Because of the lengthy testing period, some of the marine hardware just entering the market now are products that have been around for a year or more—but manufacturers say that should help fabricators feel confident that these “hot” new products are road-tested and trade-show approved.
Alan Butcher of Intermold says his company is seeing rising popularity in two of its more versatile products: a new Lever Lock Joiner that securely fastens the telescoping support poles of an awning without having to use screws, and a universal deck hinge that can adapt to a wide variety of boat decks.
“There’s a whole bunch of deck hinge combinations out there, which is one reason we made the universal deck hinge,” Butcher says. “It swivels, and it fits a lot of different deck combinations, so the customer doesn’t have to have the exact angle. In the past they’ve had to slip wedges under them to change the angle of a hinge, because every deck has a little bit different camber to it. So we added a universal hinge that will adjust to whatever deck you put it on, and many customers have found that to be to their advantage.”
Tom Koster also emphasizes the importance of being able to offer versatile hardware. He says that one of his most popular new products is a ball and socket fitting, which can help a fabricator to fit a frame around the curved edges and adapt to new kinds of boats.
“Boats used to be more or less a lot of right angles, or straight angles, but now boats are manufactured with compound curves,” Koster says. “So when you put a frame down, it isn’t a straight line, because the boat itself is curved, the fittings have to be flexible, and allow movement within the hinge itself.”
The newest product we found has only been in development for 18 months, and is just being placed on the market for the first time: YKK’s new adhesive snap fastener, called the Snad. Rod Helwig of YKK says that the Snad was developed as a response to fabricators’ concerns about traditional snap applications.
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