Elasto KaviaThe 2K Bow Ball from Kavia uses Dryflex TPE compounds developed by Elasto UK
Kavia Moulded Products, the Yorkshire-based manufacturer of plastic injection tooling and components, has revealed it selected Elasto UK to work with the company on its innovative 2K Bow Ball for rowing and sculling. The product was used by a number of racing crews at this year’s Henley Royal Regatta.
A bow ball is a soft ball that is attached to a rowing or sculling boat’s bow. It is primarily intended for safety and protection in case of collision but can also help decide which boat crossed the finish line first. The brainchild behind the product is Iain Hill, Kavia’s Business Development Manager, an experienced rower who has first-hand knowledge with over 13 years of competitive rowing.
In traditional bow balls, UV sunlight degradation can cause the material to weaken, crack and tear. Rowing and sculling boat bow balls also get repeated loading from everyday use, a sculler often uses only one trestle and then rests the boat on the bow ball. All boat classes when returning to a landing stage often glance the bow ball in a sideways load. There can also be issues with tearing around the mounting hole.
Hill worked with the product engineers at Elasto UK to develop TPE compounds that would help address these issues. The product uses two grades of Dryflex TPE, in a complex overmoulding of a harder strengthened TPE core covered with a softer TPE outer to form the ball. This helps to protect the performance core from UV degradation and reduces the tearing around the fixing hole.
As well as good UV stability, the Dryflex TPE reportedly provides for a cohesive chemical bond as well as the engineered mechanical bond between the two components. The TPE is also easy to colour, allowing Kavia to offer colour-matched branding for boat makers livery or club colours.
Kavia developed a 1+1 family tool that moulds the core first and then a turn-gate is used for the second overmoulded white outer. The core runs auto and can take advantage of Kavia’s lights-out running efficiencies. Kavia designed and manufactured the tooling in just eight weeks.
Iain Hill commented: “Although the 2K Bow Ball has just gone into production we had our product on a number of racing crews at Henley Royal Regatta, including Leander Club with their unique salmon pink coloured core and Nottingham Rowing Club. We’re delighted with the high levels of interest we’ve received since the launch of the 2K Bow Ball. We’ve working with enquiries from across the globe, stretching from Europe to South Africa and Australia. It’s a great example of creative design combined with quality materials and intelligent manufacturing”.