As a former world-class offshore racing driver, Ted Mannerfelt is used to high speeds. Today, he is still doing fast work – as a boat designer. He recently created a new range of boats for the company Delta Powerboats. The new models were in production within less than six months and later won a prestigious design award in Sweden.
Mannerfelt has been working as a boat designer for more than a decade, and he is used to finding straightforward solutions, whether he is working on luxury yachts of the future or racing boats for one of the hottest teams. He is demanding when it comes to equipment and software. For him, Autodesk® Alias and Autodesk® Showcase set the standard for efficiency in modelling and visualisation.
Mannerfelt has not always been a boat designer. In addition to having enjoyed a successful career as an offshore racing driver, he has extensive experience in the automotive industry in the United Kingdom. Design studies at the world-famous Royal College of Art in London led to positions at Jaguar and Lotus. However, boats have always been his first love, and Mannerfelt later decided to focus on boat design.
During his time in the automotive industry, he became intimately acquainted with methods and practices created for demanding design processes, along with the tool of choice for such processes – Autodesk Alias. As a boat designer, he has not been afraid to try new things. He designs all types of vessels, including luxury yachts, racing boats, small motorboats, and boats that are inexpensive to run.
The Mannerfelt Design Team office could not be more different from the glamorous surroundings at the design departments of Lotus and Jaguar. It is on industrial premises in Viggbyholm, north of Stockholm. The staff are always on the lookout for new technologies and more efficient processes.
The founder of the company, Ted’s father Ocke Mannerfelt, was one of the first designers to use computers. He was experimenting with 3D design in the ’80s.
– ‘For me, the latest project is always the most fun. Right now, we are really pleased to be involved in the development of guidelines for energy-efficient vessels in collaboration with the Swedish Environmental Research Institute (IVL). The aim is to have a range of boats, for different uses, and to achieve optimal performance with lower emissions,’ explains Mannerfelt.
Sustainability is at the heart of all the designs. A few years ago, Mannerfelt received an urgent and challenging request. He was asked to create a new brand of small boats, Drive. His brief was to create two new models that would have a robust aluminium body, produce low noise levels, and be suitable for commercial use. The models were due to be unveiled in just seven months.
A meeting place in cyberspace
Ted Mannerfelt did not panic. However, he did have to find a highly efficient way of working. The customer, product designer, and manufacturer were based in different parts of Finland, so a decision was made to conduct meetings virtually.
– ‘We discussed designs and visualisations based on 3D models. Alias and Showcase software allowed us to visualise and present different models in different ways and in different environments, in great detail and clearly,’ he explains.
Twice as big, twice as fast,
twice as fast
Fast-forward a few years, and it was time for a new speed record for Delta Powerboats. The team had to design boats that were twice as big and had just three months to do this. The new boats were indeed in production in around three months.
– ‘This Delta project will be difficult to beat: it was the fastest ever. We applied the data from the Alias model directly to design, milling, and production. All this was made possible by cloud services and virtual meetings. We didn’t have a single physical meeting during the entire design process,’ says Mannerfelt.
He is particularly happy with the powerful concept design features of Alias. They form the basis for the entire model.
– ‘Creation of a draft model – a digital prototype – that is already very close to the final design is very fast. The step from an idea to the first model that can be presented by means of the Showcase application takes about 10 days. After that, the process is all about production,’ says Mannerfelt.
This Delta project will be difficult to beat: it was the fastest ever. We applied the data from the Alias model directly to design, milling, and production.