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Making mechanics work in all weathers!

Published 19th June, 2015 by Neil Nixon

Making mechanics work in all weathers!

On a factory floor nothing must go wrong. The same is true for the Team SCA boat in the Volvo Ocean Race. That's why global hygiene brand Tork, together with Team SCA, is making sure the best industrial wiping and cleaning products are used on board. In the penultimate month of the race, Team SCA and Tork share insights into how to handle maintenance and critical repairs in the extreme conditions of the world's toughest sailing competition.

Team SCA has just completed the most difficult leg of the Volvo Ocean Race from Auckland, New Zealand, to Itajai, Brazil. The crew had to sail across the southern ocean fighting winds up to 40 knots and waves as high as the Great Wall of China during the trip.

The engine is the most important part of the boat since it controls the vessel's hydraulic system which is key for the overall race performance. “If something goes wrong in a factory you lose time and money, whereas on a boat you lose time and miles,” says Team SCA crew member Liz Wardley. “We need to use the best products available to be prepared for any kind of mechanical issue.”

As in any manufacturing industry environment, the technical performance of the boat needs to be in perfect condition every minute of every day. The boat has more than 200 parts - some of which are smaller than a nail head - and a specific oil or grease needs to be used on each. The question is not if, but rather when something will break down. And in the fifth leg - when Team SCA were so far out at sea that the closest human beings were astronauts at the International Space Station - handling maintenance and critical repairs effectively was imperative to the outcome of the race.

“The technical challenges of the race are very much like those of the manufacturing industry,” said SCA product manager, Rachel Thompson. “As a global supplier to heavy industries we have applied our expertise to ensure the best products are used for the toughest jobs on board.”

Two Tork products that are usually used in industry facilities where performance and absorption capabilities are essential are now used to support cleaning, maintenance and repairs in the mechanic and hydraulic areas on board:

• Tork Surface Cleaning Wet Wipes are used to clean surfaces and oil spills in the mechanical areas of the boat. The high-performing wipes are tough on stains but easy on the hands. They are developed for convenient and efficient cleaning when no water is available - imperative for the team since fresh water is a scarce resource on board and strictly limited for drinking.
• Tork Industrial Cleaning Cloths are soft and flexible cloths that are easy to use in tight spaces and ideal for cleaning oil and grease in the engine room. The cloths feature exelCLEAN technology which provides outstanding absorption capabilities. The cloths have replaced the cotton rags that were previously used since they are lightweight, more efficient and require less storage space. They also work well with most solvents and are approved for food contact. The team uses the cloths on board for the toughest of mechanical maintenance and cleaning jobs and for cleaning up in the kitchen. Multifunctional products are key since they save both storage space and weight.

Tork has been working in close collaboration with Team SCA to advise members on which products to use for specific tasks. Tork has also developed bespoke packaging solutions for the team to meet the extreme environments of the race. The vacuum and waterproof packaging ensures that products stay dry and weight is reduced, which directly impacts on the speed of the boat.

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