Principal investigator: Steven Stumbris, Craig Beal and Nate Siegel

University: Bucknell University

Industry partners: Gilson Snow Inc.

Gilson Snow is a five-year old manufacturing firm that designs and builds snowboards and skis. Gilson merges the woodworking heritage of the region with the precision of modern technology, building products of the highest quality. They source locally and focus on sustainable growth that benefits the organization, their people, and the community. Their patented three-dimensional designs change the way boards and skis interact with snow. One of Gilson’s key competencies is in the application of fluid interactions to improve the performance of their products.

However, the snowboard and ski sales cycle is seasonal in nature, and the proposed project aims to balance production and revenues by adapting Gilson’s proprietary designs to water sports. Gilson will leverage its patents and experience in building high quality sporting equipment to develop new products and new manufacturing processes for the water sports markets. This project will focus on entry to the wakesurfer market, but the research into dynamic interaction with the surface of the water; and subsequent design and testing is expected to be relevant to products for wakeboarding, windsurfing, surfing, and stand-up paddleboarding. Initially, the team of undergraduate manufacturing fellows and engineering advisors will conduct research in composite materials and computational fluid dynamics to develop conceptual designs. The development of an optimized three-dimensional surface for a wakesurfer will take place through an iterative design process.

Gilson Snow, Inc. has the management structure and marketing expertise in place to act upon manufacturing innovations arising from this project, and rapidly commercialize them in the global marketplace. Gilson has achieved a remarkable doubling of total sales each year for the last five years. This project will fuel future sales increases and the balancing of production orders through the calendar year, stabilizing the workforce, and fostering continued growth of manufacturing jobs in PA.