King Marine is the only Spanish shipyard involved with the European Aeroespace Agency, developing complex composite parts for the european aeroespace industry.
Being the only shipyard involved in such complex projects is not the work of chance, it’s due to the convergence of three rare factors: 20 years of proven experience in composite construction, cutting-edge technology and an obsessive passion for the job.
King Marine’s available equipment currently includes the usual features of a high-tech shipyard plus other more ‘extreme’ tools including ultrasound testing equipment, a thermo camera, CNC 5-axis milling machine, 45m-long autoclave plus a CNC pre-preg plotter.
However, we consider that our most important resource lies in the human factor and the expertise among our team. The yard can count upon a team of engineers and technicians that during the past eight years have built four America’s Cup boats, two VO70s and nine TP52s, to designs from industry leaders including Bruce Farr, Botín & Partners, German Frers, Judel-Vrolijk, Juan Kouyoumdjian, Javier Soto Acebal and Reichel-Pugh. This represents thousands of hours of design engineering, experimentation, material testing and systematic development of our building controls.
King Marine CEO Gabiel Mariani comments: ‘It’s natural for the general public to concentrate their attention on a boat’s aesthetics, the design and the paintwork, but only a few people know how to appreciate what is less easily visible: the construction process. At King Marine that process begins with the design of the carbon fibre female mould, which is CNC machined using a technique that has been perfected by King Marine over the past five years. Once the mould is finished the surface is scanned with a laser scan, using a 5,000,000 point mesh. Then the software compares the real geometry to the original design. Today we have tools that eliminate any doubt and variations can be kept below 1mm on even our largest moulds. The result of our techniques is a hull with no fairing, lighter and with a lower centre of gravity. All this adds up to more speed through the water.
‘At King Marine we not only focus on a superior level of composite output, but we also apply techniques to keep the air content within aerospace parameters rather than the more usual levels for the marine industry. These processes are, however, labour intensive since every day we are employing lighter and lighter laminates and more and more debulks. We have been challenged in the past about this obsession, but when we show the lab tests on our laminates the structural engineers fall in love with the method and would not change it for any other option. In each case the result is a stiffer and stronger boat with a lower centre of gravity.’
The experience harvested from thousands of R&D hours applied by King Marine for VOR and America’s Cup projects is today increasingly being exploited by the aerospace industry, as well as being brought to a widening range of marine products including both fast cruisers and pure racing boats like the TP52.
Gabriel Mariani CEO adds: ‘One of the things we’re most proud of at King Marine is that our clients frequently choose us again and again, returning to build their newest boats with us. We believe that this is thanks to our commitment to deliver the best price/quality ratio, while always meeting our commitments to planning and delivery.’
The latest achievement at King has been the launching of Phoenix, the ninth TP52 built by the company and the first to be built under the 2015 rule. The boat, commissioned by the well-known Brazilian sailor Eduardo Souza Ramos, was designed by Botín & Partners. Some of Phoenix’s distinguishing features compared with her TP52 predecessors include being built in a CNC-machined carbon female mould, carbon rigging, deeper draft, an ultra highmodulus bowsprit, rig deflectors, a larger cockpit, 70cm longer bowsprit and a structure that is some 200kg lighter. Truly a pure carbon speed machine!
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