OCONTO, Wis. – Cruisers Yachts, a division of KCS International Inc., has implemented a vacuum infusion process in the creation of fiberglass hull parts at its Wisconsin boat-building facility, the company said in a release today.
The traditional method of fiberglass construction requires hulls to be laid in an open mold where laborers apply a coat of resin over each layer of fiberglass with a spray gun or roller, which must be worked into the laminate. Laborers protect themselves with rubber boots, paper suits and face masks.
However, the vacuum infusion process works by laying the entire laminate dry into a mold, under an airtight membrane, then filling it with resin in one step. Cruisers said the new process will result in a healthier work environment, increased strength in new parts and a 30 to 70-percent more efficient process.
The process is environmentally friendly because of its more effective use of materials and resources and produces less waste. Vacuum infusion also uses less fiber and resin, requiring less grinding and sanding and leaving little need to clean tools and equipment. VIP cuts production time from days to hours, which can result in a minimum of 30-percent in labor savings, Cruisers said.
"The vacuum infusion process not only benefits our workers and the environment, it also allows us to create structurally stronger and lighter parts which result in a better product for consumers," said Jim Viestenz, president of KCS International, Inc. "Implementing the new infusion process is just another step in advancing with the latest technologies in the boating industry."
Cruisers Yachts began testing the VIP in August, with laborers receiving thorough training in new process procedures. The company said it plans to expand the use of the VIP to all hull models in the near future.
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