Imtra has supplied windshield wiper systems for countless boat models for more than four decades. Suffice it to say, this company understands the nuances of a good wiper installation. In addition to working with boat owners on refit projects, IMTRA has served as a technical advisor and supplier to many leading North American boat builders. IMTRA has a handle on state-of-the art wiper systems used in both the production and custom yacht marketplace.
“The refit market for wipers is made up of both small-boat owners who see replacing the wipers as a weekend project,” says Nate Cabral, a wiper specialist at IMTRA “and more involved projects that might require a professional because you have to remove headliners or cut through bulkheads to install the systems.”
Wiper refits happen for many reasons. Some boaters want to upgrade older, on-off wiper systems to those with intermittent speeds. Others want independent control of the different wipers because that is how their boats operate. “On any given trip a boater could constantly get spray over the starboard bow, so instead of turning on all 3 wipers, they can operate just one,” says Cabral. “Inadequate wiper systems are one of the complaints we hear about from owners. When someone is buying a boat, the last thing they think about is the wiper system. Undersized systems and the desire to improve functionality are common reasons for doing a refit.”
IMTRA works with the Exalto, Roca and Decca brands to offer the widest possible range of wipers. Complete systems include blades, arms, motors, controls, washing systems and spare parts. “We can refit almost any vessel,” says Cabral. “We’ve worked with so many boat types over the years that we understand the best possible options for different boats and owners. We’ve always considered having the right wiper system a critical piece of a safe boating experience. It can be the difference between having a successful trip in squalls or big seas, or feeling like you’re blind out there.” Wipers, he adds, never seem like an indispensable part of the boat until you need them.
The company has a simple, one-page Wiper Questionnaire that requests information about a boat’s wiper style, motor voltage and window type. This information helps IMTRA understand which systems will work best for each application. “They can e-mail ([email protected]) us the completed form and we’ll respond with a detailed specification that includes the recommended motor selection, arm and blade length and other details for a washing system,” says Cabral.
The good news for the refit market is that wiper technology is constantly advancing. Wiper systems are becoming even more sophisticated. “A number of U.S. builders are now using very large single pieces of glass for windshields, with few or even no seams,” Cabral says. “Visibility has become the main focus for these windshields.” IMTRA works directly with boat builders and wiper manufacturers to create systems that will work for these expansive windshields. “Many of the new designs also bury the wipers below the glass like in a car,” says Cabral. “That not only adds a new level of technical complexity, but the yacht builders also want the wipers to sweep in synchronization like a car.”
IMTRA worked closely with a Florida yacht builder on a new 65-foot custom yacht to create an electronic connection for the wiping system that replaces the conventional mechanical connections between the wiper motors. “The system was flawless when we were done,” says Cabral, adding that this sort of technology can be transferred across its other installations.
“We’re also doing cool sweep patterns for smaller production builders to allow for better window coverage,” says Cabral. “The field is advancing very quickly. It is good news for refits that this new technology is filtering down as it becomes commonplace on new boats. There really has never been a better time for wiper systems in terms the sheer range of applications for refits.”
For more information, go to imtra.com