Attwater and Sons has been supplying materials to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution for several years for use on the new Shannon Class All Weather Lifeboats, so it is fitting that the RNLI has called upon composite tube specialist Custom Composites, part of the Attwater Group to provide the rollers that will help launch the new Shannon Class All Weather Lifeboat at the new £3.5 million Swanage lifeboat Station.
The rollers have been designed specifically to withstand the 18 tonne weight of the craft and remain unaffected by the harsh marine environment. The rollers will form part of a modular launch and recovery system that carries the Shannon-class craft from the lifeboat house to the sea.
Attwater and Sons were then subsequently contracted to manufacture the 17 cassettes that house the rollers themselves. The modular design allows the RNLI to swap out components for maintenance and replacement as and when necessary.
Sales Director Rachael Kennedy said; "Attwater are extremely proud to be involved in such an important project, working with a charitable organisation whose primary focus is saving lives. To think that we supply materials vital for building the Lifeboats themselves, and are now supplying a fundamental part of the launching system that will enable the RNLI to continue their fantastic work. This is another example of how the materials that we manufacture and machine, though not headline grabbing, are vital to so many companies around the World.
Andy States, General Manager at Custom Composites said; "The RNLI approached Custom Composites and subsequently Attwater & Sons with a very specific requirement. The rollers needed to remain free from stress fractures or voids, and required a manufacturer with our level of experience and quality assurance to meet their demands. Our composite rollers will not corrode in seawater or deform like some rubbers do under such stresses and in such demanding environments." With over 20 years' experience producing composite tubes Andy relished the challenge the rollers presented, he suggested reducing the roller length slightly to improve tube yields, this minor alteration enabled the rollers to be manufactured with less wastage. Andy said "such a small change, allowed us to pass on a cost saving to the customer whilst creating less waste, a win, win situation".
The Swanage lifeboat Station is due for to be opened in 2017 and Attwater hopes that following successful trials, the roller system will be incorporated in other RNLI installations around the UK.