kinaroad Exports World’s First Robotic Shaping System For Surfboards

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND – Auckland-based company kinaroad® today announced their first international deployment of robotic technology used to shape surfboards.

kinaroad has developed revolutionary design software and a robotic shaping solution enabling ‘shaping as a service’ to surfboard manufacturers around the globe. The early stage company, based in Auckland, New Zealand, which has been in research and development mode since 2010, has launched their revolutionary technology in the Australian market.

Early this month, kinaroad deployed their first robotic shaping system into a factory in the Gold Coast, Queensland. Although the customer remains confidential, kinaroad has disclosed that they will shape more than 2,000 boards in 2016 with capacity available to reach 7,000 boards.

Today’s surfboard manufacturing industry is hugely labour intensive and characterized by high volume production in low labour cost countries. This subsequently creates long lead times and high working capital requirements. “By using robotics to create efficiencies for surfboard manufacturers, kinaroad is decreasing the cost and logistics of production, which assists the biggest global surfboard brands to manufacture locally, decreasing their reliance on low labour cost countries,” said Scott Fenton, kinaroad’s chief executive.

kinaroad has developed a unique and proprietary system for designing and precision shaping surfboards, eliminating the need for the skilled labour that is traditionally required to ‘finish shape’ surfboards once they have been rough shaped by the currently available shaping machines. kinaroad’s system removes the challenge of sourcing, managing and retaining highly skilled tradespeople in what is a seasonal market. It also allows unconstrained scalability during high season peak demand, essentially removing the bottleneck from today’s surfboard manufacturing facilities.

kinaroad’s business model is just as innovative as its technology. Instead of selling its robotic shaping module, kinaroad deploys their equipment into existing manufacturing facilities at no cost and charges a per shape fee, creating a recurring tolling fee for every board shaped. Fenton explains, “There is no up front capital investment for our customers which makes the transition onto our system low risk and puts the onus on us to deliver. We are all about making our customers lives easier; increasing shaping accuracy whilst making their factories more efficient. With a value proposition like that, the sales process takes care of itself.”

The company has the backing of Callaghan Innovation and is the brainchild of engineer and investment specialist Dr. Paul Winton. His obsession for lean manufacturing led to kinaroad’s vision: ‘to create the world’s most innovative surfboard design & manufacturing solution, enabling quality real-time, near-demand production of beautiful watercraft’. Winton says, “There is no better place in the world to have developed our system. New Zealand has a wealth of innovative expertise and a mix of unique technologies that we have been able to leverage.”

kinaroad has plans to deploy two further robotic shaping systems into Australia this year.