The vessel was manufactured using carbon fiber sandwich technology and employs a double bottom structure, which the company says makes it safer than competing boats. “If you compare composite material with others, such as aluminum, it is possible to reduce the weight by approximately 30 percent and even more compared with steel,” says Lars Tedehammar, senior vice president of Kockums. “And if the vessel is lighter it will affect the life cycle cost. If we need to use less energy to power the boats, we can use smaller engines with preserved speed and therefore have the ability to load more cargo per load.”
When drafting the plans for the CarboClyde, composites not only won out in weight savings, but in maintenance costs as well. “Compared with metallic materials, composites don’t have fatigue problems; therefore, using composites enables us to reduce maintenance costs by up to 25 percent,” says Vorwerk. “Composites also give us the ability to make complex design solutions at relatively low cost by the way the parts are manufactured, not to mention its forgiving nature in structural damage.”
But there are a few disadvantages to a new composite model, Tedehammar states. These include a composite’s inability compared to steel to handle local pressures or loads in a sandwich solution. Yet Tedehammar explains this can be overcome by using a different inlay or a better quality core.