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IBEX Innovation Awards and Other Interesting New Products

Editor’s note:  IBEX is the International BoatBuilders’ Exhibition & Conference, the only trade show in the world dedicated exclusively to the education and purchasing needs of professional boat builders, designers, repairers, surveyors, and boatyard and marina managers.  Roger Marshall chaired the awards judging panel for the 18th exhibition, held October 6 to 8 at the Miami Beach Convention Center, and shared the results:

This year the IBEX innovation awards set new records for the number of awards given out, with eleven awards given in nine categories, plus an environmental award. As chair of the judging panel it is interesting to watch the process and to see how the judges come to their conclusions. In most cases, the panel’s votes are cast close to unanimously, but occasionally I get to cast the deciding vote. This year there were a number of hot and heavy discussions but when the dust settled, the voting was decisive.

In the “Boatbuilding Methods and Materials” category, the winner was the Smart Cat from M.V.P. Magnum Venus Plastech. This is a machine aimed at resin infusion, closed system molding companies. When resin is infused into a boat hull the first part of the resin may be infused half an hour before the very last part. That means that the resin that went in first may be setting up, before the last of the resin is infused. This machine allows the infuser (infusee?) to adjust the amount of catalyst being injected into the resin. By letting the entire hull set up at the same time, faster processing and faster cure times are achieved, which allows for better control of the end product and increased production. www.mvpind.com

In this category, the judges also gave an honorable mention to the Awlgrip Awlfair mixing machine. If you’ve ever seen an applicator mix Awlfair, you’ll see that they mix a red compound with a white compound to get a pink Awlfair compound. If the mixture is not mixed properly, it won’t set up correctly. This machine eliminates any guesswork. It mixes exactly the right amount of red and white compounds and does it faster than hand mixer to allow for stepped up production. www.awlgrip.com

In the “Boatyard Hardware and Software” category, the only entrant was the Book Builder software. This software allows a boat builder to enter details about their products to develop a multi-language manual for boats that are to be exported to EU countries. All the work can be done online for a subscription and manuals can be custom printed in several languages. www.boatpubs.com

In the “Electrical Systems” category, the Mastervolt Shunt took the honors. This device provides battery monitoring, fused protection, and a communication platform for the entire battery system. www.mastervolt.com

The “Furnishings and Finishes” category trophy was claimed by the Isotherm Frost-Free refrigeration system. Until now it was not possible to get a stylish 24 volt frost-free refrigerator that fits into common cut outs. www.indelwebastomarineusa.com.

In the “Hardware and Fittings” category, there were two winners, the Acrylico hard coating for acrylics and the adjustable windshield system from Ameritex Technologies. The Acrylico coating renders acrylic plastics almost impervious to scratches.

One of the judges cleaned the coated material with sandpaper, acetone, an ammonia based cleaner, and scouring powder and was unable to mark it up. Normally acrylics are ruined when any of the above compounds are used to clean them. www.acrylico.com

The co-winner was the Ameritx hinge that allows a windshield manufacturer to perfectly align the opening door in a windshield with very little work or effort. These doors often go out of alignment and this device cuts down on the time to fix it.

The “Inboard Engine” category was the toughest to find a winner. Not because the products weren’t up to it, but because there were two standout products. The Steyr Hybrid Drive System was declared the winner with an honorable mention given to the Caudwell Axis Drive System.

The Steyr Hybrid Drive has a generator/electric motor between the engine and the transmission. At low speeds the hybrid drive runs in electric mode and can drive a boat at speeds up to five knots. Above that speed the engine cuts in and the electric motor provides boost power. This is especially helpful if a boat is accelerating onto a plane. When the boat is in full engine mode, the electric motor becomes a generator to recharge the batteries and run the electrical load.  www.steyr-motors.com

The Caudwell Axis Drive System allows the entire engine to be mounted on the transom in as little as two hours—it is that compact. However, the boat’s transom needs to be made at a 45 degree angle and the engine mounts at a 45 degree angle. www.caudwellmarine.com

The “Mechanical Systems” category was another with co-winners, the Nautic Air Cleaner and the Willdo Thruster System. The Nautic Air Cleaner is aimed at the large yacht market where air quality inside the vessel can be degraded easily. The system filters and treats circulated air with an ultraviolet light to kill off any unwanted bacteria and pathogens. It can be retrofitted into any ducting and runs off the vessel’s own electrical system. www.shumans.com.

The Willdo thruster system uses a single pump to control any vessel’s sideways movement. Basically, it has four or more two-inch diameter nozzles at the bow and at the stern of the vessel. Water is sucked in through the intake on the bottom of the vessel, then blasted out through the nozzles to act like a bow or stern thruster. The vessel can literally be turned on its own axis with the Willdo system.

The “OEM Electronics” category ran away with the prize. It was the Wizard from AMT Revolution. If you ever have a problem connecting to the internet, using your VHF, singlesideband or your cell phone, this antenna (which measures about 5” x 5” x ½”) will amaze you. It can pick up most electrical signals from far longer ranges than a conventional antenna.

Finally, the judges gave the environmental award to the Ecomate Flotation Foam, made with a totally new blowing agent that uses no VOCs (volatile organic compounds) or Freon. It can be used for lifejackets, seat cushions and has Coast Guard approval for these uses. www.ecomatesystems.com

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