Toyota Motor Corporation and Yanmar Co., Ltd. have signed a collaboration agreement to work in partnership on technical development, production, and mutual parts use in the nautical industry. A jointly designed concept craft was on display at the Japan International Boat Show 2016 last week.
Toyota manufactures and sells aluminum-hulled crafts equipped with automotive engines, and it is successfully entering the marine business with products featuring excellent seaworthiness and quiet operation.
Yanmar is specialized in industrial diesel engines, but also manufactures marine engines, as well as fiberglass-reinforced plastic (FRP) fishing boats and industrial vessels.
Aluminum hulls offer high rigidity, but on the other hand they require advanced machining technology to manufacture, and can only be produced in limited quantities. For the last two years, Toyota has thus been developing next generation hulls that allow for production in larger quantities by using a combination of FRP, carbon, and aluminum to reach or overpass the rigidity of aluminum hulls.
Toyota and Yanmar have been working on the joint development of production technologies for next generation hulls, focusing on using Yanmar’s advanced FRP molding technology. As a result, Toyota is fast approaching its goal of realizing large-scale production of marine craft that use the Toyota Hybrid Hull, a lightweight structure that enables production of complex, curved shapes while offering rigidity equal to aluminum hulls.
Toyota has already developed a new craft, Toyota-28 Concept, featuring the Toyota Hybrid Hull structure for the first time. In testing, the new craft has demonstrated seaworthiness and handling capabilities surpassing existing models. Toyota and Yanmar will work toward joint commercialization of a model based on this concept ahead of an expected launch in October.
The Toyota Hybrid Hull
The Toyota Hybrid Hull offers remarkable improvements in materials, composition, and shape.
By combining FRP (the hull’s base material) with aluminum and carbon, the Toyota Hybrid Hull achieves approximately seven times the rigidity of a standard FRP hull, while weighing roughly 10 percent less than a similarly-sized craft with an aluminum hull.
The Toyota Hybrid Hull design also enables the molding of complicated curved shapes, leading to improved maneuverability and making large-scale production possible.
Using a manufacturing method called vacuum infusion molding, resin is placed in molds with an air vacuum and the three materials are integrally molded. A multi-layer structure packed with foam materials in the middle is adopted on the bottom of crafts, where the greatest amount of stress is applied.
By removing the limitations of aluminum welding, the Toyota Hybrid Hull structure enables the production of boat hulls with more innovative and complex designs. This, according to advanced CFD simulations, allows the new Toyota-28 Concept to achieve low resistance and high stability.