NewswireToday - /newswire/ -
Ft. Lauderdale, FL, United States, 2006/12/21 - The Catamarans.com team visited Paris in the beginning of December. The participating members of this trip where given a tour of two boat factories by Nick Harvey.
One of the factories produced Lagoon 380’s and Lagoon 440’s. The other one in Les Sables produced Lagoon Power 44’s, Lagoon 420 Hybrid’s, and Lagoon 500’s.
The group traveled 4.5 hours to get to the first factory. This particular boat building facility was located in St. Gilles and produced Lagoon 380’s along with Lagoon 440’s. The factory tour showed the complete process of creating an entire catamaran, from start to finish. A new catamaran rolls of the assembly line every 3.5 days.
The tour began with the injection molding process. There are two major molds that are used to insure maximum stiffness. There are a few other molds that go in the Lagoons to complete the structure. The molds are held up by large apparatuses that allow the mold to swivel around so the workers can comfortably work on each section. This also speeds up the building process.
Resin is applied to fabric in several ways depending on which part of the boat the workers are creating. In this phase the workers must move quickly while applying resin because it cures extremely fast in order to increase the building process. When the material cures it has the same strength as steel. The mold templates that are used are marked in each place that needs a hole drilled, paint strip placed, wires routed and what not. Everything that can be marked into to the mold is done in this part of the process, this way the boat builders don’t have to measure every single time and everything is placed in the same area on each catamaran. Areas that need holes drilled are marked with an X.
After the mold(s) has completely cured they are taken out of mold forming facility and taken next door. When a mold has been completed it has many uneven edges and sharp fiberglass pieces along the sides. These imperfections are drilled and sanded down to make nice smooth edges. Then the molds are closely inspected, when an employee finds a blemish they mark it with a red numbered tag and record it into a log.
As the vessel moves down the assembly line workers take care of these imperfections until the finished product is perfect. After the molds have been cleaned up and assembled they are moved into the assembly line. This part of the facility is a completely separated building. Cranes that hang from the ceiling move the catamarans down the assembly line. The assemblers do not move from station to station. They perform the same function the boats just move down the line to a different station.
Furniture comes packaged in separated crates for each boat. Each boat has a particular layout that has been assigned to it. A furniture kit comes prepared for each boat. Individuals who are in charge of assembling furniture build as much of it as possible outside of the catamaran. After each piece of furniture is constructed it is carefully placed inside the boat.
Once a boat has been completely constructed, it is taken outside the factory and it is left there until it is brought inside again to be tested in a pool. A crane places the boat into the pool. The boat is anchored down; hoses are attached to the exhaust. This is done to ensure that the fumes are pumped outside the factory, so that nobody suffers from carbon monoxide poisoning. Several high powered sprinkles surround the pool, this simulates rain and ocean spray. During the test the boat is monitored and inspected for leaks. Water is constantly pumped into the pool, because the boat siphons water in order to keep the engines cool. As the engines run waves splash out of the pool causing for more water to empty out of the pool. Once the vessel has passed its inspection it is ready to be taken to the Les Sables docks. This is where the vessel is prepared for delivery. The finished product is mounted onto a truck where it has to be escorted by three police vehicles to the docks. It is about a 35 minute drive to Les Sables from St. Gilles. The boat transport is extremely dangerous since this area has narrow streets and many round-abouts.
The facility in Les Sables specializes in building Lagoon Power 44’s, Lagoon 420’s, and Lagoon 500’s. Everything is done the same in this factory except for the manner in which the boats are positioned along the assembly line. In this factory holes in the shape of a catamaran appear throughout the floor of the facility. This greatly increases the comfort level for the builders since they don’t have to climb and balance themselves on ladders/platforms. Workers walk right on the boat via the factory floor, instead of having to climb to get in the vessel. This reduces the amount of time it takes to build the boat.