The VISIONknit 3D knit canoe provides lightweight, sustainable construction, superior durability, and unique built-in design capability at a competitive price point. The technology also has significant potential in many other composites industry applications.

VISIONknit, a leading technical knitting company based in Toronto, Canada, in conjunction with Canadian collaborators Composite Creations and OHM Industrial Designers, has launched the world’s first 3D knitted canoe. The VISIONknit developed material, made on modern flat (v-bed) knitting machines, is set to revolutionize the canoe market.

“Our goal is to knit revolutionary new textiles, which would result in superior material performance, downstream shop floor savings, and significant material waste savings. This new patent-pending hybrid Kevlar-polyester material, called KR18, does just that,” commented Andrew Mullins, president of VISIONknit. The fabric results were so successful that Composite Creations created a spin-off company based solely on this new KR18 fabric (KR stands for Kevlar Rebar)–VISION Canoe.

In addition to production time savings, a reduction in waste by creating shaped parts, and eliminating labor costs in the layup and graphic design process, significant performance and durability results were key factors in the decision to bring the canoe to market. Testing showed that the Elongation at Break or Fracture Strain (the capability of the material to resist changes in shape without cracking) was 24 times better than traditional Kevlar or fiberglass composites.

Andy Phillips, president of Composite Creations, added, “The intriguing part of this new hybrid material is the opportunity in other composite applications. VISIONknit’s ability to create designs and color schemes that are built into the fabric, not painted on or stuck on with decals which come off over time, is outstanding. Any fiberglass application can benefit from this new material,” he said.