Next spring, we can glide across the water in 3D-printed kayaks. 100% biobased, recyclable and made of e.g. sawdust, cornstarch and flax.
“Our goal is to exclusively produce biobased products,” says Pelle Stafshede, CEO and founder of Melker of Sweden.
Melker of Sweden manufactures and sells outdoor equipment, such as longboards, kayaks and paddleboards.
The company – a new member of the Paper Province cluster – has a strong sustainability pathos and wants to manufacture products with the least possible environmental impact. So they experiment extensively with natural materials in their manufacturing and their goal is to eschew traditional plastic materials.
“We are constantly striving to work sustainably and reclaim materials in order to create a circular ecosystem. We use old coffee sacks, for example, from a local business that roasts coffee. Instead of sending them to be recycled, we use them as laminate on our products,” explains Pelle Stafshede.
Melker of Sweden also enlists the help of others in its hunt for sustainable solutions. These partners include test facility The Wood Region, where Melker has experimented with sawdust-based materials and used a large-scale 3D printer to create their first prototypes. A 3D-printed kayak, to name but one.
The company, which currently consists of Pelle Stafshede and Emil Gyllenberg, has come a long way in its plans. Right now, they’re hoping to attract more investors and next year they plan to start hiring staff.
Their future products will not just be eco-friendly, they will also have other advantages, thanks to being 3D printed using natural materials.
“We’ll be able to customise our products according to the customer’s needs. If they’re living with a disability, for example, we can manufacture kayaks specifically adapted for that individual. And you can get your kayak with a uniquely personal touch. Someone might want to use the oak tree their grandfather planted, or recycle their clothes and incorporate them in the material,” says Pelle.
In addition to unique design, Melker of Sweden’s great strength is its sustainable and cost-efficient production, which can be located anywhere in the world.
“Instead of having a large factory shipping products all over the world, we want to have multiple production units scattered across the globe and meeting the demand in that part of the world. They can utilise local residual streams, such as coconuts or the shells of cashew nuts.”
Another part of Melker of Sweden’s business is based on the sharing economy. Rental stations will be located nationwide - and eventually worldwide. The first one in Sweden has already opened in Karlstad.
“Instead of buying a new kayak, you pay for a subscription. This would be a good option for private individuals who only want to kayak for a few weeks of the year or companies that want to facilitate an active lifestyle for their employees.”
Melker kayak with Karolina Skog (Swedish minister of the environment) and Pelle Stafshede.