Kvichak Marine: Engineering the Need for Speed

Kvichak-1Seattle is known for the National Football League Champion Seahawks, Grunge, Starbucks Coffee, and lots of guys who throw fish around, but it should also be recognized for the home of Kvichak Marine.

Kvichak (named after a river in Alaska) has been building boats for years, but these are not your father’s pleasure boat. Kvichak engineers super-fast boats, including a fleet for the Coast Guard, which can stop on a dime from full throttle, and boats that can self-upright after capsizing. I went to visit the Kvichak team to see how they are using SOLIDWORKS products to build the highest quality, customized vessels on the water.

For Kvichak, every customer has unique needs that come into play while designing a craft. Ian Fisher, Engineering CAD Administrator, states, “every boat is a custom boat”, as there are always differences in every boat assembled onsite.  The impressive thing is that the Kvichak team keeps track of everything in each custom boat…and I mean “EVERYTHING”.  Every single part in these boats is cataloged in SOLIDWORKS, and Enterprise PDM.  Leo Schowengerdt, Assistant Chief Engineer, stated that in order to deliver any boat to the Coast Guard, or other government agency, they need to keep track of every single part.

Kvichak-2One of the impressive manufacturing tips that Kvichak used to save time was including mark lines on the boats actual aluminum parts, which are all previously marked within SOLIDWORKS.  This makes it easy to match up the correct part in the correct location, when building the ship.  For more on how they do this, and how Kvichak moved from 2D to 3D design tools, check out this video (you may need to register):

Click here to Watch the video…

Before leaving the warehouse, I needed to ask the team how they were able to previously pull off ship design in 2D, and they stated, “We’ll, it wasn’t easy.”  I imagine is also required a lot of Starbucks coffee and resulted in a fair amount of grunge-like angst.

Cliff Medling

Cliff Medling is a Senior Marketing Manager at SolidWorks and the host for the Born to Design Podcast.