Sunseeker International set to introduce vacuum bagging techniques

Sunseeker confirms it will use the vacuum bagging technique on its yachts
Sunseeker announces it will use the vacuum bagging technique on its yachts

Sunseeker International is to join the other big boatbuilders and start using PRO-SET epoxy and vacuum bagging techniques on its yacht decks.

It made the decision following a new case study by West System International (WSI), which revealed that the technique would provide optimal finish across all of its yacht decks.

The luxury yacht builder will now use PRO-SET ADV-170 Adhesive and vacuum bagging as standard for pre-fabricated teak deck installation across some 200 boats a year.

Ned Popham, composites manager, Sunseeker International, said that this new method is safer, quicker and cleaner than screwing or weighing down pre-fabricated decks.

“As well as being inconvenient and tiring, weighting the deck down during bonding was a health and safety issue for us. The installation of teak decking is much safer and cleaner now with PRO-SET adhesive and vacuum bagging,” he said.

He added that the combination of PRO-SET epoxy for fairing and bonding, combined with vacuum bagging, should help to ensure that there are no imperfections or dips that cause pooling when the decking is wet.

Sunseeker has always used PRO-SET epoxy for bonding, although it has tried other fillers. In the past it used polyester-based fillers but they didn’t work well with epoxy and cure times were far too long, said Mr Popham.

With the PRO-SET Fairing Compound, technicians can fair in, sand down the surface and bond down the deck in just a couple of days.

A brief explanation of the vacuum bagging technique
Vacuum bagging is a process of completely enclosing and sealing a panel being built and bonded within a plastic bag and then extracting most of the air, so that exterior atmospheric pressure can be put to work to squeeze the surfaces more tightly together for better bonding. Many modern constructions system will benefit from being cured while under this naturally available compressive force. If excess resin can be squeezed out and improve the fibre/resin ratio, the result is a a lighter, stronger part.

Very simply, if any uncured lamination is wrapped in airtight plastic and all the air from inside is removed, the natural atmospheric pressure will compress the work and compact the lamination.

The short video below gives a demonstration of the vacuum bagging technique.

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