PVC Boat Fabric - How To Choose A Good Discount Inflatable Boat
PVC boats and polyurethane boats have the advantage that they can be welded together using radio frequency welding or hot air welding machines. The welding machines join the fabric pieces permanently using heat and pressure to melt and fuse the plastic coating of the material.
Welding creates a very strong bond with pvc fabric, which is also very air tight. Companies that use plastic welding to assemble their boats usually try to weld all of the air holding parts of their boats.
The welding process is a one step process, unlike gluing (sometimes called cold welding), which is a three step process.
When gluing plastic coated boat fabrics there are three steps involved:
- the boat fabric must be carefully prepared
- the glue must be applied
- the pieces must be assembled and bonded together
The quality of the seam is dependent on a number of factors:
- how hard the material is to prepare
- how carefully the material is prepared
- how carefully the glue is applied
- environmental factors like humidity effect the glue bond
You can see why quality control at the factory is very important for creating a durable pvc boat.
The increased number of steps with glued assembly means there is a greater chance of human error, as well as increased labor costs. This is why so many boats are now assembled in countries with lower labor costs like China.
So this leaves us with the constant question, which is better - welded or glued PVC fabric boats?
There are inflatable boat stores in tropical areas that refuse to sell boats with a glued PVC fabric tube construction due to the fact that they have seen so many failures in these boats.
Jack's Plastic Welding has tons of information on their website about welding of plastic coated fabrics, and they talk about how the glued portions of their boats sometimes create warranty claims, whereas the welded portions almost never fail.
Takacat comments on their website that welded seams can have cracking problems and welded seams are hard to repair, so for this reason they choose to glue their product.
As you can see there is no agreement on the welded vs glued debate. I side with the "welded is better" side of the debate.
How would I respond to Takacat's claim that welded pvc fabric seams have cracking and brittleness issues? Look at the evidence.... they are a new company (2007) and have chosen to manufacture their tubes in China. In China, hand gluing of PVC boats is the most common method of assembly, not because it is better, but perhaps because labor is cheaper than fancy machines that weld the plastic coated fabrics. Cost is a factor for every manufacturer.
Jack's Plastic Welding has a 10 year warranty on their welded pvc fabric seams, and a 5 year warranty on their glued boat fabric seams. This is a significant point! Don't you think this is a strong indicator of which is better? I do! These guys are a top notch company, and they know their stuff!
In the end, price determines peoples purchasing decision more often than durability.
I know what I would choose.
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