Marine fendering for the SEA-KIT unmanned surface vessel
Wilks were approached by Hushcraft Ltd for the exciting task of supplying marine fendering to the world’s first long-range, long-endurance unmanned surface vessel.
Leaders in hybrid solutions Hushcraft Ltd designed and built the SEA-KITTM , the first autonomous vessel in the world that can control, launch and recover another unmanned vessel. The SEA-KITTM delivers minimal environmental impacts, has reduced running costs and is suitable for multiple missions, including seabed surveying and intelligence gathering.
Hushcraft Ltd were clear in the fender protection requirements for the vessel; the fender needed to be non-marking and heavy duty while being slim enough to allow the vessel to fit inside a container for transporting.
The vessel concept was based on utilising existing technology to minimise risk. An approach welcomed by Wilks who hold an archive of over 1500 extrusion dies and tools, allowing appropriate tried and tested protection to be manufactured quickly and at a lower cost compared to a brand-new design and tool manufacture; a bespoke service Wilks offer with an average lead time of eight weeks.
PVC 1160 was chosen from the tool archive, a slimline D profile that had been used historically for heavy-duty shopfitting projects. The profile, once chosen and discussed with the customer, was run to custom lengths to meet the build design. Bespoke colours can also be manufactured with Hushcraft Ltd choosing grey. To complement this colour a matching grey construction adhesive was sourced by the Wilks team for the fitting of the fender.
Jeff Webber, European Sales and Support commented on the project: “It was truly exciting to work with Hushcraft on this notable build, knowing the first unmanned vessel is protected with Wilks fender is fantastic and showcases the durability and protection of our fendering.”