It’s tough to get consumers to adopt innovations – you have to convince them to spend their hard-earned money on new “unproven” technologies, instead of using something that has been “good enough” in the past. Nobody cares about innovation on its own; new technologies must solve problems.
By listening to our customers and focusing on problems in marine construction, IMM Quality Boat Lifts has been able to bring innovations and new technologies to market that are aimed at better addressing customer needs and satisfaction with boat lift ownership. Being our industry’s innovation leader has allowed us to consistently provide the highest quality products to our customers at the lowest possible prices.
One problem in marine construction has been the longevity of treated timber piles. Treated timber piles are subject to damage from hard driving, corrosion, fungal decay and biological organisms. Saltwater can accelerate the deterioration of timber. Over time, UV rays will dry out timber, creating cracks for salt and moisture to wick through. Once dried, salt crystals form in the timber cells and push the wood fibers apart.
Typical life expectancy for treated timber piles installed into saltwater is around 30 years, but can be less in the unpredictable marine environment. Unfortunately, the desired life expectancy of the structure installed onto a treated timber pile foundation often exceeds this limitation.
Over the years, the marine construction industry has come up with a number of solutions to this problem, including PVC-wrapped timber, concrete and steel piles, each with their relative advantages and disadvantages.
Working with New Carbon Fiber Piling Technologies
Recently, one of IMM Quality’s marine contractor partners, Diversion Boat Lift Company, approached us about a project for the New Orleans Yacht Club. They wanted to install a boat lift for an Aprea-Mare 9 “Cabin” onto carbon fiber pilings.
Fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) composite pilings consist of a corrosion-resistant polymer, reinforced with carbon fibers. A long-lasting and dependable alternative to traditional materials, FRP composite pilings have exceptional strength and durability. They are well-suited for use in marine environments because they are unreactive to moisture and chemical corrosion. Furthermore, the Department of Environmental Protection has designated FRP as an environmentally safe, non-polluting material due to its chemical inertness. No more worries about the chemicals in your pilings leaching into the water!
Our challenge was to come up with a system to attach a boat lift to the carbon fiber pile. Unlike pilings made from traditional materials that are solid, carbon fiber pilings are hollow pipes. Our engineers designed a no-drill bracket that would not pinch the carbon fiber pile or deform its top under the weight of the boat lift.
Figure 1. No-drill clamp to secure boat lifts to carbon fiber pilings
The second issue was to figure out a way to safely distribute the downward force so that the carbon fiber pipe would not deform. If not designed properly, the walls of the pipe could fold inward or splay outward and the pipe could split and collapse. IMM Quality Boat Lifts engineers designed an aluminum pile pad that covered the open end of the pipe, which would also interact with the no-drill clamps and our standard top beam pile-mount bracket.
Figure 2. Aluminum pile pad designed to distribute the load over the open end of the carbon fiber pipe
When properly assembled, the custom components securely attach the lift top beam to the carbon fiber piling (See Figure 3 below). A pair of no-drill clamps are connected with bolts that tighten the clamps around the carbon fiber piling. The aluminum pile pad sits on top of the piling and the pile mount bracket clamps to the flanges of top beam channel. The pile mount bracket also secures the pile pad by fitting into the “T-shaped” notch. Finally, the strap of the pile mount bracket attaches to the no-drill clamps with bolts.
Figure 3. Carbon fiber pile mount system
Of course, your choice of marine contractor is critically important, and Diversion Boat Lift Company made sure that everything went according to plan. Family owned and operated, Diversion has served Southern Louisiana since 2004.
Installing a boat lift into an existing boat house can be tricky. That is why Diversion Boat Lift Company is one of our preferred partners. They have the experience and technical knowledge to make sure that even the most difficult installations are done safely and will stand the test of time.
“At Diversion Boat Lift Company, we approach every lift opportunity with an engineering mindset. Together with IMM, we designed this custom lift to meet the specifications of the boat and the boathouse characteristics. Almost every job has its unique set of challenges; together with IMM we have been tackling them, while making our customers happy,” said Steve Fantauzzo, principle at Diversion Boat Lift Company.
If you are in the market for a new boat lift, please ask us about all the cutting-edge technologies that IMM Quality Boat Lifts incorporates into our products. When only the absolute best boat lift will do, the smart choice is IMM Quality Boat Lifts.