Inflatable Paddle Board Welded Rail Technology
In this video, Rueben from Supboarder takes a look at welded rail technology in Starboard stand up paddle boards. Many of you might be wondering what welded rail technology is and why it's an essential feature for your inflatable SUP (iSUP). This technology plays a crucial role in manufacturing top-quality iSUPs and is something to consider when purchasing your next board.
Starboard is recognized as a pioneer in the application of welded rail technology, which they claim significantly enhances the quality of their boards. This innovation has led to an impressively low warranty rate, with only one in a thousand boards requiring warranty service since the introduction of welded rail technology.
But what exactly are welded rails?
During the manufacturing process of an inflatable paddleboard, the top and bottom layers of the board must be joined together, traditionally achieved through gluing. However, Starboard has developed a method where these two layers of PVC are melted and bonded together at their hottest points, creating a mechanical bond akin to welding in metal fabrication. This technique results in a much stronger rail bond, which is crucial since the rail is the first area likely to leak. A strong rail bond ensures improved performance and longevity, preventing air leaks that can degrade the board's integrity and eventually render it unusable.
The introduction of welded rails has revolutionized how boards are sealed, moving away from traditional methods that relied heavily on glue. This shift not only improves the board's durability but also its environmental impact, as welded boards are less likely to require premature disposal due to leaks.
It's important to distinguish welded rails from other technologies such as Fusion, and woven technology, which relate to the layers on the board's top and bottom or the internal drop-stitch structure, but not to the airtight sealing of the board's edges.
A physical example from Starboard showcases the intricacy of welded rail technology. The process begins with an initial rail band that is adhered to the board. A thinner rail is then welded over this base layer, visually identifiable by the melted material without glue residue, ensuring a solid and durable bond.
Comparing a sample to a full Starboard board reveals additional layers over the welded rails, enhancing stiffness and strength. Yet, the primary layer that prevents air leaks remains the welded rail, underscoring the effectiveness of this technology in maintaining the board's integrity.
Welded rail technology, despite increasing the overall cost due to the time and skill required, offers significant advantages. It extends the board's lifespan, is more environmentally friendly, and is particularly beneficial in hot, sunny climates where traditional glues can degrade.
In summary, welded rail technology is a groundbreaking advancement in iSUP manufacturing, offering improved durability, performance, and environmental benefits. Starboard's commitment to innovation and sustainability highlights the importance of considering welded rails when purchasing an iSUP, ensuring a superior paddling experience and a reduced environmental footprint.