Times may be tough, but companies with strong engineering have a better chance of riding things out.
Example: A Canadian company called Camoplast, developed a dramatically different technology for making hulls for personal watercraft that is economical and creates large parts that are lighter and stronger. The company’s engineering director, Yves Carbonneau, forged ahead even though he told his concept was impossible.
Hulls for the watercraft have been made for decades by the well-known fiberglass processes using polyester in SMC. A customer told Camoplast they wanted something better. Carbonneau worked with two key suppliers-Bayer MaterialScience and KraussMaffei-to develop a polyurethane process using insertion of chopped long glass fiber at the mix head. Bayer developed a new material with far superior flow characteristics, allowing more detail in the mold. The result: a
first time capability to design-in ribs, for example. Huge breakthrough.
“Camoplast’s mission is to set a goal and take all the necessary steps to reach it, one at a time,” says Carbonneau. It took seven years of collaboration and hard work, but the new boat hull is now a reality.