31/ Materials and Manufacture!
Updated: May 3
This blog will cover my thought regarding the material choices for See Buoy... Throughout the research process I have been aware that the buoy will have a lot of constraints regarding the choice of material the product uses.
I made an enquiry with Gale Force Marine, one of the UK's top distributors of marine equipment with a large proportion of their sales in commercial fishing equipment. My plan prior's to COVID-19 and the lockdown had been to visit one of their distribution sites in Scotland and gain a greater understanding for the material properties of marker buoys. To navigate around this obstacle, I had a phone call with UK Commercial Fishing sales manager Dougie Bowman. This phone call was really helpful in allowing me to understand the properties behind the materials of the buoys and also quantity of sales across the UK.
From this stage forward, I looked into the manufacturer of the A-Series Polyform Buoy (the most common marker buoy used within the commercial fishing industry). Some other brands such as Norfloat were also included in my research.
The website was actually very detailed and allowed you to see detailed properties of specific models of buoys. This allowed me to compare material choices of buoys across various shapes and products to best establish what I would use in See Buoy.
This wasn't a specific aim I had chosen to address in the delivery of the project but I feel that as the product is very solution based and has potential for the market it is important to show my consideration for this.
Below is some text I drafted for the products website. I have taken inspiration from the language used within Gale Force Marines marketing to retain professionalism for the product:
WHAT IS SEE BUOY MADE FROM?
Unlike existing products on the market, using Premium or Virgin Polyethylene, See Buoy uses Recycled Polyethene. Polyethylene is one of the most common plastic used today, due to its light weight, strength and versatility. It has the ability to with-stand harsh marine climates and weathering and is resilient to UV exposure. However, See Buoy expands its efforts to protect our environment for future generations through limiting production on plastics brought into the world and recycling used buoys and various other Polyethylene products.
Many pigments are used within polyethylene products, including heavy metals such as Lead, Cadmium and Chromium, toxic to humans and our environment. Despite no legal regulations restricting the use of heavy metal pigments in material manufacture, See Buoy chooses to only recycle products free from heavy metal and toxic chemicals that could pose further harm to our environment.
We encourage that See Buoy is recycled at the end of its service life. As a service to our customers, specific buoys (that are free from heavy metals) can be returned to See Buoy for safe and responsible recycling. By doing so customers can trade in their pre-existing buoys and receive money off their purchase of See Buoy!
HOW IS SEE BUOY MADE?
Due to the complexity of See Buoys internal form, the casing of the buoy has been injection moulded. The benefits of this process is that is provides extremely high accuracy for See Buoys arrangement of internal components. It also allows for various material combinations, this ensures the rope hold can be securely moulded onto the base of See Buoy. Above all else, Injection Moulding ensures that the mould can be repeated and re-used thousands of times from one negative cast mould. This reduces our manufacturing costs and allows See Buoy to be affordable for the industry.
See Buoys Graphics, including the logo and QR code discovery feature are permanently moulded and integrated into the polymer during this manufacture process. This ensures that the graphics maintain performance, withstand extreme environments and don’t peel off or fade from UV rays.