Bullet-proof Boating

A carbon fibre jet boat pod with bolt-on carbon fibre seats was an innovative solution for Queenstown’s iconic Shotover Jet when they wanted to remodel their jet boat fleet.  This gained them fuel savings, a stronger structure with harder-wearing floors and stunning visual appeal. To deliver what was envisaged, they needed manufacturing partners in the South who were able to take the initiative.  The result was a new design of adventure tourism jet boat, the first of which was launched in November 2011.

FI-Innovations manufactured the staged seating pod that slots inside the alloy hull.  This foam-cored carbon fibre unit was not only 180 kg lighter than the previous all-alloy unit, but stronger too.  The pod was resin-infused for added precision, as were the 14 carbon fibre seats which are fitted to the pod.

The floors have been given a hard-wearing Rhino Tuff-Stuff ™ coating that out-performs the traditional aluminium checker-plate.  “Floors were a problem in the old boats - the marine alloy checker-plate failed to live up to the endless abrasion - the river sand under the passenger's shoes actually wore the floor areas smooth.” Gareth Dykes said. The solution was a 3mm spray-on flexible urethane from Rhino Linings which bonds strongly to the pod's floor and walls.

The proof of this solution is that, after three years of commercial use, the floor is still scratch-free. When the boat was dismantled for its 1000 hour service, there were no cracks, defects or signs of wear on the pod or seats.

Posted in Boat-building, Fibreglass, Marine, Resin infusion, Tourism |

Christchurch Sewer Pipe

Falling masonry and cracked, lumpy roads were obvious infrastructure effects of the 7.1 magnitude earthquake that rocked Canterbury at 4.35am on 4 September 2010.

Below ground however, lurked a far more urgent casualty.  A city sewer pipeline buried metres underground had two major cracks.  The cost of digging up and replacing the massive 1.3m diameter pipes was prohibitive, so engineering firm McConnell-Dowell sought another solution.

In what was believed to be a world first, FI Innovations (working with the Polymer Group, Auckland), took on the challenge of sealing the pipes internally with fibreglass sleeves.  Fi Innovations used resin infusion technology to make the two 20mm thick epoxy pipe sleeves in Invercargill – then fitted these huge parts into place inside the existing sewer pipeline up in Christchurch.

A perfect fit and a perfect solution.

Posted in Civil Infrastructure, Fibreglass, Resin infusion |

Architectural Challenge

One or two hairy 'architectural challenges' faced us when H&J Smith Ltd needed to carry out extensive renovations to spruce up the ground floor of their Invercargill store. Not the least of these were the old 20 foot tall support/service pillars.

We really did have to think outside the square, so we called on Fi Innovations main man, Gareth Dykes. "Not a problem, we’ll take care of that for you." he says. They encased those eyesore pillars with beautifully smooth, fibreglass cylinders, designed specifically to take the specialist finish chosen by our client.

The result? Mint! Truly, it looked a million dollars. The ugly old pillars were transformed into elegant, architecturally-inspired columns that looked in keeping with the rest of the renovations. We were one happy client.

- Bruce Middleton, Amalgamated Builders Ltd, Invercargill
Posted in Architecture, Fibreglass |

Aerodynamic Cowling

Cowling design and fabrication for a modified aircraft - a challenge that FI-Innovations staff enjoy taking on. We worked with Bill to design a composite lay-up which achieved the desired rigidity and weight.

"I’m installing an alternative engine into a Fletcher agricultural aircraft and needed a custom engine cowling. I have very little knowledge of fibreglass moulding, but did have some definite requirements which were accommodated with no fuss.

The lightweight, yet rigid moulding needed no internal bracing, and the smaller air ducts cast in carbon fibre composite were accurately-made and easy to fit.

I have no hesitation in recommending Gareth and his crew at FI Innovations. They certainly took my needs in their stride and produced an engine cowling I can be proud of."

