Customers - Fyran Boats


AUCKLAND'S Fyran Boats has recently made a dramatic transition from dated manufacturing methods to state-of-the-art digital processes from design through to CNC profile cutting of aluminium boat parts, significantly increasing their production efficiency.


At the beginning of 2007 their entire intellectual property was hanging from nails on the factory walls in the form of plywood templates used to manually guide an arm-mounted router spindle. The awareness that a fire or other disaster could destroy all these templates was sobering enough, but also the parts produced varied and required continual adaptation and re-engineering, which slowed and limited production. It was also a brutal and crude method of cutting aluminium plate and very hard work for the machine operator.


An approach by James Dowle of Waka NZ Ltd at the 2006 Christchurch Boat Show started discussions about the best way to move into CNC production, and to determine the best machine for the job. One of the early reservations was that it appeared that the CNC router proposed was capable of matching the manual process in only a couple of hours work each day - could this much excess capacity be a smart business decision?

The new Advanced Robotic Technology (ART) SX 14000 Router was ordered through Waka from the Brisbane manufacturer in March 2007. The machine can process aluminium plate up to 13 metres by 2 metres.


During the construction lead-time work began on digitising the stock of templates. Each of them required refinements and adjustments to achieve an accuracy of fit to adjacent parts, and over a six month period a complete library of components was built up and stored as 3D DFX files using the CAD program Rhinocerous. Waka's CAD/CAM technician Roger Farmer worked closely with Fyran factory manager Chris Pascoe and boatbuilder Andrew Chamberlin to refine the catalogue of parts, and to develop an Access database query to reference the parts for automatic-toolpathing through the CAM programme EnRoute.

By entering details of boat model number and quantity required, the database query process produces separate cut-files for parts of varying thicknesses, and has nested programmes ready to machine in minutes. The ART router cuts the various thicknesses and stacks of aluminium plate using 6 and 8mm cutters lubricated by oil mist. A wheeled pressure foot assisted by spot screws ensures that the material doesn't move on the MDF deck and a swarf extraction system unique to the ART machine removes all but a few stray curls of swarf for recycling. The efficiency of the nesting leaves only a skeleton from a sheet.

As it turns out, the machine utilisation is much more extensive than originally envisaged as the efficiency of the process has meant that many more small parts such as gussets and brackets that were previously individually made by hand are now part of the automatic programming. Significant savings in assembly time have also been achieved through the accuracy and close fit tolerance of the parts produced by the router.

With new designs being CAD modelled by a marine architect it is now possible to output parts directly from design to machine, and custom designs and adaptations can be accurately cut and manufactured with similar efficiency. There is also comfort in the knowledge that the intellectual property of Fyran Boats is now safely backed up off site, and there is no further need to rely on those battered old pieces of plywood.

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Waka New Zealand Ltd - Mecsoft CAD/CAM software for CNC Routers, CNC Machining Centres and Lathes - VisualMill, VisualMill for Solidworks, VisualTURN, VisualART,
RhinoCAM, RhinoART. Thunder Lasers, router cutters, carbide router bits, Precisebits cutting Tools, 'Working with Rhinoceros4'

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