions to work together and with other independently developed applications. By reducing costs and development lead times and enabling product/process synergies, VTOS solutions offer a competitive advantage by lessening the need for physical prototypes during product development. The company employs almost 500 high-level specialists worldwide covering more than 30 countries. Virtual Try-Out Space® and VTOS® are registered trademarks of ESI Group. All other products, names or companies are the brands or registered trademarks of their respective owners.
About Poncin Yachts:
Poncin Yachts specializes in the design, building and marketing of yachts and pleasure boats. The group also operates a port concession in the city of Port-Pin-Rolland on the French Riviera. The annual sales turnover can be broken down as follows: 46.6% is from new boat sales, which includes general public sailing boats (Harmony range), luxury catamarans (Catana range), and single-hulled sailing boats (Diva range), and 29.1% is from second-hand boat sales, mainly Catana and Harmony boats. The company attended the Atlanta Boat Show 2006 on Jan. 11.
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