- Bill Sutherland, Diesel Air New Zealand Ltd, Waikaka

Posted in aviation, Fibreglass, Transport |

Artisan Sculpture

Fi Innovations was excited to help create a Burt Munro sculpture to commemorate the legendary Southlander and his 'fastest Indian'motorcycle.

Invercargill-born and raised sculptor, Roddy McMillan, remembers visiting Munro's backyard garage as a lad with his father. "He was a pretty inspiring sort of character." For the past five years, McMillan has been beavering away on a project. He plans to immortalise in bronze this favourite son of Southland.

Once Roddy had completed the final design for the sculpture, we made an accurate copy out of fibreglass. This was sent to The Heavy Metal Company in Wellington to be cast into a 600kg bronze statue.

Recreating a 'larger-than-life' moment in the motorcycle speed record career of Burt Munro took the skills and attention-to-detail of FI Innovations Fibreglass.  They made the cast for the 4.5 metre bronze Burt Munro sculpture and did a bloody good job of what was quite a difficult task.

- Roddy McMillan, Invercargill Artist

Roddy McMillan, sculptor of Burt Munro motorbike
Roddy McMillan (left) discussing the casting of the sculpture
Burt Munro, who died in 1978, was a home-grown, no-nonsense engineer. Over many years, he extensively modified his 1920 Indian motorcycle, determined to extract more speed. In 1967 he set an under-1000cc world motorcycle speed record (still unbroken today) on the Bonneville salt flats in Utah, United States. His preparation for this record attempt is depicted in the 2005 movie "The World's Fastest Indian", starring Anthony Hopkins.
Posted in Art + Culture, Fibreglass, Tourism, Transport |

Project Carbon – partnering Stabicraft Marine

Project Carbon is an exciting partnership, involving collaboration between Stabicraft MarineCaliber Design and Fi Innovation. Mike Whittaker, from Caliber Design, worked with Stabicraft to develop the Fisher 1600 pontoon boat. They wanted a stylish carbon cabin to make it stand out from the crowd and to save assembly time.

Fi Innovations manufactures the five-piece cabin using resin-infused carbon deck, dash and insert panels with colour-matched side panels. We think the exposed carbon looks stunning.

Stabicraft Marine has built it’s reputation on innovation – making rugged, dependable boats that really perform.  Since 2002, we've relied on Fi Innovations Fibreglass to deliver moulded cabins, enabling us to add stylish good looks to our range of open boats.  Their quality workmanship and excellent customer support can’t be faulted.  It’s what makes Fi Innovations such all-round good operators.

- Paul Adams, Managing Director, Stabicraft Marine, Invercargill

Posted in Boat-building, Fibreglass, Marine, Resin infusion |

Splash Down

We chose Rhino Linings TUFF STUFF to refurbish the slow-down pool at the bottom of Splash Palace's  hydroslide. It has the ability to withstand the chlorinated water and cope with the rugged demands of daily use. Having a minimal shutdown time was critical to the facility's operation, so TUFF STUFF's rapid application, fast setting and short cure time made it perfect for the job.
Posted in Industrial, Swimming Pools |

Flash Tank

Ceilcote 505 Coroline by Armatec was selected to repair a leaking water tank at a local meat-processing works.  The damaged tank was relined with a 3mm heavy duty barrier of this chemical-resistant epoxy.  Coroline has superior permeation resistance and complies with the requirements of the US Food and Drug Administration.

Posted in Industrial |

Tuff Stuff pipe lining

Tuff Stuff from Rhino Linings is used to line a troublesome pipe at the Ballance fertilizer plant. As fertilizer ran through the pipe at high speed, the elbow bend was continually being abraded away. This cost a lot of money in downtime and replacement pipes.

Tuff Stuff was chosen because it is flexible enough to withstand constant erosion by the moving fertilizer. When applied at 10mm thick, it has proven to be an effective solution.

Posted in Coatings, Industrial |