Gian Piero Repetti talks to us about comfort on board, achieved first and foremost by reducing vibrations and noise. This is exactly what Vulkan Italia does with its products and its custom designs
by Niccolò Volpati – photo by Andrea Muscatello
Prevention is better than cure. As well as being a useful piece of health advice, this also applies to every field too. Yachting included. Vulkan Italia – founded in 1987 in Novi Ligure, initially as a small warehouse with just two employees before also going on to become an established name in the worldwide leisure boating sector – is certainly well aware of this. What are the diseases Doctor Vulkan deals with? Vibrations and noise. These are very common diseases, perhaps even epidemic but not incurable. A yacht’s engine room is the main source of vibrations and noise. These are the viruses that do not bode well for on-board comfort.
Is it not enough to soundproof the engine room with insulating panels? I ask Gian Piero Repetti, Managing Director of Vulkan Italia if is it not enough to soundproof the engine room with insulating panels. «No, it’s not enough. There are really two types of noise: one transmitted through the air, which is easily abated with soundproofing panels, and one transmitted through solid structural materials and generated by vibrations from rotating on-board machinery. This is the most invasive form of noise and to counter it you have to interrupt the connections between the sound source and the living spaces. We come into play at this point, intervening with elastic joints and supports to attenuate the vibrations transmitted from the machinery to the hull».
Vulkan does much more. The vibro-acoustic design of each recreational boat is unique and complex. It is a real puzzle of components, with solutions specifically selected and customized to ensure the comfort of boat owners.
Comfort is one of the first items on the “wish list” of what they want for sailing and living on their boats. So the same applies to the boat yards, who have to make their boats as desirable as possible, more like home!
The ideal is to intervene while establishing the specifications for a boat. If you work together with the boat yard, surveyors, and in collaboration with vibro-acoustic consultants during the design stage when materials, structures, and machinery are selected, then it is possible to achieve the best possible comfort levels.
Nowadays on-board comfort is even recognized by certifying bodies like the RINA, who precisely define what they call the “Comfort Class”. A high qualification from a certifying body increases the value of a yacht. «There is more awareness of this aspect and our work is divided between intervention during the design stage, making diagnoses, and refits», explains a company engineer, Mr. Repetti.
«We offer the added value of a company expert in vibration and noise, and part of a group present around the world, so that customers and boat owners can get the best result at the lowest cost while avoiding the stress of those who, not having thought in advance, have to hastily ‘take measures’ further down the line».
Trying to resolve problems that already exist is not easy, and while it is always possible to identify the cause of vibrations and noise, it is not necessarily the case that there will be a practicable solution at a reasonable cost. Customizing solutions, from sailing boats to large motorized craft, makes it possible to guarantee results for new constructions and refits.
«We deal with problems analytically, arriving at a solution validated in laboratory tests and in the field, which concludes with the certification of the product and its performance. We increasingly work with modular systems that enable customized solutions using standard components».
The role of Vulkan Italia in the Group is to develop applications in leisure boats, applying skills in assembly engineering and supported by the consolidated technology of a company that has operated in the power transmission field for more than 130 years, always with an eye to the future, and one that considers innovation and growth as primary objectives.
Only practical skills and experience in component design, including ad hoc parts, makes it possible to intervene at the optimum moment – prevention rather than treatment – to satisfy the now widespread culture of on-board comfort. And when you can lie on the sundeck of your yacht and the only “noise” you hear is the clink of cocktail glasses, and the only “vibrations” you feel are the gentle rocking of the sea, then Dr. Vulkan can consider himself fully satisfied.
Vulkan Italia was founded in 1987 and forms part of the Vulkan group that operates all over the world, with twenty direct branches and a number of other representatives. The group has 1,200 employees, with about thirty of these in Italy. Assembly and design work is carried out in Novi Ligure and the research and development work for the yachting sector is concentrated here.
(Vulkan Italia, better shaking than shaked – Barchemagazine.com – November 2019)