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Press Release - November 2009

Regatta Racing at the Highest Level

YSA Yacht Design Introduces
the New Catamaran Competition
Cat 30 Developed with Vacuum
Infusion Resins from ebalta
The final carbon fibre catamaran Cat 30: all materials for the moulds, vacuum infusion and part production are from ebalta.

YSA Yacht Design & Building, Wasserburg, Germany has always had the ambition to design and build the fastest and most exciting yachts for regatta racing. Following on from the YSA 10 launched three years ago as the prelude to a series of innovative racing yachts, the Catamaran YSA Competition Cat 30 has now been introduced - with significant support from the company ebalta.

YSA boats are characterised by the most modern engineering, latest technology and their light-weight build, as shown by the latest design and development of the 9 meter long catamaran competition Cat 30 for regatta racing at the highest level. Its complete carbon look and intentional minimalist design are state of the art and uncompromisingly follow the standards and regulations of the sport.

For the construction of the light-weight catamaran, weighing only 400-450 kg, YSA's CEO Sven Akermann and his team focused primarily on the materials and know-how from ebalta. In addition to the low weight requirement, the catamaran Cat 30 also had to feature a perfect quality CFRP laminate surface and high strength coupled with durability for a long-life cycle.

 
Epoxy mould produced using the
vacuum infusion method, from
ebalta's AH140/TC90 resin system.

For the Composite specialists at ebalta, who cooperated on this project, it was immediately evident that the requirements of the project could be best achieved with the modern vacuum infusion manufacturing method. The infusion material used was the GL (German Lloyd) approved ebalta epoxy resin BIV 800 which, compared to traditional polyester materials, was able to attain a lower weight ratio coupled with considerably reduced odour during manufacture.

The main advantage of the modern manufacturing procedure of vacuum infusion is that a lower volume of resin gets drawn into the fibre material thereby achieving a higher fibre percentage versus that achieved with hand lamination resulting in a higher strength to weight ratio for the part.

Step by step to the part
The epoxy mould was produced from ebalta's AH 140 resin with hardener TC 90, and was also fabricated by the vacuum infusion process. For production of the CFRP parts, the carbon fibre fabric is placed in the mould in a dry condition. The peel ply layer is then inserted followed by the perforated release film. Flow medium and hoses can easily be removed through the perforated release film after curing of the resin. The flow medium is then placed in position and fixed. The resin feed and vacuum hoses are attached and secured using an adhesive tape.

 
The carbon fibre fabric is placed
dry into the epoxy mould.

After applying vacuum-film in position, the structure is tested for leaks and the ebalta epoxy resin BIV 800 is drawn in through the resin feed and is distributed over the entire component. The procedure of infusion takes no more than 60 minutes for each part, so YSA Yacht Design achieved considerable time savings from the process compared to the conventional hand lamination method and attained parts of lower weight with the same strength. The result: an extremely light catamaran with a perfect carbon fibre surface.

 
The epoxy infusion resin BIV 800
is pulled in and distributed across
the entire component.

Advantages of the process
The vacuum-infusion method also brings further advantages says Stefan Koppmair, expert for Composites at ebalta "Because it provides a better and unchanging quality for each parts which means you can achieve uniform impregnation without bubbles." The percentage of the infused resin content varies by less than 0.5% across the component which means there is virtually no difference in thickness. The carbon fabrics can be placed in without any time pressure, and there are no restrictions relating to the pot life. Moreover, through the use of resins with a short pot life, a faster demoulding time is possible. Such time savings are most notable for larger parts with core material.

"The fact the carbon fibre is dry loaded means clean working conditions and consequently a significant reduction of emissions is possible" emphasises Stefan Koppmair. Further advantages compared to hand lamination with vacuum bagging is lower resin content in the parts and a lower resin volume requirement for larger parts.

Vacuum infusion also has advantages over prepreg/autoclave processes as well, such as no costs for the purchase of the autoclave and the fact that thick laminates are made in one working step so no debulking is necessary. Compared to Resin Transfer Moulding (RTM), ebalta's specialist Koppmair states the advantages come from lower tool costs and in addition, there is no need for an expensive injection system. For lot sizes under 100 pieces, the vacuum infusion process proves to be far more economical.

The success of the YSA Competition Cat 30 demonstrates the wide expert knowledge of the ebalta specialists for vacuum infusion.

Comparison of fibre volume content for various manufacturing processes.

Stefan Koppmair says "We are happy to oversee whole projects and stay at our customer's disposal for specific questions about the products or the manufacturing processes, as well as providing intensive training if required. With a complete integrated portfolio of materials for composites, we are prepared to face almost any project."


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ebalta and ebablock are registered trademarks of ebalta Kunststoff GmbH.



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e: sarah@ebaltadistribution.co.uk

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