Following on from the previous posts on the America’s Cup theme, and how we should be taking advantage, I appeared on TV3′s The Nation this morning, sitting alongside Tim Smyth from Core Builders Composites. The show will eventually be found on The Nation’s on-demand page.
We had a good chat before, during and after the show, and he had read the post below (not the update) and agreed with the thesis that the greater race is how to step up the industry. His own company uses digital manufacturing techniques – automating the creation of the moulds and the manufacturing of composites. Composites are what we know as carbon fibre, kevlar in things like bikes, boats and buildings, and the material can be lighter, stronger and cheaper for many applications. Moreover there is now accelerated local knowledge in aerodynamics that we can use.
Tim’s take on the automatic control foiling system is that is was there the whole time, and that the dramatic improvements can be put down to the normal (hyper fast) continuous improvement processes with a large contributing fact to the tuning of the wing sail. That does make sense to me as recall that the commentators said that the Oracle USA wing sail was using a less advanced technique than Team NZ’s – at least near the beginning of the regatta.
We also talked about the frustration with finding money to invest in business and buy capital plant – their business cost just $7 million to set up here – versus the ease of finding money for beach houses and electricity company IPOs. We both agree, for instance, that the electricity industry is nearing the point where it will be disrupted. More on that point at some stage.
Overall let’s maintain focus on the prize – the $40 billion in exports