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Old 06 October 2016, 22:06   #1
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Questions for RIB Owners from an Engineering Student Team

Hello Sirs and Madams,

I'm an undergraduate Mechanical Engineering student at UBC in Vancouver, BC, Canada. In the final year of our degree, all engineering students are required to complete a culminating design project for a real-world client. My team has been engaged by a local rigid hull inflatable boat manufacturer to create a vessel-integrated, automated collar inflation and pressure monitoring system.

As part of our project requirements, my team is required to carry out a user needs assessment, as well as create a market assessment. We've experienced considerable difficulty identifying local owner/operators willing to have a conversation with us, so we have decided to look slightly further abroad.

I was hoping that some of you fine, upstanding forum members, would be willing to answer some basic questions regarding your current methods for collar pressure maintenance, as well as your opinions regarding what features/functionality you would like to see in an on-board, automated system.

My team and I would very appreciative if you could answer all, or a portion thereof, of the following questions:

1) What size of RIB do you own/operate?

2) How many compartments constitute that vessel's collar?

3) What is the general category of use for the vessel? Recreational? Commercial/Industrial? Enforcement/SAR?

4) What equipment and methods do you currently employ to inflate/maintain the compartment pressures? For example: How do you assess collar pressures? By 'feel' or sound? A portable or permanently installed gauge? When required, how do you top up the compartments? A foot pump? Portable compressor (DC or AC supplied)? Compressed gas cylinders? On-board compressor and distribution system?

5) Approximately how much did your current system cost to purchase?

6) How frequently do you check and/or top up the pressure in the collar?

7) With your current system, approximately how long does this process take on average? Please include time to assess pressures, set up your inflation system, inflate the collar compartments, and take down.

8) On a scale of 1-10, how satisfied are you with your current system? We'd appreciate any justification you are willing to provide. What do you specifically like or dislike about it?

9) How interested would you be in replacing your current system with one that would not require bringing any equipment to the vessel, would automatically alert the operator to low collar pressures, and could quickly inflate the collar to specified pressure with a single press of a button? This could be done dockside or on the water.

10) Could you suggest any specific functionality or features that would, in your opinion, add significant value to such as system?

11) Could you estimate the total cost (system + installation) at which such a system would become significantly less appealing than your original assessment? (I realize cheaper is always better, but at what point would cost prevent you from seriously considering purchasing such a system?)

Thank you very much for taking the time to read this extensive post, and my team and I would be indebted to any of you able and willing to respond.

If anyone believes that this post would be appropriate for posting in another sub-forum/topic where it may be viewed/responded to more frequently, please let me know.

For anyone whose made it this far down, thanks for reading!!
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Old 07 October 2016, 03:23   #2
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Hi,

Interesting post and good luck with the results (I'll send you my answers later today). However, I fear you might find that you are trying to solve a problem that doesn't really exist or is dealt with already by current methods - but good luck anyway

Steve
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Old 07 October 2016, 03:42   #3
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whats wrong with a good old fashioned foot pump
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Old 07 October 2016, 03:48   #4
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Any gas solution (and I talking gas here, not petrol!) would, additionally require some mechanism to vent in case of over-inflation. His may be caused by manual error or heat (for example from sunshine).
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Old 07 October 2016, 03:51   #5
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Hi,

Interesting post and good luck with the results (I'll send you my answers later today). However, I fear you might find that you are trying to solve a problem that doesn't really exist or is dealt with already by current methods - but good luck anyway

Steve
I agree with Steve, but it sounds like the perfect training for being a product design engineer!

Can I suggest there three questions you might also want people to provide answers for:

1. Location (roughly, state/country) - tube pressure management may be much more of an Issue in hot/cold places.

2. Do they have PRVs (over pressure release valves) or some other means to avoid pressure issues.

3. Do they store the boat afloat (and you could even check if the tubes are in the water at rest!) or trail it to the sea?
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Old 07 October 2016, 04:53   #6
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Further to my comment and following Poly's third point above, I keep my rib afloat in a marina 365 days a year. The tubes get softer in winter and nice and firm in summer. I give it a few puffs from a foot-pump about once every three years.
I regard my tube pressures as "not a problem" but I suppose we must not try to second guess the OP's intention in conducting this survey.
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Old 07 October 2016, 05:00   #7
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Questions for RIB Owners from an Engineering Student Team

I have black tubes c/w PRVs. I might have to give them a top up every now & then if there has been an extreme temperature change. 2-3 times a year at most. A 20 foot pump (supplied with boat) does the job. It's not something that I give a second thought to & I certainly wouldn't want to start adding additional plumbing, pumps, gas storage complications.
I'm out!

With all due respect to the OP, maybe the lack of interest from his locals was due to, well, a lack of interest.....

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Old 07 October 2016, 05:13   #8
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I will send you my answers later, but the short version is I agree with other members in that perhaps your trying to design something for a problem that doesn't really exist. The pressure inside the tubes in my experience only seems to change significantly if you have a leak or with temperate changes. I do a hands on check of tube pressure before a journey, I think ive only put air into the chambers this year to top up about once, autumn is now here and hence the pressures have gone down a tad but i dont use any guage etc and if i need to top up its a matter of a 5 minute job to get the pump out.
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Old 07 October 2016, 06:14   #9
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+1 all the above. I use an electric 12V pump with integrated gauge but mainly just check by feel. Good luck with your project.
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Old 07 October 2016, 08:41   #10
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pump
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