In 2019 Hallam was contacted by a leading UK manufacturer of ocean-going yachts for global sporting and leisure markets seeking new designs and more efficient methods of manufacture for the portlights (windows) in the hulls of the yachts.
The manufacturer hoped that the high-pressure diecasting method would allow the portlights to be manufactured in one piece rather than fabricated. However, this also involved:–
- A change of raw material from fabrication alloys to casting alloys and selection and testing of an appropriate alloy.
- Complete mechanical redesign of the portlight range to make the designs consistent with the new manufacturing process.
- Extensive testing of finishing treatments applicable to the casting alloy selected.
In particular, the new materials and finishing treatments would need to withstand the effects of extremely harsh oceanic environments and prolonged exposure to the intense UV radiation (sunlight) typically found in leisure yacht mooring locations.
The re-design of the portlight range was particularly challenging as the design had to allow for flush fitting to contoured hulls as well as fixing, sealing and anchorage points for internal features within the cabins. The raw material was chosen from a portfolio developed during Hallam’s experiments with casting alloys for traffic and roadside environments where saltwater resistance in harsh environments over many years was a key requirement.
External testing houses were used to simulate the finished products’ exposure to saltwater and extreme mechanical forces as well as 10 years constant exposure to Caribbean sunshine. CIELAB methodology was utilised for colour testing after simulated exposure to UV radiation.
The portlights are now manufactured as a complete unit by Hallam across a wide range of sizes and configurations removing the need for fabrication processes.