February 7--Sail making at a Devon loft is being revolutionized with the introduction of new technology. Westaway Sails, based in Ivybridge in Devon, U.K., celebrates its 35th birthday this year and says making the most use of advances in technology and providing good customer service have been the key to its success.
The latest development in technology the loft has utilized is a computer laser cutter for sail cloth, which is revolutionizing sail production and accuracy.
The cutter has a vacuum bed of 20m x 3m, which holds the sail cloth in place while the computer works out the shape of the panels needed and decides the best layout of the panels on the fabric to make the flying shape of the sail.
John Pollard, head of Westaway Sails, said: "It reduces sail cloth wastage as it works out the best layout in order to utilize as much fabric as possible and improves efficiency allowing us to give an even better service and price to our customers.
"We do the whole process in house, from designing the sail to cutting the panels and making the finished sail. It's now a much quicker process as previously we had to do it all by hand, which was very labor intensive and therefore also had cost implications.
"Seams are held together using a glue steam technology or can still be stitched in the traditional way."