IBEX 365 News
2021 IBEX Innovation Award Interview with Innovative Group
News Date: April 27, 2022
Innovative Group’s patented Roller Bunk solution combines the best qualities of roller and bunk trailers to make a hybrid system that solves the problem of power loading boats at the launch ramp. The system combines the ease of launching/retrieving via rollers with the ease of transport and storage on carpeted flat bunks.
What problem does this product solve?
The Roller Bunk hybrid system provides two types of trailers in one: rollers make launching and retrieving easier, eliminating the need to use a boat’s engine to load. This type of power loading is destructive to the ramp environment, dangerous, and in some areas, prohibited. Flat carpeted bunks work better to distribute the weight of the hull when the boat is stored or transported, but are problematic due to their slip resistance when loading. With Roller Bunk, you have two solutions in one.
How did you become aware of this problem?
“Roller trailers can damage and distort the hull of boats during transportation and storage, but my 22’ Prince Craft was hard to load without them,” says Steve Rasmussen of Innovative Group. “Meanwhile, bunk trailers evenly distribute the weight of a boat, but make it difficult to launch and load so we came up with a system that has both.”
What audience is this product designed to reach?
Anyone with a boat on a trailer or lift will benefit from this dual technology that touches most boating segments. Roller Bunk can be used in both fresh and saltwater environments.
What is noteworthy about the technology used?
When launching/retrieving, rollers rise hydraulically out of the bunk to help and then lower so the flat bunks uniformly distribute the weight of the boat, which is key when traveling. The system combines an extruded aluminum housing with stainless steel internal roller shafts and lifts and a four-inch marine-grade actuator. Non-marking marine-grade wobble wheels raise and lower when needed.
How is it different from any other solution on the market?
There’s currently no hybrid system like this on the market. Key parts are powder coated for protection against corrosion, there are no screws or bolts to come loose or scratch the hull and there’s a remote so owners can load single-handedly if necessary.
What obstacles did you encounter in the R&D process?
We thought through the combination approach and worked out the geometries carefully so we didn’t really encounter any obstacles during development.
What customizations can be enabled to personalize this product?
The remote can be added as an option. The entire system can be customized for a specific trailer profile.
How has the product been received?
Because it’s unique and solves two problems, the Roller Bunk has been well received and we’re working with numerous OEM manufacturers.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Innovative Group is based in Illinois with a branch office in Wisconsin.
For more information about the 2021 IBEX Innovation Award winners, click here.