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Laser Scanning Ensures Smooth Sailing for AvMar Marine Glass Print E-mail
Written by Allison Ng   
Friday, 04 May 2012

In ports around the globe, a new breed of luxury has set sail in the form of large-scale private vessels known as superyachts. Exemplifying the best that engineering and design have to offer, these yachts display sleek frames built for both luxury and speed.   

AvMar Marine Glass provides specialty glass installations worldwide for vessels ranging in size from sportfish to superyacht. From repair and refit to new construction projects, AvMar has serviced the industry since 2000.

Rick Simmons, president of AvMar, founded the company recognizing a need to utilize technological advances to improve the quality, speed and performance of glass installations. Since its inception, the company has implemented state-of-the-art technology to produce their glass products. Recent installation projects include, “The World is Not Enough” – the world’s fastest superyacht, “Cakewalk” – the largest US-built yacht, and “Hemisphere” – the largest sailing cat in the world. There is little question that AvMar does impressive things on some pretty impressive boats.

Problem

In a typical marine application, the complex curvature of the various glass designs can make fitting the windshields to a boat challenging. Due to the sheer magnitude of the yachts in which AvMar specializes, standard tools such as tape measures are not precise enough to collect the accurate dimensions and measurements needed to provide to the glass manufacturer. Without exact measurements, there is more opportunity for error, which can result in costly delays or faulty installations.

In one recent project, AvMar was tasked with providing glass for “Yas”, a 141-meter superyacht built in Abu Dhabi. A former naval frigate for the Royal Netherlands Navy in the 1970s, the transformation of the decommissioned warship into one of the world’s largest yachts was a massive undertaking. Over the course of the past three years, Yas has been gutted, welded and renovated, becoming nearly unrecognizable from her former framework.

However, the most striking part of the yacht’s new design is the vast curved wall of glass that sweeps around the front section of the upper decks. Behind the glass, which darkens for privacy when an electric current is passed through, are the bridge and the owner’s suite, complete with private terrace.  AvMar needed a solution to quickly and accurately gather measurements of the window openings.

Solution

With Yas, as with any of the company’s other projects, the team ran through a series of steps to evaluate the specific needs for the yacht – including a complete evaluation of yacht plans to review the design of the window system, and ensuring compliance with classification and regulatory agencies.

The most technically difficult part of the Yas’ construction was the more than 500 pieces of specially cast glass for its upper decks. As the largest curved glass project in the world, the glass is one of the main attractions of the yacht itself. To accurately fit the pieces of glass to the window openings, exact measurements were needed.

In the past, measurements would have to be taken using standard hand tools. The measurements would then be used to create fiberglass molds or wood templates for the glass manufacturer to produce the appropriately sized glass. However, not only is this technique extremely time consuming, it is very difficult to capture highly accurate measurements.

In order to improve the overall efficiency of the measurement process, AvMar recently introduced next generation 3D technology to its toolbox by purchasing a FARO Laser Scanner Focus3D. The device now allows the company to take high-speed scans of window openings with an accuracy of ±2mm. As one would expect, it’s also much faster to scan the craft than manually measure it. AvMar was able to quickly scan and process multiple data sets to provide precise measurements of the openings to AvMar’s glass manufacturing partners.

ROI

Through the implementation of their new laser scanner, AvMar significantly reduces manufacturing time as data files are sent digitally without the need for foam or wood templates. The precision manufactured glass then fits better with smaller seams and installation is much easier. Additionally, time spent by the measuring crew on the yacht is reduced by more than 70%, and measurements taken are much more accurate than before. The high level of accuracy allows for a precision fit installation the first time, saving the company thousands of dollars in materials and rework. The digital measurements can also be stored and used for later reproductions, without the need to re-measure the area.

The high degree of accuracy found in the scanner allows AvMar to offer a five-year warranty against leaks and bond failure; an incentive that no one else in the industry offers. “No one in our industry is utilizing this type of technology today,” says Simmons. “The power of this laser scanner is incredible. It can digitally 3D scan a 120-meter circular area with a high degree of accuracy!”

 
 
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