The Manufacturing ProcessRhino Marine has fabrication plants in both Johannesburg and Cape Town.
Rhino boats are designed using an computer assisted design software called Autodesk Inventor. This program provides Rhino designers with a tool which can produce accurately scaled three dimensional models of the various designs. Once a design is completed the model is checked by a consulting Naval Architect to ensure water-worthiness. This is done using specialised software which conducts several calculations and tests upon the model. Such tests ensure that the boats, once fabricated, will be able to perform the predetermined design specifications. Provided all the tests conclude satisfactorily the three dimensional model will then be converted into a number of 2D AutoCAD part and fabrication drawings. These drawings will comprise of all the parts and assemblies which are required to assemble the final product.
Cutting & Welding
The 2D AutoCAD drawings from the design phase are programmed into an on site CNC cutting machine. The CNC cutting machine is used to cut HDPE parts, required to fabricate the boats, from various thicknesses of sheet HDPE. Furthermore, when pontoon based craft – such as the HD and EHD range – are being fabricated, specialised HDPE pontoon pipes are ordered for the fabrication.
Specialised jigs have been designed and produced in order to speed up the manufacturing process. The jigs are designed to hold either the pontoon pipes or bulkhead framework in place while external underside parts such as the hulls, transom, and bulwarks are extrusion welded together. Once the underside of the superstructure is completed the partially completed boat is flipped over and the rest of the HDPE superstructure is extrusion welded together to create the Rhino boat.
There are three main types of HDPE welding. These include Tack welding, Butt welding and Extrusion welding. In the fabrication process of Rhino boats both Tack and Extrusion welding are most commonly used. Tack welding is used predominantly to hold a part in place before it is extrusion welded together. Welds are prepared using the roughened V-mitre technique. This form of preparation and welding creates an extremely strong bond between HDPE parts.
The Rhino team has developed very stringent Quality Control procedures. These involve various tests and checks throughout the fabrication process. During fabrication, Rhino personnel are required to follow a set of Quality Control documents which are subsequently signed off by a responsible supervisor or manager. Only once this responsible person has completed the necessary checks and signed off a specific milestone, can the fabrication process continue. The Quality Control documents include checks on such milestones as: part dimensions, weld preparations and procedures, lifting point load tests, and pressure tests on sealed compartments in the hull.
Rhino boats are predominantly fabricated from HDPE. As a result any damage to the boats can be easily repaired if HDPE welding equipment is available. Rhino Marine Products (Pty) Ltd offers welding equipment as well as personnel training to clients. This allows clients to carry out repairs as well as additions to Rhino boats on site with relative ease. In cases where clients do not have access to HDPE welding equipment, Rhino Marine Products (Pty) Ltd offers a service whereby trained personnel travel to the site (often offshore) with the necessary equipment in order to carry out the required repairs and/or additions. However, due to the nature of the Rhino HDPE hulls very little maintenance is required. This has been seen as many past Rhino Marine Products (Pty) Ltd clients have boats in the age range of 15 years or older which have required little to no maintenance and are still working successfully. Maintenance of motors and electronics is prescribed as pertaining to the specific models of the motors supplied with the boat.