ASI goes International Feb 1, 2013
Atlantic Shrink Wrapping Inc. (ASI) goes International! 2012 ended with ASI in talks with the Yacht Solutions Company located in Phuket, Thailand to travel overseas for the purpose of shrink wrap installation training. In early January 2013, those plans were put into motion.
The project was for ASI to train the crew from Yacht Solutions to erect and shrink wrap scaffolding over a 125 ft. catamaran sailing yacht named the Douce France in a Bangkok, Thailand shipyard. The yacht was brought to Bangkok, Thailand to have extensive paint work and mechanical repairs performed. Yacht Solutions was the prime contractor for this operation. One problem that Yacht Solutions faced was being able to keep the yacht clean and free from the dust and dirt of a working ship yard. They also needed to create a controlled environment that could be air conditioned to facilitate the large paint job. The cost of buying a premade tent to cover a large sailing yacht that would still have two massive masts sticking up was overwhelming. Shrink wrap was the only way to create the perfect environment for the project.
On January 18th ASI headed out from Washington, DC on a 23.5 hour flight time trip to Thailand. The international flight was tough, but we were even able to transport some of the shrink wrap tools needed to do the job on the airplane. We were met at the Bangkok International Airport by Yacht Solution’s Director, Simon Twist. Simon had prearranged accommodations at a local hotel close to the ship yard approximately 25 miles south of the center of Bangkok. After such a long trip we all needed a good night sleep.
On day one ASI foreman, Dustin Hoover and Simon discussed how the scaffolding was being erected and made plans to adjust the installation methods. Simon introduced us to his foreman Toom, who we found to be a very valuable member of the team. Many things in Thailand were different than what ASI was used to seeing on shrink wrapping projects in the USA. Simon and Dustin evaluated the job site and determined what would be the best way to start the shrink wrapping installation. By the end of day one, the first piece of plastic was installed along one side of the structure.
End of day one
On day two, the Thailand crews were busy continuing the scaffolding over the top of the yacht. Simultaneously Simon, Toom, and the ASI crew were busy installing pieces along the sides of the structure. Each piece of material had to be installed in such a way that the plastic would overlap and also be arranged to accept the next connecting piece as it was installed.
End of day two
The Thailand workers in the shipyard were incredibly hard workers, but had never seen shrink wrapping before. The biggest problem was the language barrier. Toom was our translator and our go to guy when something needed to be done. He was great at relaying our needs to the guys and he kept things moving. Simon worked very well with us and learned very fast. Simon is the yacht management professional at bringing everyone together and managing the entire process start to finish. He is now proficient at both managing a shrink wrap project as well as doing the actual work.
Day three started with the installation of two additional side pieces of shrink wrap and two top pieces. Things were much more difficult and time consuming once the work had to be performed at higher levels. A crane was fitted with a walk landing and a basket to access the needed heights. The crane driver was very experienced and we were able to communicate directly with him using international hand signals for crane operation. Even thou things were different in Thailand, safety was always first on everyone’s minds as we moved to the next stages of the project. We felt very safe in the hands of the crane operator and the ground crew.
The winds began blowing on day three which made using the crane more dangerous. We needed to stage workers on the scaffolding to hold the shrink wrap until it was secured. The dirt in the ship yard was blown around by the wind and complicated the installation. It stuck to the shrink wrap and needed to be wiped off before welding the plastic together. All of these little things make every project different and difficult in their own ways. The team from Yacht Solutions and the crew from ASI met each and every challenge head on and kept moving forward to the goal of completing this project on time; this was imperative to allow the paint crews to stay on schedule.
End of day three
By day four, everybody was getting the hang of the shrink wrapping process. Communications were starting to get better as well. The Thailand workers were able to see how the process was working and began to think ahead. International words and hand signals were again becoming very useful. By the end of day four, most of the roof had shrink wrap installed.
The Thailand winds were growing more intense and preventing the crews from actually shrinking the plastic. Each piece was installed and secured while waiting for the winds to subside. The yacht still had its two large masts in place, along with all of their rigging. These upright obstacles pose major challenges. The crews worked meticulously to carefully cut the plastic in just the right way to get around the masts and cables supporting the masts, (each cut was then sealed back together and reinforced).
Day five was ASI’s final day on the project. There were still two pieces left to install on the top and the back side. The winds let down just enough to allow us to install all the plastic and heat it. The final step of the project was to put a skirt on the bottom of the structure to meet the ground. The shrink wrapped structure was then fitted with intake and exhaust fans and air conditioning.
End of day five
The completed Shrink wrapped structure measured over 25,000 Sq. Ft. of material. It was over 150 Ft. long, 60 Ft. wide and 30 Ft tall.
The shrink wrap structure proved that anything is possible with a qualified crew and professional installation techniques. It has now been proven in Thailand that any size ship or yacht can be protected in its own private building and major repairs completed when organized and managed by the right companies.
It was ASI’s honor to be selected from literally hundreds of shrink wrapping companies around the world to work with Yacht Solutions on this project. We look forward to working with Yacht Solutions in the future, and look forward expanding our international capabilities.
Please feel free to contact Dustin about this project or for the contact information of Yacht Solutions.