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Old 27 August 2014, 20:14   #11
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Dunno. I didn't see a whole lot against PU in the above posts, but you can read it however you want to.

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Old 27 August 2014, 22:55   #12
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I'd venture to guess that most of the negatives with PU is it being mixed up with PVC.

PU seems to be the primary fabric in the states. I'm pretty sure some of that is due to work place laws and the nasty solvents that are required for gluing. It seemed reasonable when I was told that when I bought my first RIB 15 years ago and went looking specifically for hypalon. The two PU tube manufacturers in the states I am familiar with and have talked to heat weld them.

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Old 28 August 2014, 11:18   #13
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Make sure that the Company quoting for the re-tube are reputable. Also check the grade/weight/make of the fabric they are using. What warranty are they passing to you on the tube and the seams ? There is certainly nothing wrong with Polyurethane fabric ! The majority of the quotes that you will get will be in Hypalon as they would not have the machinery to thermo-weld the seams. Valiant offered a written 10 year PU Fabric AND seam warranty on their RIBs.
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Old 28 August 2014, 11:39   #14
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All the advice is really appreciated, thanks its such a hard choice. at the end of the day all there is in it is the material type I'm pretty much sure I'm leaning towards the factory job at the moment, either way I've got to get the trailer ready for A 600 mile trip :-s
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Old 28 August 2014, 11:45   #15
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Jason; not sure you can really say that PU is the standard fabric in the US. PVC and Hypalon boats still outnumber PU boats by a longshot.

As far as tube makers, possibly you're right, as Wing is the only tube manufacturer I am aware of in the US (commercially, at least; I'd guess there are guys that do one-off jobs in hypalon around somewhere.) You apparently know of one other manufacturer. I don't. Still a sample of 2 is pretty small to make that kind of a generalization regarding a worldwide market.

I don't think there's anything inherently wrong with welding; I'd hazard a guess that most mass produced PVC boats are welded (at least the tubes are.) The big advantage to welding is that it can be automated - machines are probably faster and don't get paid as much as a skilled tube manufacturing tech gluing up hypalon, which helps bring production costs down. The tubes they end up with seem to last as long as hand-glued tubes, so I would have to say they'd be adequate, especially for recreational use.

The only real question mark I had was longevity, and that is proving itself as time goes by. PU seems to last as well as hypalon, as far as I can tell.

Bottom line: I wouldn't shy away from a PU tubed boat simply because of the fabric or manufacturing method.

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Old 28 August 2014, 13:55   #16
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I was speaking about domestic USA production. I had 7m boats on the brain when I was thinking about this and the two I have talked to use PU. Not sure if that is the standard on the Willards these days. Are there any other domestically produced RIBS?

I know the rafting world uses hypalon but I know very little about them and where their products are produced. I just get my supplies from them.

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Old 28 August 2014, 14:54   #17
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Once I found the right glue for my PU tubes, I'm actually really liking them. Do they weather as good as Hypalon...nah, the color fades a bit (look at a 20 year old Avon with a little elbow grease and 303 compared to a set of unpainted Wing's). But, Wing uses some thick/tough material!
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Old 28 August 2014, 21:01   #18
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If the costs / logistics etc are comparable it's a no-brainer - Hypalon every time.
Whatever the technical facts might be, hypalon is widely regarded as a 'superior' material to PU/PVC and this will be reflected in the resale value of the boat.
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Old 29 August 2014, 00:41   #19
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Jon; That's where we differ. I don't think PU has been around long enough to make that kind of blanket statement based on anything other than "hey, it's worked for this long, and we've always done it this way; it must be the best."

Time will tell.

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Old 29 August 2014, 03:13   #20
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No, it hasn't but the general buyer sees hypalon as a superior material and that makes it more desirable and therefore valuable. Whether it actually is any better is irrelevant - opinion trumps fact everytime - that's why companies have marketing departments.
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