Antalya joins the portfolio and Damen opens its first dedicated composites shipyard
Damen added another shipyard to its portfolio in 2013 and indeed, another country, as it opened its first yard in Turkey. Damen Shipyards Antalya is also the Group’s first dedicated composites specialist.
The new yard will be at the heart of the Damen operation for building composite workboats such as high-speed craft and ferries, up to 35 m in length. Damen Shipyards Antalya will also become a Knowledge Centre for composite building worldwide and it has its own engineering office.
Located in the Tax Free Zone in Antalya and surrounded by shipbuilding companies and suppliers, the new yard is right by the harbour, making it easy to transport the completed vessels. The total facility is 16,000 sq m, of which 12,000 sq m is a fully air conditioned, covered facility. On average, Damen expects some 35 boats a year to be produced and once it is at full capacity, around 150 people will work there.
Auke van der Zee, General Manager Damen Shipyards Antalya, explains: “We created our business plan at the end of 2012, but we had been considering having a dedicated composite yard for some time. We were always keen to buy a yard, so we can control the production and have it in our own hands. And of course, very specialist knowledge is needed for the composites sector, it is all about a good team, work preparation and having a dedicated facility where full climate control is vital.”
Composites can be used from low-tech to high-tech
Streamlined production = fast delivery
Previously the yard was called Cyrus Yachts, part of the Vitters Group. Damen moved at its usual fast pace, acquired the yard in March and by June it had started serial production of high-speed craft.
Auke, who is the only non-Turkish employee, adds: “We have a very experienced team here. It is a highly efficient operation with a great deal of expertise in-house. The shipbuilding knowledge of the people and their work mentality is fantastic. We work very closely together and have great teamwork, which is very important, particularly when series production methods are used.”
The internal logistics of Damen Shipyards Antalya are very efficient and can be compared with the automotive industry. “We have a production line essentially, where the staff have all the materials they need at each station. Equipment and parts are kept behind the boats at deck level, so people working on the vessel don’t have to leave their stations to get things out of the warehouse. This makes the process totally streamlined.”
The location of the yard is a real benefit as well, he adds. “It is a few hours direct flight from Damen HQ and it is much easier for our customers to visit us here.”
Advantages of composites
“Composites offer many advantages for customers”, emphasises Auke. “Composite vessels have the major advantage that they provide a much lower Total Cost of Ownership; they have less weight, therefore reduced fuel consumption. There is a high degree of sustainability. They have lower maintenance costs because composite vessels do not corrode and – which is not always known – they are easy to repair.”
“Overall we can produce high quality at a lower cost and pass this on to our customers and offer much shorter delivery times because we are building a series.”
Jaap Gelling, Damen Shipyards Director High Speed Craft, explains the wider Damen strategy. “It is our policy to replace our aluminium vessels with composite ones eventually up to the 20-25 m range. The 25-40 m should ideally be aluminium and 40 m plus, steel. However, the choice is still down to the customer, we will always build to fit in with our customer’s requirements, as long as it can be done technically.”
“Composites offer a number of benefits. They do not corrode, for instance. Aluminium vessels are great, but only as long as they are handled in the right way. They really have to be looked after properly. “
“And composite vessels can still be heavy duty vessels. They are Damen designed and perfectly suited to be workboats, actually much stronger than the Class rules – they are entirely fit for purpose.”
Jaap stresses: “Composites can be used from ‘low tech’ to ‘high tech’ – simple, relatively heavy constructions (still lighter than aluminium) for medium speed workboats, up to light carbon-reinforced laminates for ultra-fast interceptors.”
“When ultimate strength has to be combined with the least mass, composites are the way to go. In this respect Formula 1 has shown the way for some time already: a full carbon monocoque protects the driver. During a crash, everything breaks off an F1 car, but the monocoque stays in one piece!”
“There is sometimes the impression that composites are complicated and difficult to repair but we can teach our customers how they can repair their boats to their original strength in just a few days.”
He adds that it is simply a case of what customers are used to. A recent study in the UK showed that eight out of nine pilot stations in the UK preferred composite vessels. The reason? They are easy to repair!
Another major advantage comes when weight is the most important factor, for example for Interceptors. “Vessels can’t be heavy if they need to go at 55-60 knots! Yes, they can be done in aluminium but then customers have to switch to petrol rather than diesel, adding to the costs of fuel and compromising safety.”
Additionally, with Damen’s unique modular system, composite vessel delivery times can be extremely short. For instance, Damen designed a 16 m high-speed ‘platform’, which can be turned into a pilot boat, fast crew supplier or patrol boat by adding three different superstructures.
Damen is continually aiming to reduce the costs of production to pass on these benefits to its customers. This is one reason why it has hired specialists on the mass production of composites vessels – who learned the trade in the sailboat industry where production numbers of thousands a year are not uncommon. “It all starts with smart engineering. When we start to design a boat we should know how we are going to build it. Cutting the building hours by smart design could help reduce costs by at least 10%,” Jaap says.
Vessels that will be built at Damen Shipyards Antalya include the Damen Interceptor 1102, the new Fast Crew Supplier / Stan Patrol/Stan Pilot 1605, the Stan Patrol /Stan Pilot 2205, as well as the Damen Waterbus (20 m and 24 m). Damen Shipyards Antalya will build for stock, further enhancing delivery times.
Currently, Damen Shipyards Antalya is building a series of Damen Interceptors 1102, the ‘first of series’ Fast Crew Supplier 1605 and moulds for the Stan Patrol 2205 and the Modular Waterbus.