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A significant reduction of more than 60% in the overall assembly time was achieved. Shop floor conditions were also improved, as the new adhesive offers reduced styrene exposure. In addition, dust from grinding the hull surface, which normally takes place prior to overlaminating, is eliminated. In terms of surface preparation, Crestabond only requires a wipe-down of all the contact surfaces with a solvent in order to remove contaminants such as grease and dirt.
Step by StepThe bonding trial on the 5.7-m sloop was conducted last year by Patrick O’Shea, Scott Bader’s adhesives sales development manager, at the request of Wim Kooman, Interboat’s production manager. The demonstration necessitated several important steps:
The bond areas on the engine foundation base and the hull were wiped with solvent and a clean cloth.
The engine foundation part was positioned to its correct place in the hull prior to the adhesive application. An outline of the exact position was then drawn with a marker. The GRP engine foundation section measured approximately 2.2 m (7 ft) long by 1 m (3 ft) wide.
The engine foundation section was lifted clear, and the Crestabond M1-20 adhesive was applied to the hull surface using an air-assisted 380-ml cartridge gun, following the pre-marked bond line (approximately 6 m [19 ft] around). Crestabond M1-20 was determined to be the most suitable choice for this particular application because of its 16- to 22-minute working time and its gap fill properties of up to 25 mm (1 in.).
The final step required workers to swing the GRP engine foundation section back over the hull and carefully lower it down onto the adhesive, positioning it using the marked outline. Due to some dimensional variance at certain contact points, it was necessary to apply a bit more adhesive to fill some gaps. A small brush was then used all around the bond line to smooth out any surplus adhesive. Wooden struts were also bonded into place at this point.
The entire assembly process from start to finish took just 15 minutes, with minimal mess or waste. This was a significant time savings compared to the 40 minutes typically needed to surface grind and overlaminate the same part.
The sloop was then left to allow the bonded section to cure. Crestabond M1-20 fully cured in 70 minutes and was then ready to undergo a bond strength test.
Bond Strength TestingFor the bond strength test, the sloop was filled with 180 kg (396 lbs) of ballast, making its total weight 500 kg (1,100 lbs). The lifting gear was attached to fixtures that had been secured to the top of the engine foundation section. The craft was lifted clear of its cradle and left to hang so that the adhesive bond line took 100% of the strain.
The bond maintained its integrity. After a thorough inspection of the joint line by the Interboat team, it was confirmed that the Crestabond joint was intact all around the engine foundation section.
ResultsAfter the trial, Kooman stated that he was “impressed with both the rapid bond performance and workability of this new Crestabond adhesive. For such a strong bond to be achieved in just over an hour with no preparation, other than a clean with solvent, really surprised me. When we lifted the sloop up off the cradle with the crane, I was really not expecting the bond to hold, but it did. I am now convinced. It has really opened my eyes to much bigger bonding opportunities on some of the larger cruisers we make, such as in deck-to-hull bonding, where I think we can make huge savings in production time. This will be our next bonding trial with Crestabond.”
Kooman went on to say that he “liked the positive reaction of all the shop floor workers. They took to applying the Crestabond product with the air-assisted gun easily and were very happy not to be wearing full masks or having to use the grinding machine to prepare the hull surface. This type of bonding is definitely a good way to help create a cleaner and better working environment on the shop floor.”