DISCOVER Magazine #6

Composite Vessel 1204

Published in category: Offshore Wind
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Standardised customisation

When it comes to flexibility of design, Damen’s new 12-metre composite vessel is an example of a boat able to tackle multiple duties.

“We have designed the 1204 to fit any customer design requirements with a composite structure that is built to last,” opens Meredith Dijkstra, Damen’s Product Portfolio Manager.

What’s more, we have accomplished this so it is available on demand – within ten weeks from ordering – and at a competitive price.

Fast Crew Supplier 1204 composite vessel

Composite vessel production: a quick guide

Damen uses three elements to create composite materials: fibres, resins and core materials.

Fibres are the structural elements to give strength. The fibres can be oriented in the direction of the forces acting on the construction. Depending on the requirements, glass and carbon fibres are used.

Resins connect the fibres to each other to form stable and stiff load-bearing structures. High-end epoxy-based polymers are used. Core materials, such as closed cell PVC, are used to construct lightweight sandwich panels. This provides excellent impact absorption characteristics, high impact resistance and a reduced amount of stiffeners.

The adaptable design stems from a choice of three different propulsion systems and a flexible layout. “This is important because different types of work demand different types of propulsion. For the fixed pitch propeller configuration we kept things as simple as possible.

The result is easy to maintain and straightforward to operate. This is ideal for areas with reduced service facilities or remote regions. The second propulsion option – water jets – is for operations that require greater manoeuvrability and higher speeds; up to 30 knots. The third version – stern drive – is the lightest and most cost efficient. However, due to the fact that stern drives are not classed, this option is not class approved.”

Benefits of modularity

The versatility of layout has been achieved by using a modular superstructure. “We can adjust the dimensions of the wheelhouse and deck space depending on what is needed – a large wheelhouse with maximum passenger capacity, or a small wheelhouse with a large aft deck.” Indeed, the 1204 superstructure consists of one front wheelhouse, with a passenger capacity of six, and three additional 1.5 metre long modular components, each with space for a further eight passengers.

“Depending on the vessel’s intended operational profile, there are various options possible,” Meredith explains. “A maximum deck space of 15 m2 with six passengers is suited for hydrographic surveys, diving operations or line handling, for instance.

For a more multi-purpose utility vessel for pilot, coast guard, patrol, or security duties, a mediumsized wheelhouse with a medium-sized aft deck is better. And for activities where passenger capacity is required, the 1204 can offer space for 30 persons.”

Design freedom

Having highlighted the sheer versatility of the 1204 design, Meredith then goes on to point out that the advantages to be gained from composite materials go further than weight reduction (which leads to a significant reduction in fuel costs). “We use moulds to build composite vessels,” she notes. “This allows us to guarantee delivery times as short as ten weeks. Also, moulds give us the capability to create forms such as curves and corners that are more difficult to do with aluminium.

Fast Crew Supplier 1204 Aqua Support

On top of that, composite structures reduce the amount of structural material and stiffeners needed. This ‘design freedom’ means that we can really optimise the use of available space – a factor that is especially important in a small boat like this.”

The fact that the 1204 is a small vessel has also influenced the choice of on-board systems used. “Bigger vessels have more specialist crews. Smaller vessels, on the other hand, have smaller crews, and as such they have to be multi-skilled. Therefore we designed the internal vessel systems to be as straightforward as possible in terms of operations and maintenance.”

The selection of standardised on-board components also illustrates this goal of practical, no-nonsense design. This not only yields benefits in terms of production time and spare parts ordering, but also regarding tried-and-tested quality of parts. And continuing further with this train of thought, the fact that composite materials are not difficult to repair only adds to the ease of maintenance, as Meredith adds:

Everybody can learn to repair composite and not everyone can learn to repair aluminium.

Consistent quality

When it comes to composite vessel production, Damen Shipyards Antalya is the company’s specialist yard. Building a total of eleven different vessel designs, the yard’s Infusion Lamination production technique has received the much-respected Bureau Veritas workshop certification. Meredith:

Our production hall operates at such a high level of quality and the procedures are so well maintained that everything we produce at the Antalya yard is automatically certified by Bureau Veritas.

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