Riviera expands automation to support master craftspeople

Riviera, Australia’s largest luxury motor yacht builder, is currently expanding the digital capabilities of its Gold Coast manufacturing facility through the extension of in-house computer-aided design (CAD) technology and the enhancement of robotic varnishing equipment.

The very latest CAD technology is being applied to new equipment employed in the digital cutting and kitting process, while the robotic varnisher will complement the fine hand-crafting techniques that deliver the mirror finishes of the cabinetry and woodwork so highly praised on Riviera motor yachts.

Digital cutting and kitting are important preliminary steps in building world-class motor yachts at Riviera. It requires a specialist team to precision cut, number and package the materials required to create the structural composite for each motor yacht.

These components are deployed in kit form to Riviera’s master craftspeople across the manufacturing process.

The CAD technology creates digital templates to facilitate the precision cutting of a wide range of high-grade materials, including multiple densities of thermoplastic injection moulding and the fibreglass matting required to form the hull, decks, bulkheads and flybridges. The templates and the nesting of these to suit individual material sizes allow for the perfect replication of components in materials such as carpets, acrylics and fine timbers, including teak, walnut and cherry wood with minimal waste.

Elevating efficiency and sustainability

Riviera now has more than 8,000 digital templates that have been crafted by its marine engineers to cater for 22 models in the current range. As each new model is introduced, a new series of templates is required to be designed.

Darren Cadman, Riviera’s Digital Kitting Manager, oversees the operation which he says represents world’s best practice for the luxury boatbuilding industry.

“The expansion of our digital kitting and cutting capabilities elevates our efficiency in this area,” Mr Cadman said. “It also enhances sustainability as digital cutting allows us to maximise the resources we already use and minimise any waste.”

Riviera’s robotic varnisher has been optimised with the latest software and is coating surfaces such as doors, bulkheads and cabinet faces to provide a superior finish. Up to eight coats of varnish are applied robotically with hand sanding between coats, then cured in a humidified drying room.

Robotic varnishing is employed by Riviera to complement the existing hand-crafting of cabinetry and woodwork installations for the company’s luxury motor yachts, including the intricate mouldings and the highly detailed furnishings and helm stations.

Reputation for quality

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

“Our investment in new technology, skills training and advanced procedures over many years has the Riviera yachts of today being the best ever created,” says Riviera owner Rodney Longhurst.

“This investment, alongside our ongoing expansion to Riviera’s Gold Coast manufacturing facility and in the continual training of our staff in the latest techniques and technology, is supported by our award-winning apprenticeship program.

“We’re immensely proud of the superb motor yachts we are creating today.”


Riviera’s reinforced fibreglass cutting machine digitally prepares the matting to be used in the structural composite for each motor yacht.

Each of the cut components is individually identified and tagged in preparation for the kitting process.

The packaging of the kits required for each Riviera motor yacht before they are distributed to the boat building team.

The robotic varnisher, optimised with the latest software, efficiently coats surfaces such as doors, bulkheads and cabinet faces to create a superior finish.

The fabrication of structural core components is enhanced by the use of digital templates.

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

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

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