A Structural Adhesive Transforms the Hovercraft Assembly Process
Hovertravel successfully completed sea trials on two 12000TD craft constructed with SCIGRIP’s adhesive bonding techniques.
Griffon Hoverwork, a designer and manufacturer of technically advanced hovercrafts, has collaborated with SCIGRIP to develop and produce its latest vessel. The newly completed 12000TD is a 22-m passenger craft that reportedly represents a significant shift in manufacturing techniques for the UK hovercraft company.
The craft was specially commissioned by Hovertravel, the world’s longest-running commercial hovercraft service that offers the fastest way to cross the Solent between Southsea, Portsmouth, and Ryde, Isle of Wight. Traditionally, Griffon Hoverwork had used welding methods to assemble the key components of its vessels. However, this method can result in heat distortion that leads to dimensional instability and other problems such as porosity or localized stress points.
Griffon Hoverwork approached SCIGRIP to identify a suitable structural adhesive solution that would eradicate this problem. Griffon vessels are used in some of the most diverse and inaccessible areas of the world―from the jungles of South America to the frozen seas of the Baltic and Arctic. Thus, it was critical that the selected adhesive system could withstand harsh and demanding conditions.
SCIGRIP specified SG230HV, a high-strength structural bonding system developed especially for marine applications. Trials of the two-component, high-viscosity methyl methacrylate (MMA) adhesive were successful, and the material was used to bond the 12000TD’s aluminum floor to the aluminum super-structure. The bonding operation was carried out using pneumatic dispensing guns by a team of operators trained onsite by SCIGRIP. This allowed a great deal of flexibility, ensuring access into difficult and restricted areas. SG230HV can be dispensed in a variety of bond-line thicknesses, allowing greater flexibility during application. It has over 100% elongation and a tensile strength of 21-24 Mpa, which makes it an ideal structural bonding solution for many applications where fatigue performance is required.
When bonding SG230HV to aluminum parts, a surface primer must be used to prepare the surface. SCIGRIP’s MP100 metal primer can be applied in a simple brush or wipe and is formulated to clean, chemically convert, and prepares the surface for permanent bonding. This significantly improves the long-term durability of the adhesive bonds, especially those that are subjected to humid or corrosive environments such as salt water or salt spray.
“Griffon Hoverwork’s success and reputation is based upon our commitment to design and manufacture hovercrafts that perform in the most challenging of environments,” said Mark Downer, chief engineer for Griffon Hoverwork. “SCIGRIP’s SG230HV provided a reliable and effective assembly solution that matched these requirements. The fact the product is Lloyds approved added an additional level of assurance and was a significant factor in our selection process.”
Hovertravel has successfully completed sea trials on two 12000TD craft constructed with SCIGRIP’s adhesive bonding techniques. The hovercrafts were expected to be in service sometime this summer. ASI
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