HK Research Enables R&D Advancements at Blue Wave Boats
Boatbuilding is an evolving science. According to Steven Parks at Blue Wave Boats, a leading manufacturer of saltwater family fishing boats, one of the most common terms heard at the company’s production facility is “what if ….”
That simple phrase has helped the Parks family, which includes Steven, his parents Roger and Pam, and his brother, Richard, grow the family-owned business considerably in the past 15 years – from a small 1,500 square foot shop in 1992 to, as of last year, a new 165,000 square foot state-of-the-art production facility in Seminole, Oklahoma.
“One of the reasons we’ve been able to grow so quickly and remain successful is our robust research and development efforts,” Parks explains. “We continually work with our customers and vendors to identify and meet existing and new market’s needs.”
The Parks desired a marine gel coat that provided a rich visual identity for its boats that would help the line stand apart on the showroom floor and endure in the elements. After much research and consideration they selected High Definition™ marine gel coats, an innovative new product from HK Research Corporation, boasting exceptional depth and boldness in a spectrum of high definition colors.
Improved Production and Product Quality through Processing Innovation
For years, Blue Wave Boats has relied on HK Research to help the company maintain that quality and technology leadership approach.
“The gel coat is the first thing people see when they look at one of our boats – whether it’s at a dealership or in the water,” Parks says. “We can’t afford for them to experience cracked or faded hulls. HK Research helps us provide our customers with the highest quality, best looking saltwater fishing boats available.”
In conjunction with the new production facility, Blue Wave Boats significantly upgraded equipment. For example, the company now relies on closed mold processes, such as resin transfer molding (RTM), to fabricate many of its smaller components such as lids and consoles, as well as developing some larger components – ensuring more consistent quality and faster, more efficient manufacturing.
“The HK Research gel coats work perfectly in all of our operations – from our traditional hand layup to our newer processes,” Parks says. “In fact, it was our confidence in these products and HK Research that helped us to make the equipment and infrastructure investments we needed when we moved into the new facility.”
Redefining Boat Colors through Advanced Gel Coat Solutions
In addition to new capacity and improved production techniques, Blue Wave Boats is also investing in new products. The company recently finished trials and is ready to begin production using the new High Definition™ marine gel coats from HK Research.
“These new products enable better color selection and result in deeper, bolder hues that have changed the way we look at our boats,” Parks explains. “As an example, comparing HK Research’s High Definition™ black gel coats to others we’ve seen in the industry is literally like comparing night and day. Nothing else truly looks black any more. They’re also easier to use and fit well with our new production processes.”
HK Research developed the new High Definition™ gel coats specifically for boat hulls and decks where deep, bold colors are desired. When fabricated properly, components made with these resins will not blush or fade under shrink wrap or below the water line. They also work well with HK’s proprietary CopperCoat™ Patching System, enabling invisible patching following minor damages, and come in wide spectrum of colors. These gel coats are MACT-compliant, enabling styrene emission levels below 30 ppm in operations such as those at Blue Wave Boats.
Advancing the Science of Boat Building through Industry Collaboration
The new production facility, added capacity, processes and product implementation are just the most recent examples of how Blue Wave Boats, with help from HK Research, continues to advance boat building science and provide new value to their many customers. After 15 years, apparently no one in the company has forgotten the two words that started it all – “what if ….”
HK Research recently launched a new website,www.hk-marine.com. The site is dedicated exclusively to premium gel coats designed for the specialized demands of the marine industry.
Based in Hickory, North Carolina, HK Research has the largest fully automated, computer-controlled facility in North America designed exclusively for the manufacture of premium gel coats in the marine and composites industries. The company produces a wide range of products, including NPG-Isophthalic clear and solid gel coats, specialty blends, liquid pigments and others, that offer the performance needed in today’s challenging applications. HK Research also carries the largest line of low-HAP gel coats on the market.
For more information about Blue Wave Boats, visit “http://www.bluewaveboats.com”. To learn more about HK Research, visit www.hk-marine.com or call 1-800-334-5975.