Advanced Composites Group Ltd. (ACG), part of Umeco Composites Structural Materials (UCSM), a Division of Umeco plc, recently achieved recertification of its VTM®260 Series prepregs from Lloyd’s Resister of Shipping.
ACG’s VTM260 Series, the first and only prepreg system to have received Lloyd’s Resister approval, has been widely accepted in the marine industry and is now the product of choice at the highest levels in yacht racing. VTM260 Series offers an array of low pressure, low temperature (from 65°C) processing options and the approval has been extended to include a new variant, VTM267, which has been optimised for resin film infusion, a process favoured for heavier fabric reinforcements typically used in series production. Combined with a complementary range of surfacing and adhesive films, mouldable cores, 30-day workshop out life and polyester gel coat bonding capability, ACG’s VTM260 Series is proving to be an exceptionally versatile marine prepreg system.
First launched in 2001, VTM260 Series prepregs found immediate success in the America’s Cup and ACG can now count many more successful builds and cup victories. These prepregs have also come to the forefront in the gruelling Volvo Ocean Race, scoring two victories to date.
ACG’s VTM260 Series prepregs have also gained favour in the equally glamorous world of powerboat construction. Here, the aesthetic qualities of carbon fibre are often as desirable as its lightweight structural possibilities and, from patrol boats to racing dinghies, VTM260 Series prepregs are leading the way in performance marine composite construction.
The performance benefits that composite materials offer have long been recognised in the general marine market, where they have displaced traditional materials such as wood and aluminium. As owner expectations rise and the environmental and health and safety pressures build-up against general wet lay-up processing, the marine industry must adopt more advanced construction methods and materials. Low temperature prepregs, such as VTM267, which can be offered in rapid layup formats, are ideal for the construction of large format and series boats, where they offer a simplified and ‘low risk’ route to reduced cost and reproducible high performance.
ACG now considers Lloyd’s Approval as key to the even wider acceptance and growth of prepreg technology in the marine industry.