Dutch startup shapewave brings inflatable innovation to METSTRADE

shapewave wingsail

shapewave is one of the 15 startups showcasing at this year’s edition of METSTRADE (15-17 November 2023). This year, METSTRADE and Yachting Ventures are teaming up to introduce the first Start-Up Pavilion – a platform for emerging startups to showcase their latest products and technologies.

shapewave is building a system for calculating and manufacturing complex internal structures for inflatable parts, using proprietary robots.

Rudo Enserink, founder of shapewave Industries, says: “We’re developing and manufacturing structural inflatable parts through our proprietary shapewave tool chain. 3D CAD model in, assembled part out. This is completely new to the industry. We can do all shapes, colors, prints, and weight and precision classes while our software allows us to evaluate the outcome before anything is built. Our parts are lighter, more durable and tougher than anything comparable.”

Shapewave hand wing rendered

Enserink says that although it sounds “dreamy” Shapewave can really free designers of the constraints that may have kept them from choosing inflatable parts.

“For instance, rigid wingsails have been very expensive and vulnerable until now,” he explains. “We can bridge the gap between soft (single or twin skin) sails and rigid carbon slatted wings, and after the regatta, deflate and roll up.”

Enserink says that in startup life, clarity is key and companies need to avoid going down divergent paths. “If you have a really well thought out business idea it’s so much easier to create leverage,” says Enserink. “Further, stick to the script – avoid those rabbit holes. With a complex technological project like ours, try to avoid being sucked into science projects – use off-shelf technology where you can. And, talk to the market. It’s helpful to know your way around patenting so you can talk.”

Connecting and networking are critical for shapewave and put directly, Enserink advises other startups to “leverage and grow your network bordering on becoming a beggar!”

“We’re finishing the first wavemaker01 weld robot and we’re hoping to bring machine-built samples to METSTRADE. Our process is not super fast due to the sheer number of welds that go into one m² – up to 10,000 for an inflatable SUP, which would easily take three to four hours. Our plan is to quickly grow the number of operational wavemakers in what we call shapewave farms, to meet market demand.”

Enserink says the opportunities for the technology are huge. “We’re getting requests from wind sports to FRP tool making, and from emergency housing to rescue products. Fortunately, many people in finance get their heads around it (lots of sailors there), but we found some banks and government institutions incapable of finding a box to mash us in.”

“In the first line, our customers will be brands, who need – and want – to comply with regulations on renewability. In the second line there will be end users who are more and more interested in solid claims and certifications regarding the same. The good news is that our process is inherently low energy, we use zero consumables and cutting waste is collected by our suppliers for repurposing. The materials we use have bio-based options, something we’re eager to explore. On top of that, we’re looking to become B-Corp certified as soon as possible.”

This year, METSTRADE and Yachting Ventures are teaming up to introduce the new Start-Up Pavilion, which will be running for the duration of the trade show in Hall 7.

Spotlight Job

Technical key account manager

Welwyn Garden City (hybrid)

Specialty chemicals company Sika is looking for a technical key account manager to drive business growth and foster strong relationships with key accounts within the marine sector.

Full job description »

Comments are closed.

This article was written and/or edited by the UK-based MIN team.

Skip to content