From Design to Production: An Integrated Methodology to Speed Up the Industrialization of Wooden Hulls
- Cristiano Fragassa (Alma Mater Studiorum University of Bologna)
- Document ID
- The Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers
- Journal of Ship Production and Design
- Publication Date
- August 2017
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 237 - 246
- 2017. The Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers
- reverse engineering, wooden hulls, CAD, reverse engineering, design procedure, CAD, 5-axis CNC machine, 5-axis CNC machine, design procedure, wooden hulls
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- 3 since 2007
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A new design and construction procedure for manufacturing wooden boats is presented, based on modular, parameterized components produced by computer numerical control (CNC) machining. This semiautomated procedure greatly reduces time requirements for vessel assembly compared with traditional methods and yields similar economic viability to other less sustainable materials such as fibreglass. Starting from computer-aided design drawings, the three-dimensional geometry is optimized considering target functions (resistance, dynamics…). Segmentation of wooden strips and transformation into two-dimensional segments permits to simplify CNC machining, with component borders shaped and tapered for better interconnection. Tool path generation is part of the cutting procedure to achieve the required components with the minimum use of raw materials and operational time. All strips, together with the frame, are manufactured using a 5-axis CNC machining center and finally assembled to produce the first industrialized prototype of wooden boat. Manufacturing in this way represents a significant step toward viable mass production of wooden boats.
The application of modem manufacturing techniques to the production of wooden boats has the potential to revitalize the use a cheap and environmentally sustainable material in the boating industry. Such a consideration is particularly relevant in the current global context of economic downturn and climate change. Historically, the use of wood (as in [Lanapoppi 2000, Howorth 1980]) was phased out in favor of materials that were cheaper and simpler to deal with, such as fiber-reinforced composites and aluminium (Espeut 1983). The use of wood was inherently manual (Fig. 1) and time consuming, leading to lower economic viability. The widespread adoption of fiberglass eventually came due to its superior malleability and strength-to-weight ratio, as well as its potential to reduce manual labor requirements during construction (Fox 2001). Several decades later, the needs of both manufacturers and customers alike have changed.
Natural materials, zero-impact boating and embodied energy are now regular subjects of discussion in the literature (Guamán et al. 2015). The use of wood and electric-solar drivetrains are common approaches when striving for a negative carbon footprint (Pommier et al. 2015). Increasing attention on environmental sustainability, together with several recent changes in wood production technology, suggest the necessity for reevaluation of resource use in boatbuilding, with emphasis placed on environmental sustainability.
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