HMS conducts an exclusive interview with those responsible for delivering Scanstrut’s industry-leading design initiatives – technologies that have caused this UK brand to become one of the most respected in the outdoor and maritime world globally. 

In the hot seat

Tom Reed – CEO (TR) – With a wealth of experience and a passion for innovation, Tom has played a crucial role in driving the company’s growth and success.

Nigel Smith – Design Director (NS) – A hugely influential designer, not only in the marine industry but in the wider design community too. Nigel’s a real force to be reckoned with in this arena.

George Bowles – Head of Design (GB) – Scanstrut’s super-talented Head of Design, George has already made a significant impact on the design world thanks to his natural flair for creativity and passion for pushing boundaries.

Scanstrut ROKK Wireless Nano 10W

Scanstrut ROKK Wireless Nano 10W

Remind us please, gentlemen: which year was it that Scanstrut came into being, and what products were the Scanstrut team working on back then?

TR: Scanstrut were established during the mid-1980s, pioneering the development of mounting solutions for marine leisure radars. The company swiftly gathered a great reputation for its exceptional product quality and became the preferred partner for a number of leading global marine electronics brands.

Fast-forward to 2023 and Scanstrut, we’re happy to say, are now an international leader of outdoor and marine equipment. With over 400 products, our range includes mount, charge and seal solutions, such as 12/24V waterproof wireless phone chargers, Satcom mounting systems for superyachts and tablet mounts for RVs. All innovations are developed in-house, delivering high-performance solutions for the toughest marine, off-road and industrial environments – from powerboats and yachts to off-road vehicles and RVs, with applications spanning from Australia to the Arctic, and from Vancouver to Dubai.

MOUNTS - Scanstrut APT-150-01 Power Tower

MOUNTS – Scanstrut APT-150-01 Power Tower

12V POWER - Scanstrut SC-12V-F1 Installation

12V POWER – Scanstrut SC-12V-F1 Installation

How much, in your view, has marine technology changed and developed over the last 10 years, and how has this influenced Scanstrut’s own research and development?

GB: Over the last 10 years, marine technology has undergone significant changes and advancements. The rapid development of new materials, wireless connectivity and digital systems has revolutionised the marine industry, and we’ve sought to be at the forefront of embracing these technological advancements.

Our research and development efforts have been heavily influenced by the changing landscape of marine technology. We have continually invested in staying ahead of the curve by integrating the latest advancements into our product designs. No easy thing! But this has allowed us to provide innovative solutions that cater to the evolving needs of boatbuilders and boat owners.

Scanstrut ROKK

Scanstrut ROKK

Of course, the demand for using phones on board has hugely increased in recent years, from using them for navigation to music, photography and video, and to social media and even safety. The boating community was crying out for a waterproof marine-ready wireless charging solution. We recognised this trend and developed a range of wireless charging products that enable boaters to conveniently charge their electronic devices without the need for cables. By keeping a finger on the pulse of the latest technological developments, it allows us to produce relevant and valuable products for the market.

What have been some of the more challenging projects and products your technical team have worked on?

NS: Scanstrut were the first company to fully marinise USB and wireless charging, which in itself is an extremely challenging task. Over the last decade, Scanstrut have developed a design and testing ethos called the ‘SCA’ standard, which stands for ‘Safe, Certified & Approved’. Before any product is released, it must pass through our rigorous testing programme, which involves assessments in electrical, mechanical, UV, corrosion, thermal and waterproof categories. To ensure the highest level of accuracy, testing is conducted both internally and by independent ISO-accredited test houses too.

Scanstrut SC-CW-05F Edge Wireless Charger

Scanstrut SC-CW-05F Edge Wireless Charger

In terms of achievement and overall benefit to the wider market, what product or technology would you say you’re most proud of developing?

TR: When it comes to achievement and overall benefits to the wider market, one product that we are particularly proud of developing at Scanstrut is our waterproof wireless charging range. Wireless charging has become increasingly popular in various industries, and we recognised the need to bring this technology to the marine sector. Boaters often have multiple electronic devices on board that require regular charging, and the presence of cables can be potentially hazardous in a marine environment.

