Autometrix is all about making our customers more efficient and more profitable, and when they are using our technology to do good in the world, it puts an even bigger smile on our faces. Jack’s Plastic Welding is one of those customers.

Innovative Prototypes that Benefit the Environment

Jack’s, a customer of Autometrix since 2004, has been creating inflatable products — inflatable boats, dry bags, and waterproof self-inflating mattresses – in New Mexico since 1982. But that’s not all they do. The company is known for its innovation and prototype development, as well as for products that serve outdoor adventurers and protect the natural world. They have built components for amusement rides, scuba divers, sail boat racing, water exercise equipment, climbing gear, medical gear, emergency spill containments for the oil and gas industry, and collars made for the Orion and Commercial Crew NASA Program. Jack’s were the first to produce a product called the Gamov bag, which is a portable hyperbaric chamber that saves mountain climbers from altitude sickness. Lately, the company has been helping scientists who are working to save the coral reefs.

Coral Reefs Need Our Help

Jacks Coral Reef Cut with Autometrix
Jack’s Coral Reef Tank Jack’s Coral Reef Tank

Coral reefs are dying at an alarming rate because of pollution, ocean acidification, and ocean warming. Without coral reefs, our ports are vulnerable to storms, and the sea life that depends on these reefs cannot survive. Coral reefs grow in one of two ways. Either a piece breaks off and regenerates as a new part of the reef, or coral gametes (sperm and egg) get together and create brand new coral. The latter method is superior because it allows for genetic diversity and coral strains that have a better chance of surviving the new ocean conditions. That’s where Jack’s comes in.

Floating Tanks to Grow Stronger Coral Larvae

Scientists from Secore, a leading conservation organization for the restoration and protection of coral reefs, asked Jack’s Plastic Welding to create floating tanks where they can grow coral larvae until it is strong enough to survive on its own and form a new reef. The scientists use gametes from coral that has already demonstrated the ability to thrive, giving it the best chance for survival. The tanks must preserve the correct water quality and chemical balance, protect the coral larvae from predators and sediment, and keep rain water out so that the salt level of the water in the tank is not diluted.

jacks coral reef tank with canopy cut with AUtometrix
Jack’s Coral Reef Tank with Canopy Jack’s Coral Reef Tank with Canopy

PatternSmith Helps with Design Challenges

Company founder and designer Jack Kloepfer is grateful for the Autometrix software that allowed him to come up with a winning prototype. “A tank has interesting angles – it has to sit in water while the current is floating around it, which is a big issue,” he said. “PatternSmith smooths out the irregular curves, and we can put index marks on the pattern in order to weld more accurately. It would be incredibly difficult to do this without PatternSmith. It would be impossible to get these patterns rapidly developed.”

Saving the Coral Reefs, One Tank at a Time

Last year Jack’s Plastic produced eight tanks that successfully supported the growth of hardy new coral. This year they will build 15 more tanks. Kloepfer sees potential for astronomic growth for this technology, and rebuilding a lot more coral reefs. Read here about Kloepfer’s reasons  and passion for saving the coral reef.

Do you have a tricky inflatable design problem? Check out Autometrix PatternSmith software or give us a call to find out how we can help.