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Techtextil NA & TexProcess

28th November 2016, Verwood

bigHead offers fastening solutions for marine composites

bigHead, a leading bonding fastener solution provider, is offering efficiency and cost savings in manufactured parts and assemblies for the marine industry applications, which follow many of the same requirements as other industries, where composite materials are being increasingly used for structures, components, and panels.

The company’s invisible-to-the-eye fastening solution can be equally applied to highly secure panel to panel assembly or component to panel integration, helping boat builders reduce the expense and difficulty of vessel construction, the manufacturer reports.

A luxury yacht engine room fit-out. © bigHead

The versatile, reliable and time saving fastener is available as standard in 316 marine-grade stainless steel and is widely used and is said to be well proven in the marine sector – from powerboats to luxury yachts, and from jet drive boats to RIBs and even surf boards.

Panel strength

The marine industry in particular is challenged with maintaining maximum panel strength whilst minimising installation weight and size. In addition to the potential for exposure to the harsh environments endured by marine vessels, many applications also require fixings to be completely waterproof.

bigHead solutions need no drilling and inherently provide a watertight fixing, according to the company. The discrete high-strength fastening solution may be surface bonded to or embedded in materials that include carbon fibre and GRP composites, as well as SMC and foam-core materials.

Marine applications

A luxury yacht builder that requires flexibility for their engine room fit-outs uses surface bonded bigHeads to directly mount fuel line and coolant plumbing and other small equipment componentry to GRP wall panels. Rather than drill holes and fix brackets, a one-step process allows fast installation of bigHeads with the ability to adapt the panel exactly as required.

Solar Boat’s carbon fibre body with motor cage. © bigHead

bigHeads can also provide high strength fixings. A solar powered boat project uses 20 surface bonded bigHeads to enable the fast mounting and removal of an electric motor cage to the very thin carbon fibre floor panel.

A manufacturer of water jet powered tenders for luxury yachts uses bigHeads as a discrete mechanical fixing point on the exterior of the hull for the jet propulsion system. With the fasteners discretely embedded in the GRP material during the manufacturing process, secondary processes are eliminated, a waterproof solution is applied and a low vibration but highly secure structural mounting arrangement is ensured, the company reports.

Fixing points for harnesses

bigHeads are also used to provide fixing points for harnesses and other equipment on RIBs manufactured from soft PU or PVC materials. An M6 threaded 316 stainless steel bigHead is encapsulated into weld-able PU disc.

Embedded bigHeads fasteners provide secure and watertight mounting for the jet propulsion system. © bigHead

This low profile assembly is then ultrasonically welded into the fabric layers of the RIB, maintaining an air and watertight seal whilst providing a high strength mechanical fixing.

Other applications

Other examples for the marine industry include cabin panels, hatches, interior and exterior furnishings, deck and equipment fixings, insulation fixings, light clusters, wiring harness supports and more.

bigHeads are widely used across many other industries where composite products, components and panels require discrete fastening, the company reports. In addition to marine and boatbuilding, applications range from specialist and luxury car production to building and construction, rolling stock, leisure vehicles, and other general industries.

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