Snowboard manufacturer turns to PSU to solve production problem

– So, Gilson is an American manufacturer of skis and snowboards, and we approach the design process with fluid dynamics in mind. We actually design in three dimensions, which allows people to just simply have more fun on the mountain. We were a very young company
when we ran into this issue, we must’ve been less than a year old. What we were seeing is that
in a number of our snowboards, the layer of fiberglass was
not bonding particularly well. And so we reached out to the Innovative Manufacturers’
Center of Pennsylvania where we spoke to Russ Lawrence. And Russ said, you know, you’ve got to talk to Dave Fecko and Josh Stapleton at Penn State. These are the guys that need to help. – First and foremost, we’re
here to train and educate the next generation of
highly-qualified researchers. But what we do is very relevant to realtime problem solving in industry, as well as providing support to generate, sort of develop next generation products. – The project with Gilson was
unique only in the sense that it involved a snowboarding manufacturer. But it’s not uncommon for the
materials characterization lab to be involved in solving problems across a range of industries, from healthcare to portable electronics, to even the food industry. They were having inconsistent adhesion between this plastic and the
other layers of the snowboard. The real root was this
was just variability in the manufacturing process. You might have some employees come in, do the flame treatment two inches from the surface of the plastic, whereas you might have
other folks come in, hold the torch 2 1/2 inches
from the surface of the plastic. The reality is, that minor difference actually changes the
chemistry of the plastic. – We love working with the university. I think probably the most,
at least the eureka moment, was when we understood
exactly what we needed to do. That was the moment where it
was just this (fingers snap) yes, like we got it, we
know what we’re doing here. The guys in those labs are
so smart, they’re so quick. They’re just really fun thought partners, and they’re good people, too.

Antonio Breitenberg

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