Monthly Archives: September 2013

76m Carbon Fibre Mast Leaves Factory

Future Fibres completes work on 76 metre mast for Perini Navi’s latest superyacht.


Following almost 18 months in design, development and construction, Future Fibres this week shipped its latest carbon fibre mast to Perini Navi’s La Spezia yard in Italy. Destined for the 60 metre sloop C.2218, as she is currently known, the 75.8 metre mast was built and shipped in two sections and will be joined over the next six weeks in the Perini yard. The accompanying Future Fibres furling boom and bespoke composite rigging package will be shipped later this month, with dressing and stepping of the rig due to take place in November.


The brief for project C.2218 focused on achieving the highest levels of performance and meant Future Fibres was able to utilise its extensive Grand Prix experience, incorporating many of the developments identified through its racing clients. However, with Future Fibres’ trade mark, milled aluminium, tooling they have managed to produce a tube with a perfect exterior surface and a flawless ‘Clearcote’, gloss carbon finish. The result not only looks impressive but with zero filler – which can add up to 3 per cent to the weight of a mast – further reduces unnecessary weight to deliver a mast with both performance and style.


Utilising Future Fibres’ 40 metre dedicated clean-room/oven meant the 23.4 metre furling boom could be manufactured using pre-preg carbon, rather than standard wet-laminate, improving structural performance and again, reducing weight. The boom has been through a detailed design and development process with special attention on the complex systems required for sail furling and handling. The result is a new mandrel furling and locking system which has gone through extensive testing and prototyping.


Tim Meldrum, Chief Designer for the project commented: “Bringing the innovations we’ve developed for the race market to a superyacht of this size certainly represented a challenge. We invested a tremendous amount of time into the design and management of the project to ensure we understood every variable down to the smallest detail and we are very pleased with the outcome. Once launched, C.2218 will have a hugely powerful Doyle Sails sail plan and a complete Future Fibres rigging package. The lateral rigging is solid carbon with a mix of carbon, PBO and Kevlar for the fore and aft cables. The enormous code zero is using the top-down furling technique for improved system safety and the cable required is the longest and most powerful furling cable we have ever produced. We even had to extend our winding bed through the end wall of the factory to build it! That alone is exciting but it’s just a tiny part of what should be an incredible boat and a real challenger on the superyacht race circuit for years to come.”


Quickstep’s RST Technology Passes Test

Quickstep is an Australian Company and approved supplier for the international F‐35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program ‐ the largest military aerospace program in the world, valued at in excess of US$300 billion worldwide. To date more than 68 JSF aircraft have been delivered to the US Department of Defence, and this number is now expected to grow rapidly. The company has also been selected by Lockheed Martin as the sole supplier of composite wing flaps for the C‐130J “Hercules” military transport aircraft. Quickstep is currently partnering with some of the world’s largest aerospace/defence organisations, including the US Department of Defense, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Airbus and EADS.


Quickstep is also developing patented manufacturing technologies to produce high‐volume A‐grade finished composite components for automotives and specialist thick parts such as spars and wing skins for large defence and commercial aircraft. The company is currently working with the US Department of Defence to qualify its patented Quickstep Process and Resin Spray Technology (RST) for JSF, and is also conducting a major research and development program with car maker Audi aimed at delivering high‐quality finish, low cost, fast processing of carbon fibre composite, together with specialised resins, particularly adapted to the automotive industry.


Quickstep’s RST technology passes test from luxury car maker:

  • Quickstep’s resin spray transfer (RST) technology meets ‘spectacular finish’ test;
  • Quickstep RST passes European car marque’s rigorous environmental tests;
  • Potential significant commercial market.

Quickstep Holdings Limited – manufacturer of high‐grade carbon fibre composite components, today announced that its resin spray transfer (RST) technology has passed one of the industry’s toughest environmental test regimes for carbon‐fibre composite body panels. Results of these tests, by a prestige European car maker, have confirmed the RST technology’s ability to meet rigorous painted panel benchmarks and enable outstanding finishes. This pre‐qualifies RST technology for consideration in the marque’s commercial supply tenders.


Carbon‐fibre composite technology is increasingly a feature of highly distinctive, contemporary luxury vehicles. However, achieving top‐quality paint finish and keeping that quality over time is much harder using carbon‐fibre than metal.


Passing the stringent painting and surface ageing tests of a European luxury car maker is a feat that very few other composite technologies have achieved and, importantly, Quickstep’s RST process can be delivered at considerably lower expense.


Quickstep’s Managing Director Philippe Odouard said that this was another positive step toward securing commercial entry into the automotive market.


“Luxury cars demand absolutely flawless paint and body work, and these tests by a luxury car maker demonstrate that Quickstep’s resin spray transfer technology can support such results. During tests the car panels, manufactured using Quickstep’s RST, were subjected to hot and cold ageing cycles for weeks and subjected to high humidity and high temperature environments. We are delighted that the RST technology has passed what is considered to be one of the automotive industry’s most exacting ‘quality of finish’ tests.


“We believe that our RST technology can revolutionise car manufacturing across the globe, as it meets the industry’s three key manufacturing objectives ‐ producing strong yet light vehicle parts with fast processing, at low cost and with a high quality finish.


“The technology is drawing increasing interest, and we are progressing negotiations and providing quotes for several leading European car makers.”


The RST technology utilises an innovative ‘robotised’ process that fully automates production of lightweight carbon fibre composite car panels so they can be made in minutes and at very low cost compared to other, more capital‐intensive methods.


Quickstep is working with a number of car makers, particularly in Europe, to qualify and develop the RST process for each marque’s specific requirements. One example is Audi AG which, teamed with Quickstep in a consortium funded by the German government, is developing cost‐effective solutions for high‐volume automotive composite parts production using the RST technology, and component trials are now underway.