In this blog we take a look at a new 12m x 3.5m concrete dry-berth pontoon through it’s stages of production.
Stage 1: Foam void and HDPE liner wrapped together
This stage is where the foam void (floatation) is wrapped in a protective High Density Polyethylene liner (HDPE), the job of the liner is to only protect the void from being eaten by fish, crabs and other marine life. The void has a minimal absorption rate so if the liner was to ever be damaged the pontoon physically could not sink.
Stage 2: Aluminium Waler and rebar enforcement added
This part of the process is where the outer frame (waler) is added and tied together by adding the rebar and welding it into place to stop any movement during the pouring phase. In the picture you will notice hook shaped bars welded to the inner side of the waler and these are used to tie the two pieces together, also you will notice the notches (little black holders) these hold the rebar at the required height so that concrete is spread evenly across the whole area along with allowing the rebar to be positioned in the dead centre of the concrete deck for maximum strength. In the foreground you will see pvc pipe these are the location of the services i.e. power and water outlet, these pipes are run in a special channel shaped into the void and allow for all power and water location to be supplied without seeing exposed wires or pipes on your completed pontoon.
Stage 3: Stage 1 pour, Trenches and perimeter beams
In this section Aqua has a unique difference to many other companies by doing 2 stage pouring of concrete, in the first stage the perimeter beams and trenches are poured and left for a 2-3 days to cure. These are arguably one of the most important parts of the manufacturing process as the perimeter beams are what gives the pontoon it’s stiffness and strength particularly for dry-berth pontoons where a vessel will be berthed on top of the pontoon.
Stage 4: Curing followed by carpeting
In one of the final stages of the pontoon production is the curing time that each pontoon is left to allow the concrete to set, this time depends a lot on the pontoon size but generally is anywhere from 3-7+ days.
Stage 5: Lifting points and transportation
In this stage once the concrete has set and the carpet laid the pontoon is then prepared for transport to the nearest boat ramp to the delivery location. Due to the size and weight of pontoons many boat ramps are simply not strong enough to carry the weight of the pontoon and crane which therefore limits which boat ramps can be used. Once in the water the pontoon gets a small outboard motor connected to it with a special bracket and then steamed to its final destination.
Stage 6: Accessories Installed and final Completion
In this final stage many accessories and extras like fender, roller systems and lights are installed onsite to minimize any damage during the transport stage.