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F.A.Q - Frequently Asked Questions
Q) Why should I consider a WaterCraft Inflatable?

A) The WaterCraft Inflatable is one of the softest, driest and superb handling boats on the water unmatched by comparable size vessels. From the rock solid stability at rest unaffected by weight movement to the shock absorbing effect of the tubes in heavy seas, there's nothing that compares with a WaterCraft.

Q) How safe are they and how tough are the tubes?

A) The WaterCraft Inflatable is one of the safest boats in the ocean; we are currently being approved according to the European CE approval standard as well as becoming ISO compliant. The buoyancy filled fiberglass hull will not sink; even with all tubes deflated the boat can still be operated. The tubes of the WaterCraft Inflatable have 3 to 5 chambers depending on the size of the vessel and are made from a material called Valmex. This abrasive material is also resistant to UV rays and most chemicals including fuel & oil. Valmex has long been and still is the industry standard for commercial boats throughout the world.

Q) Does a Watercraft Inflatable require special maintenance?

A) No, you maintain a WaterCraft Inflatable as you would any quality boat, rinsed with fresh water after use using a mild detergent to remove any stubborn marks. With proper care your WaterCraft Inflatable will last longer than any boat on the market. The tubes are also fitted with pressure release valves (on request), so even on those 40 degree plus days you don't have to worry about the tubes over expanding & causing possible damage. 

Q) Glue vs. Welding - What the experts are saying?

A) Welding plastic coated fabrics is a preferred method for assembly of Inflatables. Contrary to some literature that is out there, plastic coated fabrics are not weaker nor do they leak more than other coated fabrics. In many cases they are superior in air retention... All coated fabrics are plastic. Some are simply Thermo Plastic, and some are Thermo Set Plastics. It is the fabric inside that adds the strength to the coated fabric, and even this is plastic. Polyester (the base fabric that we use) is a Thermo set plastic that does not stretch very much, and Nylon, which is a choice of most neoprene-coated fabrics, is a thermo plastic that stretches more. Thermo set plastic coated fabrics are Hypalon and Neoprene. Thermo plastic coated fabrics are weld-able because the coatings can be melted and fused together. This means that heat of friction can also melt the coatings, and the consumer needs to be aware of this. However, in a water environment, heat of friction is not an issue, because water is a lubricant for Thermo Plastic coated fabrics, and they actually wear better in the water because of this.

The word plastic refers to a property that materials have. It means permanent deformation under stress. That is what plastics do. Thermo plastics deform more than Thermo set plastics under stress. That does not have much to do with how they perform as a coating. It has a lot to do with how they perform as a fabric under the coating. Nylon (thermo plastic) stretches more, and has a little higher tensile strength. Polyester (thermo set plastic) stretches less, and therefore needs less air pressure behind it to keep the boat stiff. Tensile strength is also determined by how strong the fabric base is. Therefore, a polyester fabric may actually have a stronger tensile strength than a nylon base fabric.

Coating technology has come a long way in the last 10 years. Most of the thermo plastics have better adhesion to the base fabric than do thermo set plastic coatings. New processes have been implemented that allow for a solution coating that completely saturates and coats the base fabric before a plastic coating is melted into place. These types of fabrics provide great air retention and coating adhesion. As a result there are fewer problems associated with air loss and delaminating of the coating from the base fabric.

Q) What are the Benefits of Welded Pontoons?

A) There are two processes that are used today for welding thermoplastic-coated materials, Radio Frequency Welding, and Hot Air Welding. Both of these processes generate heat to fuse the materials together. Both of these processes use pressure to force the materials to fuse. Therefore it is heat and pressure that make thermoplastic welding possible. Plastics do not melt at the same temperatures. Therefore it is difficult to fuse dissimilar materials together.

Radio frequency welding uses a press that applies pressure to a large surface area. The press has a table that the material is placed on. Dies are used to direct the welding process. When the press comes together, Microwaves are passed through the small area between the die and the table where the weld takes place. These microwaves heat the material and the combination of heat and pressure cause the weld to take the shape of the die. RF welding is fast. It works best on unsupported fabrics (vinyl or urethane that has no fabric inside) that have only one type of plastic in them. This is because the presence of the fabric causes the radio waves to perform differently. For the most part manufacturers can deal with this. Keep in mind that plastics are not good conductors of electricity, and this property makes it difficult to use this technology on some thermo plastics. For instance it is virtually impossible to RF weld Polyethylene. This is because Polyethylene absolutely will not conduct electricity, and is invisible to radio frequency.

Hot air welding uses hot air to heat the coating on the fabric where it is to be bonded together. A Nozzle is situated between two rollers that pull the material through the machine. As the material is pulled through the machine, hot air is applied to the surfaces to be fused together. Pressure from the rollers and heat form the hot air cause the plastic to fuse as the plastic cools. With the material moving through a machine like this, different shapes can be made. Patterns can then be put together to form the shape of an inflatable boat. This is also a fast process. This process is not subject to the intricacies of radio frequency. However the operator must know a whole different set of rules to make it work

Q) What Colours and Options do WaterCraft offer ?

A) Watercraft offers various colours and material strength to choose from.....

Q) How do I care for my WaterCraft Inflatable ?

A) Watercraft advises the following ....

Material Specifications (PDF Format)
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