Most boat builders overestimate cost of closed molding

MIAMI -– Owens Corning has released a survey indicating that 69 percent of boat builders who have not converted to closed molding cite cost as a major barrier, but more than 70 percent overestimate closed molding conversion costs by 20 times or were unable to estimate costs, according to a press release from the company today.

At present, 64 percent of all manufacturers have not converted any part of their operation, Owens Corning said.

“This is clearly a case of bad news, good news for the industry,” said Matt Dunn, Owens Corning North American business manager for fabrics. “It’s bad news, because manufacturers are missing out on the cost and performance benefits of closed molding – which provides better, more reproducible parts, improved shop conditions, lower personnel attrition, and is virtually free of emissions. The good news is that it’s simply a matter of industry education.”

In the study, which Owens Corning undertook to gauge the boat-building industry’s progress and perceptions regarding closed molding, most respondents who cited cost as a major barrier thought it would cost more than $100,000. However, the cost most often reported by those who have converted is actually less than $50,000 – much less in many cases.

Additional results showed:

  • Thirty percent use both open and closed molding.
  • Only 16 percent of companies that have not converted have plans to convert to closed molding.
  • “The real story for the industry is that conversion to closed molding is not capital intensive and is not a difficult technical challenge,” Dunn said. “But it does require careful planning of the required changes in the shop floor.”

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