Why Building Better Aluminum Boats Starts with Quality Aluminum Cutting

Posted by naimor on Jan 9, 2018 12:22:18 PM

We all know that time is money. Some would argue this statement is the most visible in marine manufacturing, where every second of production translates directly to the bottom line. Add to that the stress of a customer who needed a boat last week, and you suddenly find yourself and your crew putting in overtime.

If you are building an aluminum boat and could save seconds, minutes, hours, or even days by adopting a new process, would you do it? I’m willing to bet most boat manufacturers would say yes. And, while replenishing carefully monitored inventories with a predictable production schedule may be an option for many industries, it is almost never an option for the custom-built aluminum boat industry.

aluminum boat cutting


Quality Aluminum Boat Cutting Results in Faster Turnaround Times

When working with boat builders, I get the question “What are your lead times right now?” more often than any other. Although I was taught to not answer a question with a question, my knee-jerk reaction is to ask “When do you need it?” – already knowing the answer is “yesterday”. Time for a pop quiz:

Q: What do cars, office phones, and televisions have in common? (Wait, I swear I’ve heard this joke before…)

A: All are controlled by computers.

Anyone who’s worked on a classic car engine will tell you that although it’s fun to tinker with the timing position of a distributor cap, you’re happy that your daily driver doesn’t have one. It just works, and with more power and increased efficiency. The same can be said of using a hand saw versus using CNC router cutting.

Router cut aluminum boat templates take the guesswork out of the build process. Is the line cut correctly? Checking the program will tell you. The beauty of CNC machinery comes from its infallible ability to perform the exact task programmed. Couple that accuracy with speed, and you have a win-win scenario for parts made faster and with more precision than any human master could boast, every time.

While computers and machinery are essential for a quality part, it’s not the full picture. Forming parts is a mixture of science, skill, expertise, and art, and there is a decidedly human element to this step of the process. Having a brake operator that knows what they’re doing is a key component.

What if I have the capability to do these things in-house? Why would I pay to have someone else do the cutting of my aluminum boat?

I’m currently having the floors redone in my house. I originally toyed with the idea of installing them myself. I can use a saw, and the pieces just snap together, and I can source all of the flooring. Why would I pay a contractor to install them? Well, it comes back to the same equation of time, but with an added and very valuable commodity: confidence. Thank goodness I listened to my wife on that decision, as we discovered unforeseen hiccups that would have been insurmountable for us. And if I cut a board incorrectly, guess who has to go out and buy another one, at retail cost?


Make Aluminum Boat Cutting Work For You

As an aluminum boat manufacturer, time is never a leisure. Orders may come from pleasure boaters many months or even years before a customer needs their boat. Or, they might come from a commercial fisherman who needed their aluminum boat yesterday and is missing out on huge amounts of revenue every day. In my experience, the majority seem to be closer to the latter scenario.

Thankfully, quality aluminum boat cutting can make the boat building process much easier. There are several places that accommodate CNC router cutting; materials suppliers, cutting shops, metal fabrication companies (such as Naimor, Inc.), and even larger boat builders are the most common. When choosing, be sure to weigh all the factors – pricing isn’t always everything. Always consider expertise, quality, customer support, and of course, that all-mighty lead time.

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Tags: aluminum boats, Customized Marine Fabrication, aluminum boat cutting, router cutting