Case Study: FRP Products Aid in the Rehabilitation of Endangered Species

0557-manateeManatees are known as the gentle giants of Florida’s waterways. Unfortunately, the population of these peaceful creatures is diminishing because of the serious and often fatal injuries they incur from boat propellers.

Walt Disney’s Epcot Center is responding to the dwindling numbers of manatees by creating a manatee hospital to help rehabilitate the animals. A FRP lifting and lowering platform made from Strongwell products is a key component to the manatees’ rehabilitation.

Family Lifeguard, the manufacturer of the platform, worked with Strongwell’s engineering team to design the platform using EXTREN® beams, DURAGRID® T-1800 grating and FIBREBOLT® nuts and studs in the lifting apparatus.

The platform is located on the side of a saltwater pool and allows the staff to raise the animals in and out of the water for treatment. The platform does not jeopardize the health of the manatee in the process.

Product: FRP Lifting and Lowering Platform
Process: Pultrusion, Fiberglass Fabrication

  • Fiberglass reinforced polyester structural shapes.
  • Fiberglass reinforced polyester grating
  • FIBREBOLT® Nuts and Studs
Sizes: EXTREN® 525 Shapes Used:

  • 6" x 6" x 3/8" square tube
  • 3" x 3" x 1/4" angle
  • 12' x 6' x 1/2' I-Beam
  • FIBREBOLT® 3/4" x 3/8" x 1/2"
  • DURAGRID® T-1800 1" grating
For: Disney World

Disney chose Strongwell materials for the product because of the loading criteria involved. Manatees can grow up to 13 feet long and weigh as much as 3,500 pounds. The immense size of these creatures required materials strong enough to withstand loads of 100 pounds per square foot. The materials also had to be non-metallic and corrosion resistant. Strongwell’s products were the perfect fit.

“Disney went with the fiberglass design, because they wanted no metal in the platform,” said Family Lifeguard’s Ed Magi. “They were concerned with the expansion of materials and how metals would react over time in water and the effect those changes would have on the manatees.”

Ease in installation and lightweight properties were added benefits as Family Lifeguard was able to install the platform in only five days.

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