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Norsafe AS used a high-performance structural adhesive to incorporate strengthening beams to their gravity escape free-fall lifeboats in order to meet the highest safety specifications in the Norwegian oil industry.
(Published on September 2007 – JEC Magazine #35)
Crystic Crestomer® Advantage 30, a high-performance structural adhesive for large component bonding, has been used by Norsafe AS to upgrade their GEF-40 gravity escape free-fall lifeboats to the highest safety specifications now required by OLF – The Norwegian Oil Industry Association. Crestomer Advantage 30 is manufactured by the Scott Bader Company Ltd. as part of a range of technically superior composite products including unsaturated polyester resins, gelcoats, vinyl esters and adhesives.
All Norsafe boats and associated equipment are approved in accordance with Solas 1983/96 and subsequent amendments. They are also EC-labelled in accordance with the Marine Equipment Directive. The GEF-40 lifeboats have also been successfully tested to withstand launch drops of up to 37.5 metres. In 2005 however, a competitor’s lifeboats failed tests from an offshore platform: the boats collapsed when hitting the water from a free-fall drop of only 27 metres. This was despite the fact that they had been supplied as approved for a drop of 36 metres. Investigations concluded that no full-scale drop tests had been performed on the competitor’s craft. A second test also resulted in a similar failure for this manufacturer.
Carbon/vinylester strengthening beams
As a result of these structural failures, OLF is now recommending new criteria for the construction of all free-fall lifeboats used in the North Sea. Due to these regulations, Norsafe are strengthening the structure of their products, including 65 newly-delivered boats, with the remedial work to be completed by 1st October 2006. This work involves incorporating strengthening beams made of vinylester, plus carbon fibre being bonded with Crestomer Advantage 30 to both the hull and the roof structures. The work is being done on site, while the boats are held at a 35° angle on their launch platforms. Full-scale drop tests on the Norsafe upgraded craft have been successfully carried out at 22, 27, 32 and 35 metres, with very little flexing of the boat and no cracking observed in the Crestomer joints of the reinforcement beams.
Crestomer Advantage 30 adhesive is white and non-sagging with controlled gel and exotherm characteristics particularly suitable for marine applications. It is based on Scott Bader’s innovative urethane acrylate technology, which exhibits exceptional impact strength and toughness and can be used over a temperature range of 5°-30°C. It also has excellent adhesion and gap filling properties with a wide range of substrates. Requiring minimum surface preparation, this low-odour adhesive has the advantage of being packaged in 380ml cartridges for hand gun application, making it an ideal choice for operations in confined and difficult working conditions such as those of an offshore platform lifeboat. The product is also available in 25kg kegs and 225kg drums for use with bulk dispensing equipment, covering a range of products specifically designed for different structural applications.