One thing we have learned in our many decades working in the rubber industry is to expect the unexpected. You never know who the next customer is going to be. We’ve had the pleasure of working on many weird and wonderful projects over a wide spectrum of industries. Being part of this, has further improved our experience and expertise in advising customers on what rubber best suits their applications.
We want our customers to succeed and if we can help them with their problems, we will jump at the opportunity to do so. Sometimes, we receive enquiries from organisations and institutions that don’t strike us as a place that needs manufactured rubber, and this is one of those instances.
In one of our most technical “Case in Point’s” to date, we are called into action to help an educational institution who are experiencing issues conducting simulations with their towing tank. This university has the honour and bragging rights for having the largest towing tank in the United Kingdom, 138 metres in length to be exact. Researchers and commercial participants from marine, aerospace and transportation backgrounds come from far and wide for a chance to use this application.
The towing tank is a laboratory used to test scale models of boats, ships and static objects. The models are pushed through the tank by a moving carriage that runs at a preset speed. The model boat or object’s telemetry is captured by a data recording system which gives the researchers insight as to how a 1:1 scale version would fare in the grand blue. A shipbuilders dream!
Their problem occurred when the towing tank was paired with the wavemaker machine. The wavemaker does exactly as it says on the tin and sends ripples and waves through the towing machine however, due to a gap in the tank, cross waves were being formed and disrupted their testing results.
Inside the towing tank, there are side beaches designed to dampen the waves as they rush through the tank ensuring that the best results can be recorded. The gap between the side beach panel and the face of the tank was big enough for the water to build up and then send a cross wave back at the model.
They couldn’t test the models, prototypes and static objects properly and needed to fill the gap stop these cross waves from disrupting the simulations. To rectify this, the head technician contacted us to see if we could design and manufacture a rubber seal that could fill that area and enable the side beeches to dampen the incoming waves.