Pulse 63 – The World’s first RIB with a fully integrated Electric Drive
RS SAILING LTD
SCOPE OF WORK
To partner in the development of commercial tooling and manufacturing process leading to the production of GRP assemblies to underpin the product.
Through iterative development, MTAG were able to assist in the design of parts suitable for manufacturing processes capable of delivering quality and quantity with efficient return on investment.
Having manufactured thousands of boats for RS Sailing, MTAG have been involved from an early stage contributing to tooling design and production, materials selection, manufacturing process development and commercialising the design for serial production.
To date, all production tooling has been produced to an exact design using a combination of 3D scanning, CNC pattern design and production and hundreds of hours of skilled craftsmanship. With production tooling due to be completed by early August, MTAG will develop a dedicated manufacturing team to produce up to four boats, complete with all deck ancillaries per month.
To find our more, go to: www.rselectricboats.com
Q&A About the Project
Is there a specific reason your company wanted to get involved with the project? (perhaps due to a passion for electric propulsion or sustainability?)
MTAG are committed to the development of composites manufacturing and its evolution towards an era when the complete product lifecycle is considered which aligns to RS’s desire to make the Pulse one of the most sustainable boats on the market. The Pulse 63 represents a great first step towards the re-balancing of product design to consider sustainability as a core value, and MTAG have guided RS Electric Boats using techniques developed during R&D activities involving new materials and processes.
Who are the key people who have been involved with the Pulse 63 and what are their relevant backgrounds/experience
Nick Maltby – Managing Director
After leaving education, Nick joined a local composite company as a trainee laminator moulding commercial vehicle panels, amusement rides, rail and industrial composite mouldings. He developed his experience in roles such as Team leader, Trainer, NVQ Assessor & Verifier and continued on to be Factory Manager, Estimator and finally Technical Manager before leaving that company after 27 years. He founded MTAG Composites in 2008 with his wife Sue, and within a few weeks was approached to produce phenolic mouldings for rail and marine which quickly drove a sustained period of expansion into a variety of sectors.
A highly productive working relationship with RS Sailing ensued, and MTAG are very proud to be supplier to such a vibrant and successful company. Nick directly influenced the development of the Venture with new moulding and manufacturing methods as he continues to lead MTAG looking at new and improved materials and processes to benefit both companies and secure a bright future. Nick personally strives for as part of his business development and looks forward to a long-term relationship with all MTAG’s customers.
Tim King – Technical Sales Manager/Project Manager
Having recently completed a Project Management MSc to support his Industrial Design Degree, Tim joined MTAG in 2019 as a Project Engineer responsible for various projects including robotics, 3D scanning, R&D and engineering change implementation. The role developed into Business Innovation which focussed on new technologies, capital investment, marketing, and new business. Whilst remaining part of the Engineering department, his role now incorporates all aspects of Technical Sales as well as Account Management for motorsports Manufacturer Radical Sportscars Ltd.
Tim’s ability to manage multiple aspects in different ways allows him to be the first point of contact for RS Electric Boats to focus on delivery of the project on time and to the customers specification. The iterative development of the product requires the project management to be Agile, resulting in a very close working relationship with the client and project team.
Josh Sykes – Engineering Manager
Josh has worked at MTAG for almost 6 years immediately after completing a master’s in mechanical engineering. Initially working as a Project Engineer in the rail sector, learning a lot about processes and progressed into new product introduction. Overseeing projects from RFQ through to serial production, encompassing all aspects of tooling, design and process, Josh is now MTAG’s Engineering Manager and involved in all the technical/engineering work of the company.
Patterns and Moulds Team:
Paul Lidgett – Mould Shop Lead,
Dillon Hughes – Pattern and Mould Maker,
Troy Ardron – Pattern and Mould Maker,
Braxton Cunningham – Pattern and Mould Maker,
Trevor Bateman – Pattern and Mould Maker,
Alan Bateman – Pattern and Mould Maker
Have you developed/used any new and/or innovative products or processes during the project?
As part of the materials development process, MTAG suggested inclusion of several sustainable materials where technical performance criteria met the needs of the product, namely the recycled carbon fibre.
Whilst this material is primarily used as a base for pre-preg, MTAG have developed a method to infuse the fabric in a dry state meaning lower materials costs, reduced storage overheads and fewer lay-up risks during the lay-up process prior to infusion. The composite lay-up can be positioned precisely and infused in either a closed tool for certain parts, or silicone bags (manufactured in-house by MTAG) for larger, more complex parts.
This process was developed at MTAG in 2019 and won awards for innovation in the UK and invited to be exhibited at the global composites gathering at the JEC in Paris.
What eco-friendly or sustainable measures have you included in your work on the project?
Key to the success of the electric drive is the light weighting of the boat design and inclusion of sustainable materials where possible. MTAG suggested the use of an infusible recycled carbon fibre which we trialled in 2019 on the award-winning RS Neo Foredeck which replaced regular glass fibre reinforcement with a non-woven material made from feedstock derived from scrap carbon fibre and old carbon fibre products.
The process of reclaiming and re-processing the carbon was developed by ELG (now Net Zero) who worked with MTAG to provide an alternative destination to landfill for our scrap carbon fibre which we use in the manufacture of aircraft seating. Normally destined for production of a prepreg, MTAG developed a method of infusing the dry material, and once commercially viable it is hoped the resins can be substituted with a bio-based system, furthering the sustainability credentials of the product.
What were the main project barriers and how did you overcome them?
With such a large and complex project, problems are to be expected to a certain extent but 2020/2021 has not exactly been a normal couple of years for anyone. With so many elements of the design being continually refined, MTAG had to be agile and respond to the changes quickly. The main obstacles, however, have not been particularly biased towards design or technical issues but logistical but all problems have been dealt with effectively as they arose.
Covid-19 undoubtedly contributed to most issues in one form or another, but in unusual ways not seen before and whilst MTAG remained open (except for six weeks in March 2020), manufacturing capacity was at a shortage given the number rail projects aiming to catch up on lost production. In addition, materials prices in the composites supply chain experienced rarely seen before price rises of up to 40% plus shortages of key raw materials restricting the supply. By increasing capacity through active employment (a challenge during the Furlough era) and increasing stocks held of manufacturing materials, MTAG were able to continue to develop production tooling.
How would you sum up your company's general feeling about being involved with the project?
MTAG are thrilled to have been chosen as the manufacturers of the composite elements of the Pulse 63. It epitomises the disruptive nature of harnessing technology in several different sectors to revolutionise another.
What is your favourite feature of the Pulse 63?
Undoubtedly, the key element of the Pulse 63 is the revolutionary power source and propulsion unit which provides solid justification for the use of sustainable, lightweight reinforcements in the form of recycled carbon fibre made from waste feedstock sourced across the composites industry.
MTAG Composites Ltd, Unit 6 & 7 Coldham Road, Coningsby, Lincolnshire LN4 4SE, UK
Telephone 01526 343790
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