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Henley Royal Regatta Success for Kavia's 2K Bow Ball (with a little help from Dryflex TPE!)

Kavia Moulded Products, the UK manufacturer of plastic injection tooling and components, selected ELASTO UK, the UK arm of the HEXPOL TPE family, to work with them on their innovative 2K Bow Ball for rowing and sculling. The product was used by a number of racing crews at this year’s Henley Royal Regatta.

A bow ball is a soft ball which is attached to a rowing or sculling boat’s bow. It is primarily intended for safety and protection in case of collision but can also help decide which boat crossed the finish line first. The brainchild behind the product is Iain Hill, Kavia’s business development manager, an experienced rower who has first-hand knowledge with over 13 years of competitive rowing.

In traditional bow balls UV sunlight degradation can cause the material to weaken, crack and tear. Rowing and sculling boat bow balls also get repeated loading from everyday use, a sculler often uses only one trestle and then rests the boat on the bow ball. All boat classes when returning to a landing stage often glance the bow ball in a sideways load. There can also be issues with tearing around the mounting hole.

Hill worked with the product engineers at ELASTO UK to develop TPE compounds that help address these issues. Two grades of Dryflex TPE are used, in a complex overmoulding of a harder strengthened TPE core covered with a softer TPE outer to form the ball. This helps to protect the performance core from UV degradation and reduces the tearing around the fixing hole.

As well as good UV stability, the Dryflex TPE provides for a cohesive chemical bond as well as the engineered mechanical bond between the two components. The TPE is also easy to colour, allowing Kavia to offer colour-matched branding for boat makers livery or club colours. This is done by three visible stripes giving a sporting message whilst also showing the centre stripe coming first like in multi-lane regatta racing. It is the white bow ball that is used as the identifier in photo finishes.

Kavia developed a 1+1 family tool that moulds the core first and then a turn-gate is used for the second overmoulded white outer. The core runs auto and can take advantage of Kavia’s lights-out running efficiencies. Kavia designed and manufactured the tooling in just 8 weeks.   Iain Hill commented “Although the 2K Bow Ball has just gone into production we had our product on a number of racing crews at Henley Royal Regatta, including Leander Club with their unique salmon pink coloured core and Nottingham Rowing Club. We’re delighted with the high levels of interest we’ve received since the launch of the 2K Bow Ball. We’ve working with enquiries from across the globe, stretching from Europe to South Africa and Australia. It’s a great example of creative design combined with quality materials and intelligent manufacturing”.



The HEXPOL TPE Family brings together the ELASTO businesses in Sweden, UK and China and Müller Kunststoffe in Germany. We are at the forefront in the development and manufacture of custom formulated thermoplastic elastomers (TPE) and complimentary compounds.

Our family delivers a trusted combination of material know-how, R&D, production capability and comprehensive technical services. Alongside European and Asian production and product development facilities, as part of the HEXPOL group of companies, we share an extensive global footprint covering EU, Asia and NAFTA, enabling us to support our customers worldwide.

A comprehensive product portfolio covering TPS, TPO, TPV, TPU, soft PVC, cork compounds and masterbatch is led by global brands Dryflex®, Mediprene®, Lifoflex®, EPSeal®, Lifolit®, Lifocork®, Lifobatch® and Lifoprene®. We support OEMs, moulders and designers at all stages of product development in the medical, electronic, automotive, caps & closures, construction and consumer markets.

HEXPOL TPE is part of HEXPOL, one of the world’s leading polymer groups. www.hexpol.com

Mediprene®, Dryflex®, EPSeal® , Lifoprene®, Lifoflex®, Lifocork®, Lifolit® and Lifobatch® are registered trademarks property of the Hexpol group of companies.

For further information please contact:
Jill Bradford
Marketing & PR Manager, HEXPOL TPE
tel +44 161 654 2369 | jill.bradford@elasto.co.uk

About Kavia Moulded Products

Kavia Moulded Products Limited manufactures precision tooling and plastic injection components for blow moulding and vacuum forming companies. Kavia offers a full product design service that calls upon years of experience using state of the art CAD/CAM equipment. 

  • Plastic injection mouldings in a wide range of materials.
  • Plastic Injection moulding machine availability.
  • Kavia operates a mould tool repair service that ensures minimum downtime. Injection moulds can be serviced and repaired to ensure continuity of production.
  • Prototypes.
  • Blow mould tooling supplied, repaired or serviced to the blown industry.

For further information see www.kavia.info