North Sails’ 3DL manufacturing facility, located in Minden, Nevada, will be featured on The Science Channel’s TV program, How It’s Made Friday, October 30 at 9:00 p.m. EDT. The four minute, 40 second segment on how the world’s largest sailmaker manufactures and finishes three-dimensionally laminated (better known as 3DL) sails, will take viewers inside North’s state-of-the-art 110,000 square foot facility that employs over 100 people and produces sails for thousands of boats worldwide each year.
“North Sails is proud to be a part of the How It’s Made series because it will showcase our technology and innovation to a very broad audience outside the sailing industry,” said Gary Weisman, president of North Sails. “And for the sailors out there who are interested in the 3DL manufacturing process, they will get to see how a 3DL sail is made from start to finish, which is fascinating and complex,” he said.
The Science Channel’s film crew spent several days at North’s 3DL facility last March filming the segment, which is Episode 17 of How It’s Made 6. The program will show how North 3DL sails start with a sail designer, who uses North’s proprietary sail design software, called North Design Suite, followed by the three dimensional thermo-molding process. Viewers will also see sails being finished by stitching on external reinforcements, edge tapes, applying numbers and draft stripes and installing corner and luff edge hardware. “We have used a scientific approach to building 3DL sails from day one,” said Gary Weisman, who has been president of North Sails for 13 years. “Over the course of the past five years, we have continued expanding this facility by adding and upgrading overhead gantries which are suspended above nine articulated molds where the sails are built. We have also upgraded robotic gantry software and added a 10,000 square foot super yacht finishing floor,” continued Weisman. “Every time I go to Minden, I am still amazed and impressed by our 3DL facility and I hope through the How It’s Made program, sailors and non-sailors will have a better understanding of how advanced the sailmaking process has become,” he concluded.
What is 3DL? Unlike any other sail on earth, every structural yarn in every 3DL sail is thermo-molded on a full-sized mold in the precise curved space it will occupy when sailing. Other sailmakers apply yarn in flat segments that are assembled to approximate three dimensional curvature. Segmented sails change shape throughout the dynamic wind range and cannot distribute loads as uniformly or efficiently as 3DL. Structure in a 3DL sail is continuous, loads are distributed evenly, and optimum shape is locked-in and stable.
For more information on North 3DL sails, visit the North Sails Web site where there is a 7-page section on how 3DL sails are made. For more information on the Science Channel’s How It’s Made, click here.