Assembly in Action / Adhesives Assembly

2012 Olympics a Bonding Experience for Boat Manufacturer

Later this month, the 2012 Summer Olympic Games will commence in London and include various water-sport events such as rowing, canoeing and sailing. Nearly 65 inflatable boats made by Ribcraft Ltd. will be used to patrol these events to keep the competitors and spectators safe.

Nearly 65 inflatable boats will be used to patrol various water-sport events at the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. Photo courtesy Ribcraft Ltd.

Based in Yeovil Somerset, England, Ribcraft has been designing and manufacturing rigid inflatable boats since 1991. That year managing director Mark Gardiner started the company unknowingly when he designed and manufactured an inflatable boat that suited his subsea diving needs better than any other boat he could find.

Initially, Ribcraft made boats for the hobby and leisure sectors. Over the last decade, however, the company has expanded into the professional area of marine security and gained customers worldwide. Satisfied customers include police and private contract companies that patrol coastal waters for terrorist threats, and drug and human-trafficking activities.

The company’s success in building high-quality marine craft came to the attention of the Olympic Governing Body in 2009. That year Ribcraft was invited, along with 29 other companies, to bid to manufacture 64 safety rescue boats specifically for the 2012 Olympic Games.

Ribcraft was awarded the contract in 2010 and started work on the boats in November of that year. All boats were completed and delivered on time in March 2012.

To comply with the tight schedule, Ribcraft needed to change its production method due to space restrictions at its plant. The new method involved bringing together and bonding three preformed layers of the boat.

The good news was that this method enabled Ribcraft to batch-build 10 boats at once. The challenge was finding a way to bond the layers without any mechanical fixing. After extensive trials, Ribcraft determined that Crestabond M1-30 adhesive could meet the challenge. Crestabond M1-30 is supplied by UK-based Scott Bader Co. Ltd.

Crestabond M1-30 is a two-component methacrylate structural adhesive that requires no primer, dispenses and cures quickly, and bonds composites, thermoplastics and metals. When cured, the adhesive offers excellent impact, peel, shear, compressive strength, tensile strength and fatigue-resistance properties.

The adhesive can fill gaps from 1 to 50 millimeters. The adhesive’s mix ratio by volume is 10; mix ratio by weight is 9.1. Working time is typically 25 to 35 minutes. Fixture time is 60 to 80 minutes.

Crestabond M1-30 is a methacrylate structural adhesive that bonds composites, thermoplastics and metals. Photo courtesy Scott Bader Co. Ltd.

“For the Olympic boats it was vital that the mixed adhesive assured the integrity of these sections,” says Gardiner. “I realized early on that the adhesive is only as good as the quality of the metering and mixing equipment.”

Ribcraft mixes and applies Crestabond M1-30 with equipment made by Liquid Control (UK) Ltd., which has recently been acquired by Fisnar Inc. Gardiner says the dispensing equipment provides precise placement of adhesive and reduces resin waste, which saves Ribcraft money.

For more information on dispensing equipment, call 973-646-5044 or visit

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