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Custom JetTool® water jet improves fit, finish of industry-leading boats

FLIPPIN, AR (January 16, 2009) In its first 41 years, innovation and technological advancements have been a staple of Ranger Boats' legendary reputation. In an increasingly competitive industry, Ranger has set the bar once again, this time through an efficient and resource-conscious manufacturing process made possible with the addition of a custom JetTool® water jet.

Much in the same way that the RoadArmor® system revolutionized the RangerTrail division of the boat company and pultruded fiberglass changed the way transoms were built and components reinforced, the new robotic water jet will fulfill one of the factory's least-popular jobs: cutting holes and lids into the fiberglass, interior deck components of the more than 40 different Ranger models.

"In the past, these interior deck compartments were trimmed by some of the hardest-working men and women in the factory - each dressed head-to-toe in protective gear - working with a variety of jigs and making the cuts with routers, saws and drills," said Ranger Boats President Randy Hopper. "It was a difficult job that generated a lot of fiberglass dust. With the new robotic water jet everyone benefits: fellow employees get a cleaner work environment and the cost savings from improved efficiency help offset the rising cost of raw materials and the initial equipment investment."

The process begins once the boats are wheeled into the robotic water jet's booth. Following an introductory calibration process where the machine uses lasers to measure the precise placement of the cutouts, the robotic water jet forces water at 60,000 psi through a near-microscopic nozzle opening, resulting in clean, uniform cuts. The jet trims the interior deck on each Ranger model, including all hatch and storage openings, precisely locating and drilling for deck hardware. Confined within its 675 square-foot booth housed inside the 364,000 square-foot production facility, this advancement in boat building results in a cleaner work environment for employees and an improved product for the consumer.

The difference in results between robotic water jet trimming and conventional boat-building methods are vast. For the consumer, the edges of compartments underneath the deck that house batteries, breakers and pumps are smoother and offer a level of quality not seen with conventional methods. When removing mounting plates on the front deck to install electronics, the cutouts are uniform and do not impede wiring. For the manufacturer, water jet cutting means improved production times - as well as a significant savings in energy, maintenance and tool-making costs.

"There will be substantial annual savings each year in perishable tooling," said Lance Newton, Ranger Boats' Engineering Project Manager. "As our process becomes leaner, not only with the robotic trimming system but with other processes as well, it results in decreased manufacturing costs for Ranger, which can ultimately result in a more stable cost to our dealers and customers from year to year."

About Ranger Boats
Ranger Boats, headquartered in Flippin, Ark., is the nation's largest manufacturer of premium fiberglass fishing boats, including a series of bass, multi-species, fish 'n play and saltwater boats. Founded in 1968 by Forrest L. Wood, Ranger Boats continues its commitment to building the highest quality, strongest performing boats on the water.

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