Balmoral Advanced Composites secures contract for Thunderbird-inspired boat modules
2 December 2005, News release from Balmoral Tanks
Aberdeen based Balmoral Advanced Composites has picked up a £2 million contract to supply unique interchangeable accommodation and workshop modules for British Waterways' fleet of canal workboats.
Originally inspired by the demountable pods on 'Thunderbird 2', the ingenious modules have been designed for use on land or slotted into an innovative new range of specially created boats soon to be launched on the UK canal network.
These futuristic modules are manufactured using some of the latest advances in composite processing and materials. The shell structure is manufactured using a vacuum infusion process and incorporates a lightweight core material with inserts giving additional support in highly stressed areas.
The laminate uses a fire retardant resin which meets the requirements of BS476 Part 7 Class 1, with reinforcement provided by stitched combination mats and continuous filament mats which assist resin flow during the infusion process.
The internal compartments also use lightweight sandwich core composites giving high strength to weight ratios, allowing the modules to meet stringent performance and weight targets.
The British Waterways order includes 45 accommodation and five workshop modules with each providing a self contained environment depending on the canal maintenance tasks being undertaken. When working on rural stretches of canals away from facilities, the accommodation units will meet modern welfare requirements including a flushing toilet, hot and cold water, lighting, heating and power, while the workshop unit will provide an undercover working area for maintenance tasks.
British Waterways project manager, Mark Duquemin said: "The modules provide a modern, innovative, and flexible solution to improving the welfare of our people who work on maintenance tasks across the UK canal network. We looked far and wide for a suitable manufacturing partner and we are delighted with our final choice. Balmoral has shown that it has the necessary expertise to produce these specialist units on time and to the very highest standard."
Jim Hamilton, Group Director at Balmoral, added: "We are delighted to work with British Waterways on this prestigious and innovative concept. Following substantial R&D investment, in terms of materials, design and performance, I believe this product will significantly change the way that British Waterways' canal boats carry out their duties."
The modules, which will be delivered between September 2005 and January 2006, form part of a £5.6m capital investment programme by British Waterways in new modular workboats and facilities. The replacement programme follows two years of development by a working group of waterway operatives, waterway managers and engineers that includes 23 new tugs, 29 new hoppers and 50 modules.
Due to their lightweight demountable design, the innovative modules can be used on board the workboats or on dry land, with tough advanced composites materials making them easily transportable by water or road.
The bulk of the order will be delivered to waterway offices in England and Wales although British Waterways Scotland has purchased two modules for use on the Lowland Canals. George Ballinger, British Waterways Engineer, Scotland, said: "We've ordered two of the accommodation modules to supplement our existing welfare facilities on the Forth & Clyde and Union Canals. After we see how these perform we may well order more."
BALMORAL ADVANCED COMPOSITES
Balmoral Park, Loirston, Aberdeen, AB12 3GY, Scotland
Tel 01224 859000 Fax 01224 859059
For further information please email Balmoral Tanks