As part of the production of the Figaro Bénéteau 3, the Bénéteau group has chosen to subcontract the manufacture of the foils. It is indeed a critical part for the new one-design sailboat, the first production boat equipped with this type of appendages, hitherto reserved for made-to-measure. In the summer of 2016, the Vendée group launched an international call for tenders. Multiplast, renowned for building racing yachts, was finally appointed as a supplier in December 2016.
With a target production of 2 foils per week for one year, the implementation of an adapted industrial process was essential. One design requires perfect control to obtain exactly identical appendages. The company has relied on the know-how of other Carboman group companies to which it belongs, such as Plastinov, which manufactures wind turbine blades in particular. The mastery of closed mould and injection moulding systems enabled the objective to be achieved. "The technology transfers with Plastinov and the budget linked to a series production, allowed us to invest in tools that we do not have for unit parts. Thanks to this, the part that comes out of the mould is almost finished. It requires less work time. "Yann Penfornis, head of Multiplast, explains.
Checking the foils after demoulding © R. Gladu / Windreport / Bénéteau
A long validation process
Numerous tests led to a solution reliable enough for series work, as explained by Samuel Napoléoni, project engineer at Multiplast. "A first 500 mm section of mould was quickly machined in order to carry out process validation tests. Each test took a week; we performed about fifteen tests to isolate the influence of all parameters. Our objective at the beginning of the year was to make the manufacturing process robust enough to start series production. In parallel, we produced the moulds and worked on the ergonomics of the workstation. It was a great satisfaction for our teams when at the end of June we released the first 4 foils. At that moment, we knew the bet was won!". A foil is produced in two weeks.
A buoyant market...
With a hundred foils to produce in less than a year, this contract should enable Multiplast to acquire a great experience in the production foil niche. The company intends to rely on this know-how to take a place of choice in a market of production foils that should grow rapidly, in sailing, but also on motor boats, in a context of reduced fuel consumption. In this last niche, Multiplast works in synergy with the Swiss shipyard Décision, which builds the Sea-Bubbles taxi boats. With the Figaro 3, Multiplast opens up to a development plan that we will dare to describe as a carrier...