Core infusion molding is going high class.
Italian luxury yacht maker Azimut-Benetti SpA is adopting Diab AB's composite technology to make its new Azimut 40 yacht, and planning to transfer the molding system to all of its composite boats, replacing a fiberglass hand-layup system.
The switch will make it possible for the boat maker, based in Turin, Italy, to produce a higher-quality yacht in less time and with improved safety and environmental standards, executives said during a Sept. 22 news conference in Antibes, France.
Azimut-Benetti tested Diab's program for nearly two years on components for its existing yacht line, comparing it with other techniques, including resin transfer molding and Seemann Composite Resin Infusion Molding Process.
``The decision to adopt infusion molding was taken in order to achieve further improvements in quality, cut build times, reduce weight and provide a better working environment for Azimut personnel,'' the company noted in a written announcement.
While Diab's core infusion molding has existed for years - used in structural parts for everything from bridges to windmills - the Azimut project marks a whole new market for the plastics specialist based in Laholm, Sweden, said spokesman Tony Calvert.
Azimut is the largest maker of luxury yachts globally, with boats that sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars at a minimum. The company made 375 million euros ($460.8 million) worth of yachts in its 2002-03 fiscal year, and expects to hit 500 million euros ($614.5 million) in sales by 2005.
Azimut is specifically mentioning Diab's system in marketing the new boat, noting its ability to make more repeatable hulls while reducing production time by 45 percent over its traditional fiberglass molding.
Diab will supply the core of the composite sandwich, which is specially machined to provide channels for resin distribution.