In-house milling allows the factory to modify designs quickly and create prototypes rapidly. Malcolm Kellett, Head of Robotic Milling Operations, explains the production process of the robot:
“A piece is initially machined on a foam core, 10mm undersize of its final measurements. Then it is coated in T-Paste, an epoxy machining paste, and re-machined to the final dimensions with a nice finished surface before being sent where it needs to go.”
The robot has a high accuracy in pattern making and reduces production time in the factory, Malcolm explains, “It does the job faster, traditional methods are quite labor intensive. This machine gives you your base structure and an accurate surface area to work with.”
“Since early this year, the robot has been averaging 16 hours a day, helping get products into the marketplace at a faster rate than before”
The robot interface runs off CAD data, which is processed into CAM code and inserted into the robot via an external USB drive so it can run offline. This ensures the robot can continuously run the code without interruption, the robot can essentially be left to its own devices. “Since early this year, the robot has been averaging 16 hours a day, helping get products into the marketplace at a faster rate than before,” Malcolm stated. The Grand Banks 60, as well as the hull of the upcoming Grand Banks 52 were both developed with help from the robot. The robot has the potential to be programmed to work for 24-hours around the clock, surpassing traditional labor-intensive methods. What may take months by hand can take weeks or even days with this piece of machinery, leaving boat-builders and craftsmen to more meticulous hand-crafted tasks, where great attention to detail is essential.
In the future Grand Banks hopes to employ a second robot, the two robots can simultaneously work together on larger pieces or work individually on separate tasks. With a larger output of parts in the factory there is also more workplace opportunities opening up, introducing new expertise and skills into the factory. The implementation of the robot has enabled us to introduce new products into the marketplace quicker than before, this robot has been an absolute game-changer.