The Sydney-based builder McConaghy Boats has won this year’s Australian International Design Award™ thanks to its unique ability to bond composite material to withstand incredible pressures in the deepest part of the sea. Attended by Hollywood writer/director as well as adventurer James Cameron, the Gala ceremony was held in Sydney.
In March this year Cameron completed a record-breaking 11km dive to the bottom of the Marina Trench in the Australian designed and made Deepsea Challenger submersible. The Marina trench had never before been explored by a single individual.
McConaghy was responsible for 95% of the composite fabrication of the vessel.
James Cameron commended the firm for its significant involvement: “It’s safe to say we could not have done this without the McConaghy team”, said Cameron.
McConaghy used unique techniques and overcame obstacles that no other company was able to achieve to bond the structure of the Deepsea Challenger so that it could withstand pressures in excess of 16,500psi.
Working with Isofloat®, a high density structural foam formulated and produced by project design leader Ron Allum, McConaghy developed and implemented the method that would allow the Isofloat® to be bonded together to perform two primary functions; the main structure of the vessel and the buoyancy material which returned the submersible safely to the surface.
Over its 45-year history McConaghy has built a world leading reputation as innovators in composites. In 2011Ron Allum of Acheron Projects approached McConaghy to assist with the construction of a single occupant submersible that would dive 10,986 m to the deepest part of the ocean, the Marina Trench.
The design award recognises the collaboration of Acheron Projects, Design + Industry, Finite Elements and McConaghy working closely together with James Cameron and Ron Allum to overcome numerous complex design and engineering challenges.
The judges: “This is an incredible example of design, engineering and manufacturing created under considerable constraints. This is a once in a life time project truly inspirational and a total game changer.”
James Cameron accepted the award on behalf of the design group.
“It’s an incredible honour” said Cameron “the fabrication, construction, testing through to the sea trials took seven months, which is really, really incredible, a tribute to the capability of this Sydney based team.
“They came up with incredibly innovative solutions to the problems…. they sought new techniques, things that had never been done before” continued Cameron. “I owe myself, my safety in their hands and I trusted them, when they bolted the hatch closed and I descended, I knew the vehicle was right, it was well designed and well executed…I could not be prouder of this team, they made history” said Cameron.
McConaghy are proud of their involvement in this historic project and commend the collaborative approach by James Cameron, Ron Allum Acheron Projects, Finite Elements, Design + industry. This award confirms once again McConaghy is a world leader in Composite technology.
2012 Australian International Design Award of the Year:
Design + Industry
According to Brandon Gien, Managing Director of Good Design Australia and Chair of the Australian International Design Award, the Deepsea Challenger was the standout winner for the judges because of the attention to detail and the way in which the collaborative design team was able to overcome so many challenges and design constraints. The judges compared the level of innovation in the submersible to a manned rocket going into space and all this was done right here in Australia – an amazing achievement for Australian designers and engineers.