Deck hardware: wonders by design

Phil Atfield of Atfield Technical Consultancy explains, one of the main things that has helped the deckware design process along is that manufacturers now have very sophisticated tools at their fingertips.

Stress analysis programmes, for example, means there is a much better chance of getting a better product first time. It also allows for a more complete package from the off, with things working straight out of the box.

Development and R&D at manufacturers like Lewmar relates to increasingly more sophisticated use of materials and composites. As loads increase and lines become smaller in diameter, deck hardware needs to cope with the changes. ‘Lewmar is already running FE Analysis software to select the right materials to handle the kinds of stress placed on deck hardware. Without doubt this is going to continue,’ says Ian Stevenson of Lewmar.

Further, says Mr Atfield, three dimensional CAD (computer aided design) means that once you have the product design you can press a button and you have an exploded diagram. ‘The knock-on effect is that it does come with an addition cost – but overall this is more than mitigated by various advantages, like the fact that manuals and so forth are easier to produce.'

3D CAD also allows a more detailed investigation into weight reduction and material volumes at the design stage, all of which have an input into product cost. 'A more complete package from the get-go,’ says Mr Atfield, and more ‘bang for your buck’ for the end user.

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