Ionomer foam floats are the material of choice for scientific and original equipment manufacturers committed to quality and reliability. The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, National Data Buoy Center has purchased ionomer foam hulls for its coastal and bay oceanographic buoys since 1989, including a completely re-engineered foam-based design for the popular three meter discus buoy (above center). CDR Gerald Timpe, the designer of the Value Engineered Three-Meter Discus has written, "The advantages of using ionomer foam are that it reduces buoy weight and improves the ability of the buoy to withstand damage ... Maintenance costs are reduced by eliminating the need to periodically color-coat the hull and air-test the voids .... The ionomer foam has held up well in these applications with little degradation or water absorption."

Further reasons were cited in a paper delivered at the MTS/IEEE Oceans '88 Conference: "The advantages of using [ionomer] foam are its light weight, durability, excellent resistance to environmental agents and impact, and low cost. Compared with metal or plastic shell buoys, [ionomer] foam buoys do not leak, sink or shatter and have low rates of water absorption."

Another paper by LT Daniel R. May, "New Technologies and Developments in NDBC Buoy and Mooring Designs", presented at that conference noted that Softlite buoys are "...lightweight, extremely durable, permanently colored throughout, non water absorbent, and require no protective skin."

After sea trial testing by the U.S. Navy, Gilman Softlite marine flotation has been approved and specified for nuclear weapon floats (NAVSEA WS 32999).

Softlite buoys are also valued by scientific institutions such as Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Battelle Ocean Sciences, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, etc. for long term, open ocean deployments from the Arctic to the Equator. Instrumentation companies needing complete design flexibility and no-fail reliability regularly turn to Gilman Corporation Softlite ionomer foam. Because there are no molds required, small quantities of any size desired can be sculpted to order.

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Gilman Corporation, Box 68, Gilman CT 06336 Telephone: 800.622.3626 Fax: 860.886.5402

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