JEC Group have brought together the international community of composites leaders and executives in our Composites Circle as an unique networking opportunity to meet with both peers and future partners.
The recent holder of the Jules Verne trophy, Franck Cammas and his partner Groupama, have signed on with the Multiplast shipyard to build a 21-m monohull for the next team event, the 2011-2012 Volvo Ocean Race.
Team Groupama first worked with the Multiplast shipyard to build its Groupama III maxi trimaran in 2005-2006. Now, it is demonstrating its confidence in Multiplast once again for its new monohull.
Close co-operation and quality
Each time it builds a racing boat, Multiplast – along with its four-engineer architectural design office – works closely with the navigating team’s technicians. At this level of competition, the required construction quality is close to perfection and as close as possible to the limits dictated by the extremely strict rating rules, so the teamwork has to be meticulously organized.
For this project, Multiplast has made new strides in quality control, investing in things like dust-free floor paint and new curing ovens in order to guarantee Groupama a level of quality that is close to aerospace specifications. The company’s experience in manufacturing aeronautical parts will be very useful as it takes up this new challenge.
The project catapults Multiplast into the highly exclusive club of Volvo 70 builders. Groupama IV is the first boat of this type to be built in France, and this new reference will reinforce the shipyard’s image of excellence, both in France and abroad.
Thanks to the tremendous potential of composite materials, the company developed rapidly, initially in the racing boat sector with the Gilles Ollier Design Team and later with the manufacture of industrial parts. Multiplast has now built a reputation on its skills in these two complementary fields:
Infrastructure and production facilities
The building process for the new boat has been launched, and Multiplast has all the necessary infrastructure for it: a 4,500-m² production area on an 18,500-m² site, including three entirely air-conditioned (21±3°C) 1,500-m² buildings with controlled humidity (50-60% max. relative humidity), three 28-metre-wide doors allowing very large composite parts to be handled, and access to the sea for maritime transport. The company’s production plant includes three ventilated-heat ovens, one of which is 50 metres long, a production line for small series, 300-m3 cold rooms for storing prepreg materials and adhesive films, a warehouse with a barcode system for inventory management, internal and external machining tools for machining master models, moulds or finished parts, and a generator to take over in case of power outage while the composite parts are being cured.
The control means and laboratories used by the teams are as follows: nondestructive ultrasonic testing (NDT) for the composite materials by a certified external testing centre (Cofrend, the French association for NDT, and Cosac, Cofrend’s certification committee for the aerospace sector); laser tracker inspection by external companies, in-house specimen testing; and mechanical and physiochemical testing by the technical centre for the engineering industry CETIM, at its laboratory in Nantes.
In addition to the infrastructure and production facilities, the workshops have extra-large lay-up tables for making large sheets or sandwich panels. The launch of the new boat is scheduled for early March 2011.
© Yvan Zedda / Multiplast