Making waves

Uploaded 09 Apr @ 08:06am

Attwater & Sons, the industrial laminates specialist, is breaking new ground with the launch of a new resource-efficient epoxy glass and continuing traditions by extending its support of Team GB’s Olympic sailing hopefuls.

Attwater can trace its roots in the marine industry back 150 years when founder Richard Henry Attwater established his chandlery in Preston, Lancashire, selling to ships in the city’s docks. Five generations later, the family firm has worked on a wide range of marine projects, from the Titanic to Royal National Lifeboat Institution craft.
The Preston-based innovator has introduced the new G10 Quadriaxial epoxy glass to meet the needs of its customers. In traditional G10, the fibre directions are at 90o to each other. As a rule of thumb, the stiffness of a laminate at 45o to the fibre orientation drops by around one half.

The quadriaxial element solves this problem. The fibres of the laminate are not just in the warp and weft (0/90o) directions, but are also included at +/- 45o which results in increased stiffness away from 0/90o. The term quadriaxial refers to the directions of the reinforcement fibres in the laminate because they lie along four axes.
Where Attwater’s new QDX laminates excel is the fibres are laid at 45o intervals, making the epoxy glass stronger and stiffer when formed and bent at a much wider range of angles. This is particularly important for applications where there are lots of stresses on a material from different directions, such as on boats and other marine vehicles and equipment.
Attwater’s David Conlon explains: “We were approached by a customer looking for an epoxy glass system that could offer improved structural characteristics within the marine environment. In Attwater QDX laminates, the layup of the glass fibres solves this problem, meaning a better balance of mechanical properties in all directions.
“Historically, these components had been produced by hand layup and resin infusion, which is a very manual, time consuming, and messy process. Our new innovation provides the strength and durability as standard, which saves time, effort and resources. Not to mention improved Health & Safety and reduced PPE requirements.”
Meanwhile, Attwater subsidiary Custom Composites has announced a renewed collaboration with Team GB sailors Will Alloway and Henry Lloyd-Williams in their pursuit of gold medals at Tokyo 2020.
The company has worked with, and supported, British Olympic contenders in previous Olympic games, producing tiller extensions that helped Sir Ben Ainslie’s crews score gold in both 2008 and 2012.

Will Alloway of Team Lloyd Williams-Alloway says: “In early 2016, we set out to find a high-quality carbon fibre specialist for our 2020 Olympic campaign. We are thrilled to welcome on board Custom Composites as our main supplier for carbon fibre equipment. After several R&D sessions and prototypes, we have created what we believe to be the ultimate tiller extension in terms of weight, stiffness and grip.”
Attwater’s David Conlon adds: “We are very proud of the hard work the team has put in both on and off the water throughout the year, flying the flag for Custom Composites and Attwater Group at the various race events around the world.”

He continues: “Another gold medal would be the perfect addition to our company history. After conducting several R&D sessions early in the year we looked at ways we could improve upon the existing carbon tiller extension, and I am proud to say we got it to a point where the team felt it was as good as it could be.
“But just as we are always seeking out the next innovation, Will and Henry already have one eye on next year’s competition, and we have already begun talking refining the carbon fibre extensions we provide still further, to beat the very high bar we already set.”

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