Title
Inflatable Marine Safety Equipment
Low Weight and Cost System Using Microcontroller Technology
Technologies used

    Microcontroller

Industrial sector (PRODCOM code)
    25 Safety Items Manufactured Using Rubber
    29 Other Special Purpose Machinery
    333 Industrial Process Control Equipment
    34 Parts and Accessories for Motor Vehicles and Engines
    35 Marine Equipment
Abstract

Polymarine Ltd have manufactured and supplied inflatable products for the marine safety and survival applications for over 20 years. The company now employs 9 people and has sales of 1.1 MEURO. The company's product range includes complete inflatable craft as well as specialised components for these systems. The company's products are based on the use of a variety of mechanical manufacturing processes, and the company had no experience in the area of microelectronics.

The company markets mechanically activated inflation system for inflating marine safety and survival products such as Liferafts, Lifejackets, Inflatable Marine Escape Systems and Emergency Buoyancy Systems. The inflation systems for these products traditionally have used compressed gas for inflation. The gas is released in an emergency by a mechanical actuator and valve system. The weight and size of these gas cylinders is a major disadvantage when used in weight sensitive applications such as commercial and military aircraft.

Polymarine have developed a new patented, inflation system which uses a chemical gas generator to advantageously replace the traditional compressed gas supply systems. The objectives of the Application Experiment was to produce a low cost and low weight inflation system for survival applications. The microcontroller incorporates in the improved product performed the following functions:

  • to actuate these gas generators in response to several sensor inputs.
  • to operate several gas generators in a predetermined sequence to maximise the buoyancy of the inflatable.

The development of the microcontroller-based gas generator will result in an unique and class-leading patent protected product. The use of the gas-generator will have a significant impact on the survivability, and offer a lower cost and weight solution. These advantages will lead to increasing sales and profits for the company.

The cost of the development work supported under FUSE funding was 34 KEUR. The development of the prototype required 8 months to complete. The payback period for these prototype development costs is 27 months.

The return on investment on the costs of prototype development is estimated at over 1,290 % over the product's 10-year patent protected lifetime.

Company

    Polymarine Ltd
    The Round House
    Ferry Farm Road
    Llandudno Junction
    Gwynedd
    LL31 9SG
    United Kingdom.


Detailed information

You can also benefit from microelectronics

Microcontroller technology provided Polymarine Ltd. with the means of improving its products and enhancing its market position. You can also achieve significant benefits by acquiring the right microelectronics technology and utilising it in your product or manufacturing process. You can get help from FUSE to realise this.

FUSE is a technology transfer programme, funded by the European Commission to stimulate the wider use of microelectronics technologies by European enterprises to increase their competitiveness and enhance their economic growth. The demonstrator described here is one of many examples in the public FUSE portfolio covering the whole spectrum of microelectronics technologies and spanning a wide range of applications and industry sectors.

FUSE provides you with:

  • Best practice in acquiring specific microelectronics technologies and conducting full development projects through the FUSE portfolio of real life demonstrator documents.
  • Local training and expert support to plan your innovation realistically and help you conduct your project successfully.

Further information and support relating to this and other demonstrators can be obtained from the addresses below.


Further information   Guiding Technology Transfer Node
For further information and support regarding this case study, please contact a Technology Transfer Node (TTN) in your region.
Homepage: http://www.fuse-network.com
Univercity of Glamorgan
Mid Glamorgan
Pontypridd CF37 1DL
United Kingdom