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24 June, 2021 - 22:10 By Tony Quested

Prototyping company helps to make big splash in rowing world

A Hertfordshire based prototyping company is making a big splash after helping to create a rowing machine that could leave regular gym equipment trailing in its wake.

Ogle was asked to build a prototype of the FloatRower™, a pioneering rowing machine which emulates the sensation of rowing on water and helps people to accurately hone their technique.

The parts and prototype needed to be high-quality and robust so they could be vigorously tested by rowers and gym-goers, before commercial production began. 

The project was complex and for Ogle to meet its brief, a series of technical approaches were applied including vacuum casting, SLS, CNC and SLA masters. 

Matt White, Ogle’s senior sales engineer, said: “It was a challenging process because the components we had to make needed to be fully functional and waterproof as well as being visually appealing.

“This project involved so many different parts, materials and processes, and a number of challenges were faced and overcome throughout. 

“Certain components, including the metal extrusions, were being produced elsewhere. This meant the sheet metal work needed to be delivered before the castings were created to ensure that when they were produced, the fit against the metal work could be double checked. This ultimately ensured that when it came to assembly, each part would fit perfectly.” 

When it came to creating the SLA master, Ogle paid special attention to the surface textures, which were a mixture of rubber and ridged plastic.  

Matt added: “This was particularly difficult to replicate when there were different textures on individual pieces, but we’ve got an eye for detail which is essential when it comes to making such complex parts.  

“It’s been an honour working on the project and we firmly believe the apparatus has the ability to completely revolutionise the rowing industry.” 

The FloatRower™ was dreamed up by businessman Anthony Hamilton and rowing coach and designer Benn Klewpatinond. Anthony and Benn wanted to open up the sport, and help it to become more inclusive as not everyone has access to recreational water space. The FloatRower™ can be used by beginners or experienced rowers who wish to monitor their performance. 

The machine floats and rolls, simulating the feeling of the boat deflecting down into the water. It is thought the machine will help users to engage their core, improve balance and get their heart rate up. 

Benn said: “This machine means people can learn to row properly on dry land. We want to educate people, making them aware that rowing is the absolute best form of exercise and it’s possible to get a low impact full-body workout just from using one machine. 

“Ogle had a real passion for what we wanted to do and it’s been a pleasure working with them on this project. We’re excited to launch and believe it’s going to take off in a big way.” 

Anthony added: “We’re very pleased to have built a long-term relationship with Ogle. The Ogle team went out of their way to help and give their opinion on the prototype, rather than just doing what they had been asked to do.”

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