SuperTramp Campers Gets Advanced Industries Grant
It is no secret that we love our OEM/Partners. Especially the ones that go above and beyond on what they do, how they do it, and WHY they do it.
This is the case with SuperTramp Campers and the latest Government Grant they've gotten. Please read the following note that Kelsey from SuperTramp sent us.
"We were awarded the Advanced Industries Grant from the State of Colorado. It is a $250,000 grant that will be used to advance our current manufacturing processes and push the industry as a whole. Our team currently uses a technique called vacuum infusion to create the camper shell and interior cabinetry. Significant investments must be made before pursuing this manufacturing process called molds. Each piece is an exact replica of these molds, so thousands of hours are spent working on these pieces. Over a year of research and design was completed to formulate our process. There are many different variables to consider, and each variable significantly impacts every other item within the process. We completed 100s of test panels to formulate the exact procedure. The final part is dramatically lighter than traditional wet layup and reduces our employees' VOC emissions by 90%. Vacuum infusion also drives down the cost of materials and is easily repeatable. All of these factors equate to a massive barrier of entry to this type of manufacturing.
Vacuum infusion has many benefits, most prominently a lightweight, strong part. Still, unfortunately, many consumables are used for each piece created and then thrown away after a single use. These materials are costly, making up 10% of our costs for our composites bill of materials, and require approximately 50% of the time for each part to be placed or plumbed in. The grant will allow us to take this process one step further by utilizing reusable bags and a vacuum infusion mixing machine. In some aspects, this is a form of automation as we are replacing creative processes such as plumbing each part, hand mixing, and the placement of flow media. This allows us to create more consistent repeatable parts, decrease our production time, and reduce our use of consumable waste. By moving our production to reusable bags, we estimate that we could double our throughput as an organization and decrease 80% of our waste produced.
The long-term vision for Supertramp Campers is to push the composite manufacturing industry to automation which will allow us to create high-quality campers at a low cost. We refer to this as large-scale automated composite technology or LSACT. Composites are the future for manufacturing in the camper industry, and none of the prominent players are focusing on automation. We believe we can be at the forefront of this development."
That is awesome, and we are proud of the SuperTramp team and look forward to seeing what else they accomplish.