CNC Machine Applications in the Marine Industry

30 Nov 2017

Applications of CNC machining extend beyond dry land to include boats of all sizes that travel the global waterways. Manufacturing parts to construct high-quality, high-performance boats requires precision and efficiency, two primary characteristics of CNC machining.
Here’s a closer look at the role a CNC machine plays in the manufacturing of marine vessels, from start to finish.

Mold construction

The hull is the foundation for all marine craft. A boat’s quality, durability and overall look are directly dependent on a hull that’s created from a mold built precisely to specifications.
Hand-crafted molds are time-and labor-intensive, and the human element results in a lack of consistency and accuracy. It’s difficult to create the clean edges, straight lines and identical corners that mark a high-quality hull.
A CNC machine is programmed electronically to produce uniformly precise molds and detect errors before they occur. In addition, CNC machining provides the versatility that enables manufacturers to work with a wide variety of materials.

Hull and Deck Trimming

Forming the hull and deck structures is just the beginning. Once they’re outside of the mold, these structures must be joined properly, without any gaps, uneven lines or shifting.
Determining proper alignment of the joins while these structures are “free” can be a painstaking process. Large-scale 5-axis CNC machines are capable of easily and efficiently trimming excess materials from even the largest structures while perfectly matching all parts.

Ribs and Stringers

Ribs and stringers are lengths of wood that form the “skeleton” of the hull. These parts reinforce the hull’s strength and help it retain its shape.
Stringers and ribs usually require a number of production templates and take up storage space with in-process inventory. CNC machines enable a wood-nesting process that optimizes yield while accommodating movement and placement of non-linear edges.

Interior Furnishings

Furnishings in high-end yachts and sailboats often rival those found in luxury condominiums and apartments. A typical layout might include a gourmet galley kitchen with granite countertops, plush wraparound seating and beautiful wood cabinets.
All of these items and more can be easily created with a CNC machine. The systems can accommodate everything from clean lines to intricate designs in wood, stone and a wide range of materials.
Boat building has a long and proud tradition dating back to prehistoric times. CNC machining brings the marine industry into the 21st century with unmatched levels of efficiency and precision.