Shipyards: Ten years of Monte Carlo Yachts
A fitting celebration for this yard’s tenth with a surprising track record. Management has finally decided to tell nearly every detail of that know-how which enabled them to authoritatively impose themselves on an ailing crisis hit international market.
Faced with such a resounding success story many seem to be asking themselves even if a little irrationally what’s behind it all. However as far as Monte Carlo Yachts is concerned this is a very pertinent and well founded question: firstly there’s a perfect timing and sync. involved which plays a major role over the ten year span – all of it highlighted with great success – and the period which has been associated with the worst financial crisis and ensuing recession in our times. Secondly this Italian shipyard based in Monfalcone has always managed to keep much of their business secret, even by not allowing cameras and smart- phones inside the premises. However having reached its tenth anniversary in very good shape management decided to reveal the mystery by giving the media and therefore to a wide audience detailed descriptions of the company’s “modus operandi”. Most probably several fantasy buffs will be disappointed that once unveiled, there are no magic wands nor an Aladin lamp which had to do with any of it. Monte Carlo Yachts “secret” possesses the same healthy substance of the secrets revealed by all those persons, that excel or have excelled in something, and take to summarizing at least most of the time the key to their success, with the same plain words: method, dedication, determination, sacrifice, passion. In other words everything which can be read between the lines of the detailed account offered by this yard, and that we at Superyacht have checked out, confronted and appreciated in the course of a long detailed tour of the premises and plants.
Nuvolari Lenard studio drew up the project design work for all MCY’S collection as well as developing the interior décor of the yard’s large office space where architects, engineers and technicians work side by side in a wide open space with marketing and sales department heads. Daily
work therefore which is not concentrated as much on a single model as it is on a single unit because the goal is to guarantee, that a shipyard as this one, which builds GRP yachts is endowed with a truly unique feature: the possibility to personalize the product to whatever degree, by complying to the owner’s requests. This sort of flexibility implies and calls for very knowledgeable craftsmanship which has the capacity to integrate in a harmonious way inside of technically advanced state of the art production systems.
LEAN PRODUCTION METHODOLOGY
Up until a few years ago, heavy industry used mass production systems which began with Henry Ford in the automotive sector. Later with the consolidation of Japanese firms, Toyota switched to a more rational system, centred on the identification of waste in terms of materials and savings in time to complete. Credit for the more advanced upgrading of this methodology should be given to James Womack and to Daniel Jones for their so called lean production system. We’re talking about methods that unbeknownst to the vast yachting industry which is still tied to systems that are, putting it mildly a little old. Well as MCS is part of those firms which has applied the principles of lean production, combining them with those prac-
tised by the aerospace industry and is also among the very few if not the only one in the yachting sector to be able to build a full custom over 32 metre yacht with reference to flagship MCY 105 – is no coincidence - in just four and a half months while guaranteeing maximum quality and finishes. This is easy enough to say but not to carry out. Let’s see why. Every MCY yacht is made up of three separate modules: hull, interior model and deck with superstructure. They are built at the same time to finishing stage, then they’ll be joined together in the next assembly stage. Each component is meticulously engineered and vacuum bagged which ensures even distribution of the epoxies deployed which translates into the correct amounts being impregnated into ultra light composites evenly everywhere – they’re above all with carbon fibre and Kevlar bases – and aluminium. Prior to being placed onto the appropriate assembly line each component undergoes a special treatment in the paint section of this futuristic looking ensemble which further improves the components’ physical and mechanical properties.
The shell, making up the whole of the hull proper is fully compliant to RINA’S severest norms and still in its mould it already possesses its distinguishing features: plates in sandwich, longitudinal strengtheners and naturally a watertight crash box in the bow and more. Most of the wiring and plumbing plants, tanks and engine room elements are installed into place before the deck is assembled to the hull’s topsides. Likewise, bulkheads are coated with special noise dampening or sound proofing material and the engines are installed onto the appropriate steel support brackets in the allotted spaces in the engine room which will dissipate the heat generated there via pre installed fans. When all of this has been completed the hull is readied to receive the interior module.
THE INTERIOR MODULE
This one represents one of the most original sectors in the Monfalcone based shipyard. The interior module once completed will constitute about 70 to 80% of the plants and furniture and décor of each single unit. Everything is very clean, aseptic nearly. Tens of technicians work at the same time at their work station resembling some kind of a skeleton without getting into each others’ ways, laying piping, installing bulkheads, electrical wiring, soldering, injecting isolating products and much more. The whole
structure of each cabin is conceived on a preset grill system base in modular form so that it can be properly installed with a tolerance factor of just one millimetre. The furniture is rigorously in wood and so is the joinery, frames and lining carried out in the shipyard and complementary decorative elements are in materials of the highest possible quality. Among some of the many advantages offered by this module, I wish to underscore several really important ones. First of all there’s the possibility of working both inside and outside of the module irrespectively and this translates into properly installing corrugates of all types which traditionally ‘ hang’ loosely in their respective compartments and will eventually be cause of unwanted noise vibration and so on. Additionally this important structure constitutes a kind of template inside of which you can carry out practically any sort of configuration and or personalisation of the layout without having to draw up an entire new project. This system also means it is possible to work freely, and comfortably in numbers which would be unthinkable inside a hull. Finally it is equally important to underscore the fact that this module is destined to become structural and once installed into place it will confer extra sensational stiffness and solidity to the hull.
DECK & SUPERSTRUCTURE
The third module of an MCY yacht is represented by the deck and superstructure plus fly bridge and T- Top. There’s Kevlar, carbon fibre added to stratified vacuum bagged epoxies for added solidity, since structural reliability goes hand in hand with weight saving elements and better dis-
tribution, to guarantee enhanced stability when underway and additional comfort. Teak lining therefore is added to the deck proper, with pertinent stainless gear. The cabins sport double glazed window like ports. In this case as well, preassembly which is deployed also for the electrical wiring, electronics, and domotics saves loads of time and most of all translates into added precision and high quality finishes. On this theme it is worth noting that the deck’s underside which is destined to be entirely hidden from sight after having been coated with isolating material is nevertheless perfectly and highly finished.
The final stage of assembly is carried out when each of the other modules are completed. The work involved at this stage is by comparison relatively easy. The yard defines it as the plug and play stage. However in reality the most important part of this delicate operation is carried out by a special chariot- like which picks up the interior model brings it after some metres directly in vertical line to the appropriate hull. It is then lowered along special guiding rails which allow the two parts to join with millimetric precision and to be fastened to form a monolithic block thanks to special highly adhesive material used in the aircraft industry. On top of this and in much the same way the third module made up of the deck and superstructure is installed into place.
PAINTING & TESTING
Prior to painting a team of technicians carry out in depth quality control tests after which the fully assembled yacht is ready to be transported into the paint hangar where it will be ‘ clothed’ according to the owner’s choice taken from an almost infinite palette of diverse colours. The next to final stage consists in testing the yacht on land following an exhaustive listing and in the water from the smallest LED, plants installed, draw locks, closets, wardrobes, hi- fi, engines and much more. For Montecarlo Yachts the next stage – delivery to the client – constitutes the beginning of a new path based on the direct and almost constant relationship between the yard and the owner who has finally become the real end user of his dream boat. This relationship can only be consolidated on the basis of reciprocal esteem and professional integrity. Sometimes this leads to friendship as these past ten years have demonstrated.