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Future Fibres presents the Low Profile adjustable composite cable termination

News International-French

18 Nov 2013

The composite cable market has been maturing rapidly over the last 5 years with multiple competing core cable technologies all offering various trade-offs between weight, diameter, durability, longevity and handling.

The next big development frontier to provide opportunities for step change performance improvement is the interface between the cable and the mast & boat.

The original brief for the Low Profile (Lo-Pro) was to develop a fitting which can be installed on the boat to FlexC carbon core to create a cruising carbon forestay solution where a cable can be pulled through the foil and terminated in-situ. Other than a spool, there were no existing termination technologies that worked with FlexC and so we set about developing our own solution. Following six months of development work at Future Fibres' Innovations centre in Salisbury, England, the Lo-Pro (patents pending) was created, surpassing the original brief.
The forestay is the largest, longest cable on the boat and conversion from rod to composite allows the greatest single performance improvement a cruising yacht can make. The result of the Lo-Pro’s amazingly small diameters is that the complete terminal can fit inside an aluminium foil. This allows a quick and easy change out from a rod to a composite forestay. In its current form, the Lo-Pro doesn’t fit inside a carbon foil. However a variation is being developed that will allow the core of the Lo-Pro – thin enough to pass through the foil – to be completed in the factory, with the outer casing applied in-situ. The casing can later be disassembled allowing cable removal for service and inspections.

Following extensive and impressive UTS and fatigue test results, the team started to look beyond the original brief at other potential applications of the Lo-Pro fitting.

For smaller retrofit projects, on masts with external tangs, where the lateral rod rigging is replaced with composite, the Lo-Pro offers a significant aero advantage over both competitor and existing Future Fibres terminations. With the added benefit of being able to be fitted on the boat, the Lo-Pro significantly reduces the level of project complexity, thus minimising risk and providing a cost competitive solution.

Being small and adjustable, the company investigated the use of the Lo-Pro for internal tangs. With a slightly longer length than Future Fibres existing Bullet Threader fitting and with similar weight, the standard Lo-Pro provides no real aero advantage. However, the technology does lend itself to modification into a shoulder-loaded fitting set in an adjustable spherical seat. In this mode, the Lo-Pro offers a real benefit and an optimum aero solution with no part of the terminal exiting the mast wall - the only drag is from the cable diameter itself.

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