Carbon fiber is known among designers and manufacturers for its lightness, stiffness, and exceptional strength. It has become the "go-to" material for Formula One autos, bicycles, racing vessels such as those shown above, and the aeronautical industry. Boeing's 787 Dreamliner is substantially comprised of carbon fiber. Over the past decade, carbon fiber has become fashionable in a number of consumer products as well not only because of the light, stiff and strong attributes, but also because it is luxurious, sleek and long-lasting.
For us, the key point is the lightness of the material. At 2.3 ounces, it weighs slightly more than half of what our lightest wooden tray weighs. This difference can be very important for guests generally and party-goers in particular. If an event goes for two hours, and the average weight of the wine is 8 ounces and the hors d'oeuvres weigh an average 6 ounces, that difference represents a roughly 10% reduction in the weight the guest must carry.
The challenge is that carbon fiber can be anywhere from 10 to 20 times as expensive to make as other materials, and often requires a much higher level of specialized manual craftsmanship. We are specialists in woodcraft and in order to produce a carbon fiber Wine Tray of equivalent quality, we turned to Triton Products of Bristol, RI, an experienced top-flight specialist in carbon fiber.
We initially made these as a limited edition specialty item targeting a small group of carbon fiber fans in Rhode Island. But after attending some boat shows and getting quite a bit of interest we have decided to run these at a larger scale. We have been able to reduce the price accordingly.
This photo is called "Team New Zealand leading Oracle Racing at the first mark in the first race of the 2013 America's Cup. It is by Donan.raven and dated 9.7.13. It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. No change has been made to the photo.
Founded by two engineers with extensive knowledge and experience in the boating industry, the company specializes in design and manufacturing products made from composites. They have their own brand of sailboat bumpers. They can be reached at www.tritonfenderingsystems.com
Triton is our production partner for carbon fiber Wine Trays. They take products from design stage through manufacturing. In addition to producing their own brand of nautical products they perform contract manufacturing. Their contract clients include several major boat manufacturers including those who work on vessels that compete for the America's Cup.
Triton has exceptional expertise in custom composite enclosures, composite structural beam, composite boat parts and a wide range of injection molded-like plastic parts. Materials they work with include epoxies, poly/vinyl, urethane resin systems, fiberglass carbon, prepreg and other fabrics, foam and balsa, silicone, ABS, and urethane plastics & rubbers, aluminum, stainless , and plain steel. They use a variety of finishes in gelcoat and paint.
One of the chief innovations Triton brings to Sakonnet is the introduction of the carbon fiber "upcycling" process. Bristol-based yacht makers cut our trays out of the left over spaces on the of large carbon fiber parts cut our small Wine Tray parts in the spare spaces of their sheets of carbon fiber. These spare spaces would otherwise have to be disposed of. The cutting of Wine Trays by the boat builders saves them the cost of disposal, and eliminates the need for Sakonnet to have additional carbon fiber manufactured. It also guarantees Sakonnet of obtaining top quality carbon fiber.