Persico celebrate the successful launch of Rán V
Accustomed to high-quality precision engineering and fabrication in automotive and other specialized parts, Persico has found it quite comfortable to put their talents to work with specialty marine applications as well. They have done this so well that in the most competitive arenas of the sport – the America’s Cup, the Volvo Ocean Race, and the Mini-Maxi Class – Persico is becoming the first choice for those teams that want a thorough, collaborative and no-compromise approach to being at the absolute cutting-edge of technology and innovation.
What makes Persico uniquely qualified to produce impressive arrays of products and services is the wide range of resources available at their facility near Bergamo, where every aspect of a complex production cycle is in their control. This makes it a onestop shop to serve all needs of a project.
The process starts with the in-house engineering staff who use the latest tools in the industry to find optimized solutions for composite as well as metal parts, from which accurate plugs and moulds get built with the use of Persico’s 5-axis CNC milling equipment. Production of accurate fibreglass and carbon production moulds for use with high-temperature laminates is an important product line offered by Persico, as is CNC-milled direct moulds which in whole form or in pieces can be used for hulls up to 50m in length. These moulds are superior in providing dimensional and geometric accuracy for many different components of the boat, ranging from small parts like bowsprits and spreaders to large and very important parts, such as keels, rudders, daggerboards and other foils, where strength and light weight are just as important as accuracy of the designed shapes.
With accurate moulds comes the ability to carefully control the resin-fibre ratios, and when combined with use of Persico’s 8 x 2.8 m autoclave, infused and pre-preg laminates approach less than 1% in void content, compared to 3% in a typical vacuum-bagged laminate. As the voids are reduced, the material becomes lighter and more optimized for strength, and the accurate moulding process nearly eliminates the need for additional fairing materials before going to the final finish, a further reduction in weight.
An example of innovation in process is Persico’s use of the autoclave for more than just composite skins, but for the core as well. Sections of Kevlar Nomex are pre-formed to the tight turns of the hull shape in the bow sections and baked in the autoclave at 200° C, where they retain this shape and can then be placed in the hull mould. The result is a lighter panel that also achieves the very tight curvatures needed in the bow area where traditionally foam would be used.
Where the engineering calls for structural reinforcement of panel sections, Persico’s frame fabrication process starts with use of advanced 3D-software to produce designs that comply precisely to the designer’s specifications and result in engineered parts that can be made fixed, movable or horizontally pivoted. The construction of the frame and the mould are processed in parallel, a significant benefit because they are finished at the same time (the whole frame is fitted on the mould) and overall production time is reduced.
And where the engineering solution to an application calls for metal, Persico is ready with a full suite of tools and techniques to accurately and efficiently machine metal parts where needed. Even this process has gone to the cutting edge, with small titanium parts now being made with a 3-D printer.
While known for their projects in the America’s Cup (Prada),Volvo Ocean Race (Abu Dhabi) and the new Volvo Ocean Race 65s - Persico’s latest success can be seen in the build of the latest Mini-Maxi from Judel-Vrolijk, Niklas Zennström’s Rán. Persico’s resources, talent and collaborative style has helped produce a boat of extraordinary light weight and strength (there is nothing on board not made of carbon or titanium), and has fulfilled this seasoned team’s demands for performance and perfection, culminating in the team’s class-winning debut performance at Palma Vela.
‘Our approach with all our projects is very much a collaborative one,’ says Marcello Persico, Managing Director Persico Marine. ‘When the Rán team came to us to discuss their new project, they felt immediately at ease with our team, who are familiar with America’s Cup-level attention to every detail and are highly motivated to always get the most out of every project we take on. In this way the atmosphere was very collegial, where we all were working towards the same goals. This was important, because our timeline was not long: the design came to us in mid-August last year, and we launched in April on time for Palma Vela.’
Not bad for a state-of-the-art Mini-Maxi. And because just one is never enough, much of the moulds and tooling from Rán will be used in Persico’s next Mini-Maxi project, Momo.
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