- Inflatable boat manufacturing process
- Inflatable boat manufacturing steps
- Inflatable boat construction
- Inflatable boat making material
The technology of inflatable boat production has not been changed for many years. The main changes relate to the materials used, their structure and characteristics. Due to the use of durable and upscale materials, modern products have become stronger and more resistant to the effects of various external factors.
The modern inflatable boat manufacturing is presented in two different approaches:
- cold welding;
- gluing technology.
The effect of so-called cold welding is achieved with the using of special adhesives. These chemical substances react with the material of the surfaces to be glued. When using this method, the structure becomes monolithic at the joints and its strength increases.
Each of these methods has its pros and cons, but in general, they allow producing a quality and durable product.
The hull construction begins with the rolling of a quality-rubberized fabric. Using templates the details of the bottom, sides and other elements are marked on this fabric. The marked details can be cut out by different methods:
- mechanical (using a cutting tool);
- water jet.
The manufacturer chooses an acceptable option based on each specific case.
On the cutout material, the skilled worker marks the gluing places of all elements of the vessel. Prior to the application of adhesives, surfaces are cleaned with organic solvents. After cleaning (and after each glue application), the surfaces should be carefully dried.
Qualitative gluing is an important moment in making of inflatable boat. It is necessary to ensure a good preparation of the surfaces and a level joint of the parts to be glued. Before gluing, it is essential to mark the borders of the superposition of materials in order to avoid errors. The glued surfaces are neatly joined to expel the appearance of bubbles, wrinkles and various folds. The seams are carefully smoothed with a roller to remove any air bubbles. The quality of the seams depends entirely on the professionalism and accuracy of the workers, and compliance with the manufacturing technology.
After the gluing of the bottom, the other parts such as carrying handles, oarlocks, etc. are glued. Then the vessel is left to dry. After drying, it undergoes a thorough examination and testing. The finished product is completed with deck, a pump, paddles, seats and repair kit. At the end, the boat is packed in covers. The process of inflatable dinghy production is similar to making conventional models.
- O-shape (closed tube);
- unclosed (two or more separate tubes).
The design with O-shaped boards is used for fishing or hunting and as a rowing vessel for short distances. There is no outboard motor or it is not very powerful.
U-shaped inflatable boats serve for movement on water with outboard motor. The manufacturer limits the power of the motor, which can be installed on this type of vessel.
Unclosed shape is usually used for specialized models and inflatable rafts.
Light weighted and easy to use, the soft (fabric) bottom is welded or glued along the board. Most often, this type is used in small and medium sized vessels. It is an excellent solution for quiet boating in small and medium water areas.
The classic inflatable bottom is perfect for those who prefer the simplicity of assembly and compactness. However, standing and moving on such a floor is quite difficult.
The rigid bottom is divided into several types, which differ in rigidity and ease of installation. It is very durable, allowing you to move in the vessel even in motion. However, its drawbacks include heavy weight and the need for more careful maintenance.
As the basic material for the inflatable boat production, a fabric made of artificial or natural fibers is used. It is treated with a special compound - PVC (polyvinyl chloride), hypalon, polyurethane.
Materials and fabrics for inflatable boats differ in their characteristics. Polyurethane is less commonly used for their manufacture. However, such products have good stretching parameters and are resistant to abrasion.
PVC is considered to be strong enough - such products acquire greater reliability. Its advantages are that it is practically not exposed to chemical and mechanical effects. The strength of the PVC fabric is resistant to abrasion and tearing. It is able to withstand temperature changes, and even decay processes cannot disturb its integrity. The number of layers affects the strength and ability to stretch.
Another common material is hypalon. Because of higher cost, the inflatable boats from hypalon are usually high-priced. As regards the features and characteristics, it is stronger than PVC and has a longer service life.
The choice of material and boat shape depends on your preferences and capabilities. If you find it difficult to make the right choice, then at Beluga Boats you can always find interesting models with different designs and price category.