PORT AU PORT The transition from glass-based fibre to environmentally-friendly composite materials for its snowboards is now a little easier for Magine Snowboards of Port au Port.
© Frank Gale
Marcel Savidon of Magine Snowboards removes a partially finished snowboard from a jig at the shop in Port au Port.
That‚Äôs because the Research and Development Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador is investing $10,300 towards a project that will enhance the design and manufacturing process of snowboards.
The corporation, in partnership with College of the North Atlantic, is helping Magine Snowboards in developing a more durable snowboard product.
Keith Hutchings, minister responsible for the Research and Development Corporation, said Magine demonstrates how the province‚Äôs entrepreneurs continue to use research and development as a way to reach national and global markets.
Magine Snowboards is collaborating with the college‚Äôs Manufacturing Technology Centre and Civil Engineering Technology Lab in St. John‚Äôs to research and test the stability, manoeuverability and design of a series of snowboard prototypes prior to manufacturing.
Magine has operated in Port au Port since December 2010, producing custom-built snowboards. The company currently has distribution channels in St. John‚Äôs and Corner Brook, as well as in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Alberta.
‚ÄúIn a market valued at approximately $180 million in Canada, we know our product has to differentiate itself from our competitors,‚ÄĚ Stephen Wheeler, general manager of Magine Snowboards said.
Wheeler said the company is confident it can develop a number of products that can meet the high expectations of quality and durability that current customers demand, and potential customers want.
Mike Maddock, a part-owner of Magine, said the company has already sent snowboards with different composites to St. John‚Äôs through the Research and Development Corporation for testing though the college‚Äôs engineering department. They are being tested for such things as torsion, load and break.
‚ÄúThis gives us a way to get quantifiable data that we can compare or relate to our subjective (snow) testing,‚ÄĚ he said.
Maddock said the bio composite is a new material that isn‚Äôt as widely used as fibreglass, and Magine is the first company to use this specific flax bio-composite, so it needs professional testing.
He said the company hopes the testing will be completed by the end of this winter season and plans to continue working with the Research and Development Corporation in the 2013-14 winter season.
For more information about the Research and Development Corporation, go to www.rdc.org.