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Since CMS Industries announced its sponsorship collaboration as official supplier for BMW Oracle Racing, the sailing team has won the 33rd America’s Cup. On 14 February 2010 in Valencia, the team prevailed against the Swiss defender, Alinghi.
(published on April 2010 - JEC Magazine #56)
American challenger BMW Oracle Racing won the 33rd America’s Cup Match on Sunday, 14 February 2010 in Valencia, sweeping past the Swiss defender, Alinghi, to a 2- 0 victory. This was an historic race for the oldest trophy in international sport, featuring two of the most innovative boats on the planet. BMW Oracle Racing’s trimaran, USA, powered by the largest wing sail ever built, proved to be the faster of the two multihulls, overpowering Alinghi’s catamaran in both races. Founded in 2000 by team owner American Larry Ellison, the professional sailing team’s main focus is to win the America’s Cup. BMW Oracle Racing represents the Golden Gate Yacht Club of San Francisco and is based in Valencia, Spain. The team’s composite boat construction expertise is also available for non-team projects through Oracle Racing Ltd. in Warkworth, New Zealand.
A successful partnership
In early February, before the race, CMS Industries was very proud to announce its sponsorship collaboration as BMW Oracle Racing’s official supplier. The relationship began in 2008, with the supply of a CNC machining centre for the manufacture of composite boat parts, an important tool in the high-tech carbon-fibre construction of racing yachts.
The association with BMW Oracle Racing has enhanced CMS’s leading role in the racing field. The number of racing vehicles with composite parts being machined on CMS machining centres is steadily increasing along with the company’s growing presence in sports applications, from racing bicycles to F1 car components.
Announcing the Official Supplier programme, CMS Area Manager Giulio Gasparini said: “Our machine’s technical features, the price/performance ratio, but also CMS company’s soundness and reputation in the machining of composite materials, especially in racing applications, have been the key factors enabling CMS to win their competition with other suppliers. CMS stands by BMW Oracle Racing, ready to provide their products and support in order to win together.”
Tim Smyth is the BMW Oracle Racing co-construction manager.
He explains why the team chose the CMS machine: “America’s Cup Yachts employ the latest technology in materials and construction processes. CNC-produced tools and finished parts are one of the most significant advances in yacht construction over the past decade, and they now play a crucial role in our build programme. To produce these components quickly and to preserve your design innovations, it is important to possess your own CNC machines. We have used CMS machines extensively throughout the past two editions of the America’s Cup through the services of subcontractors, and based on their performance, we choose CMS to supply our first machine in 2009.”
Main advantages of CNC machine centres
High-speed 5-axis CNC milling can be used with most common materials used in the marine industry such as wood, EPS, PU, epoxy and polyester. The main benefits include: high-speed threedimensional form machining guaranteeing the geometry; customized system size and productivity (maximum dimensions 60x10x5.3 m); possibility of dust collection even during 5-axis continuous machining; possibility to continuously monitor and record all the processing phases even from a remote position; a probing system that makes it possible to automatically find the real position of the piece loaded in a work zone and the relative deformations, automatically aligning the machining paths (indispensable for large objects); and greater safety. These are advantages that everyone appreciates, and the number of machines in use keeps on rising, especially in the composite sector. CNC machines are also extremely accurate and reliable.
The Ares model ordered by BMW Oracle Racing combines structural rigidity, flexibility and convenience for the machinings of large composites components. The Poseidon CMS machine range offers CNC machining centres with 5 interpolated axes for the high-speed machining of large components made from light alloys, composite materials, reinforced plastics, tooling board or wood. These machines can be used in a wide range of applications, such as pattern and prototype production; trimming of large aluminium or composite components for the automotive, aerospace and marine industries; and tooling board machining.
The largest wing sail ever built
The wing sail consists of two main components: the main element and the flap element. The main element is one single piece that rotates around the mast step. Nine flaps rotate around the trailing edge of the main element. Both elements are separated by a smal gap and linked together by hinges. The wing sail is constructed primarily from carbon fibre and Kevlar, with a light, shrinkable aeronautical film material used as an overall skin over the frame. According to Joseph Ozanne, an aeronautical specialist with the BMW Oracle Racing design team, the ability to trim the wing sail easily is one of its big advantages over a soft sail. "A soft sail is difficult to shape, as you only have control over three points (head, tack, clew). You need massive tension to trim the soft sail," he says. "With a wing sail, you can get the shape you want much more easily."
The main trim parameters are: master wing rotation (similar to mast rotation on a conventional rig); master camber control (general rotation of the flap element); and flap twist control (each flap can have a specific angle of rotation).
"On paper, it's a clear advantage over the soft sail," Ozanne says. "It’s on such a different scale to what has been done before, it was hard not to have some uncertainty. But we are more and more confident... I think it's going to be a strong addition for us."