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Riviera’s boatbuilding pedigree enhanced with digital precision

Edition 1 - 2021, News, Riviera News

Riviera’s boatbuilding pedigree enhanced with digital precision


The manufacturing process for every Riviera luxury motor yacht begins with the digital cutting and kitting process in line with the latest design technology that lays the foundation for Riviera’s acclaimed boatbuilding capabilities.

Digital kitting involves the computer-based precision cutting and numbering of materials that create the structural composite of each motor yacht. They are presented in kit form to be hand-crafted by the specialist teams into various structural components including the hull and superstructure.

Digital kitting is made possible through computer-aided design (CAD) technology, enhancing the quality and efficiency of Riviera’s boatbuilding techniques.

Darren Cadman, Riviera’s Digital Kitting Manager, prepares to create tailored leather components using robotic cutting techniques

For Riviera, this requires the crafting of thousands of digital templates by the company’s in-house marine engineers to cater for 21 models in the current range. Riviera now has more than 8,000 digital templates and as each new model is introduced, a new series of templates is required.

The importance of digital kitting led Riviera to recently expand its CAD capabilities in this area, with the installation of additional automated cutters to cater for new materials used in today’s Riviera motor yachts.

A recent addition to the suite of CAD devices is the Prodim pen digitizer which drafts all components required for the motor yacht, including complex curved structures, to be recreated with pinpoint accuracy.


The superiority of this method means that every piece of thermoplastic injection moulding, fibreglass matting, vinyl and insulation material is cut to shape perfectly every time. 

Darren Cadman

The digital templates facilitate precision cutting of a wide variety of high-grade materials such as varied densities of thermoplastic injection moulding and the fibreglass matting required to form the hull, decks, bulkheads, flybridges and the robust structural girders that can handle the engines and drive systems. The templates allow the perfect replication of components in materials such as carpets, acrylics and fine timbers, including teak, walnut and cherry wood.    

This involves individually cutting multiple pieces for each component to ensure that each part is produced in accordance with the engineers’ specifications. The precision cutting is achieved by CAD technology and then packaged in systematic order in kit form before being deployed to Riviera’s master craftspeople across the manufacturing process.


Setting the standard

Darren Cadman, Riviera’s Digital Kitting Manager, oversees the operation which he says sets the standard for luxury boatbuilding.

“Digital kitting is a relatively new technology for the industry although we have been employing this method at Riviera for some time,” he says.

“The superiority of this method means that every piece of thermoplastic injection moulding, fibreglass matting, vinyl and insulation material is cut to shape perfectly every time. In terms of quality control, efficiency and optimising the yield from every piece of material we use, that’s invaluable. The environmental benefits are also significant as our waste is minimal.”

Digital veneer cutting ensures that each component is perfectly crafted for the fine interior cabinetry of Riviera motor yachts

“The optimum performance of our motor yachts relies on precision engineering in the design of our motor yachts,” says Mr Cadman.   

In the larger Riviera motor yachts, the precise thickness of the hull sets the standard for motor yachts to handle any blue-water condition. Digital kitting ensures the uncompromised integrity of Riviera motor yacht hulls is consistently replicated with each individual yacht.


Foundation of strength in the hull

There is a combined total of 100 square metres of structural foam core required for the hull of Riviera’s flagship model, the 72 Sports Motor Yacht, for example. The Italian-made foam is combined with 1000 linear metres of fibreglass, also precision cut and packaged to enhance production efficiency. These kits are then laid up by the composites team to form the hull.

“The density of the material varies from one section of the yacht’s mouldings to the next and, of course, we use a very high-density foam for hull construction,” says Mr Cadman.

“It’s essential to ensure each component of the yacht is precisely the weight intended by the engineering schematics. Weight efficient materials are also used for different areas, and that enables us to utilise some 35 different types of infusion and core materials.”


In all, the 72 SMY is comprised of many thousands of individual parts including the structural foam, vinyl and rubber matting, the leather around windows, bedheads and door panels, and the feature elements for timber cabinetry and furniture.

“Every element required for specialised manufacturing is cut to shape precisely each time and, should we change modifications for specific models at any time, our production team is able to apply those changes efficiently across the process.”


Robotic finishing varnisher

The mirror finishes of the cabinetry and woodwork of Riviera motor yachts are optimised by the combination of robotics and hand crafting. A robotic finishing varnisher has been upgraded with the latest software and is used for flat surfaces such as doors, walls and cabinet faces to provide a superior finish. Up to eight coats of varnish are applied robotically, then cured in a humidified drying room.

Mr Cadman says while production is enhanced by technology, Riviera motor yachts are essentially crafted individually by hand.

“The superior grade timbers such as walnut, oak, teak and cherry are all hand-selected for each motor yacht.


“The robotic varnisher supplements the time-honoured work of our skilled team that hand crafts other high-calibre finishes such as all the intricate mouldings and the highly detailed tables and helm stations.

“We’re always finding ways of improving and it’s always exciting with every new model, because we get to make a fresh start with a completely new design.”

Over 40 years, Riviera has produced more than 5650 motor yachts with today’s Rivieras enjoying the most advanced design, engineering, smooth and efficient performance, and luxurious interiors.

Riviera’s 16.8-hectare Gold Coast boatbuilding facility is the largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere

“Our investment in new technology and people over many years has Rivieras of today being the best ever created,” says Riviera owner Rodney Longhurst.

“This is complemented by ongoing improvements to Riviera’s Gold Coast manufacturing facility and in the vital training of our staff in the latest boatbuilding techniques, supported by our award-winning apprenticeship program.  

“We’re immensely proud of the superb motor yachts we are creating. Through a passion for continuous refinement, we look forward to the ongoing evolution of Riviera motor yachts into the future.”


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