Aquarius – a pioneer in composite constructions
The marine industry in India is traditionally dominated by steel and alloy constructions. But there are exceptions. Aquarius Fibreglas, founded in 1995 by Mr Ratnakar Dandekar, prefers building boats in advanced composites. Aquarius started out by working in partnership with well-established naval architects outside of India. However, it didn’t take long before this ambitious shipyard moved on to making its own designs and constructions.
Mr Ratkanar was well aware of the resin infusion process and its benefits for advanced marine composite builds. In order to introduce resin infusion to his shipyard, he contacted the Composites Consulting Group (CCG), who he knew had extensive experience in this field. After some initial discussions with Mr Rimzath Ali from CCG, Aquarius decided to try the process of vacuum infusion when building an 8-meter cruise boat. Mr Ratnakar was hoping that this would prove that boats built with vacuum infusion technology could be a reality in India.
New contract means new possibilities
In the third quarter of 2014, Aquarius shipyard won a contract to design and build a series of 50-foot (15.65 m) Fast Interceptor Boats with top speeds of 35 knots and meeting DNV GL standards. The boats would be built in India and delivered overseas for coastal patrol and interception work.
Again, Aquarius contacted CCG for help with designing the structural engineering of the vessel in order to meet the GL required classification. This was a key area as CCG also had the knowledge of how to engineer the vessel so the infusion process would be guaranteed to work on site.
A job well done
The core materials were delivered in early January 2015 and the building process itself started on January 23. Over a period of two weeks the staff at Aquarius, under the guidance of CCG, set up and successfully infused the hull, followed by the deck and bulkheads. The new construction technique meant that no plywood was used in the building process. All areas requiring bolting or fixings used high-density Diab core instead. The core is about half the weight of plywood but offers the same or better compressive strength and has great screw retention qualities.
“This was a difficult first build as the entire hull was infused in one piece”, said Mr Todd Henry, Asia Region Manager at CCG. “The staff was extremely careful with the accuracy of the core fitting and the placement and overlapping of the fibers, ensuring the structural design was carried out exactly as the plan dictated. This is never easy and yet I went away very satisfied with the task completed and knowing Aquarius is ready to continue on its own.”
Big hopes for the future
Aquarius Fibreglas is now preparing to build the remaining 10 boats and CCG will continue to offer support when and where needed.
CCG’s Mr Ali commented, “We hope that the efforts taken here by Aquarius will encourage others in the marine market in India to follow the example to advance the marine sector in this region and show that we can build as good a product as anyone else.
Read more about Aquarius Fibreglas: www.aquariusgoa.com