Scanstrut ROKK Wireless Cove LED 10W

Scanstrut ROKK Wireless Cove LED 10W

Our wireless charging technology, now in its second-generation 10W form, eliminates the need for cables, allowing boaters to fast-charge their devices simply by placing them on a charging surface or mount. This innovation has brought a new level of convenience and safety to boaters, enabling them to easily charge their smartphones without the hassle of tangled cables.

The benefits of our wireless charging technology extend beyond convenience. By reducing the dependence on cables, we have also contributed to a cleaner and more organised boating experience. Boaters can enjoy space on their vessels and minimise the risk of tripping hazards or damage to charging ports. The introduction of wireless charging technology has proved extremely successful for us as a company, and we’re proud to have played a part in advancing the boating experience through this product group.

USB - Offers secure phone charging

USB – Offers secure phone charging

WIRELESS - SC-CW-07F 10W ROKK Wireless

WIRELESS – SC-CW-07F 10W ROKK Wireless

Can you give us an insight into some of the products you are currently working on – for instance, the soon-to-be-realised ATMOS air pump technology?

GB: Over the past year, we’ve embarked on an exciting venture, introducing a new and pioneering product category. While we are known for our offerings in the mount, charge and seal product groups, we believe it’s time to expand our horizons. So we are applying our design principles to a new category, which we call ‘Air’.

In recent years, there has been a huge demand for inflatable water sports equipment, including paddleboards, towables, fenders and, of course, tenders. However, the challenge of inflating (or deflating) these items while on board has become a significant problem. This is where we step in. Our design team embarked on a mission to design an outdoor-ready off-the-shelf solution that is easy to install and compatible with a wide range of boat types and inflatables. I am pleased to share with PBR readers that via ATMOS, we can now deliver a revolutionary built-in air station. We think it’s set to transform family boating adventures. Put simply, it’s a 12V waterproof integrated air pump that makes it easier than ever to inflate and deflate paddleboards, towables and more while on board. Simply install into almost any panel on the boat and you have air at the push of a button!

ATMOS SC-AOB- Perfect for inflating your paddleboards and inflatables

ATMOS SC-AOB- Perfect for inflating your paddleboards and inflatables

Are there any fresh sectors of the marine industry you would like to see Scanstrut develop solutions and products for?

NS: We are always eager to explore new sectors of the marine industry and develop solutions that enhance boating experiences for a wide range of enthusiasts. One area we are particularly interested in is making boating more accessible for everyone. Accessibility in boating encompasses a variety of factors, including ensuring that boats and systems are user-friendly, accommodating different skill levels, and providing intuitive controls and interfaces. We believe that as many as possible should have the opportunity to enjoy the beauty and freedom of being on the water. From our standpoint, this may involve designing easy-to-use control systems that can be operated by individuals or implementing assistive technologies to enhance the overall boating experience. We are also interested in exploring solutions that simplify the process of getting into boating.

Scanstrut Flip Pro USB Charger SC-USB-F1 / Plugging in USB C MacBook Pro

Scanstrut Flip Pro USB Charger SC-USB-F1 / Plugging in USB C MacBook Pro

By my reckoning, Scanstrut have outgrown their UK facilities some three times now. What next? Do you have any plans currently underway to allow you to further expand production?

TR: Well, as a company, we are constantly looking ahead and planning for the future, and we do have several plans currently underway. We’re in the final stages of moving into our brand-new European HQ in Topsham, Devon. Just minutes from the water, this brand-new building allows us to design, develop, test, market and sell our products, and support our customers, in the best way we can.

Scanstrut HQ and new lab.

Scanstrut HQ and new lab.

But one of our key focuses is the development of a state-of-the-art in-house testing facility. This facility will allow us to conduct comprehensive testing of our products, ensuring that they meet the highest standards of quality, durability and performance. This will help streamline the product development process and increase efficiency.

Likewise, we’re investing in a comprehensive 3D prototyping and design suite. This suite will enable us to rapidly prototype new product ideas and iterate designs quickly. With advanced 3D modelling and printing technologies, we can visualise concepts, validate designs and make improvements before moving into the production phase. By investing in these areas and in personnel too, we aim to uphold our commitment to delivering innovative, reliable and high-quality products to our customers.

Scanstrut Lab

Scanstrut Lab

Lastly, where do you see Scanstrut five years from now, and what do you foresee as being the technologies you’ll be seeking to capitalise on/respond to at that time?

TR: Five years from now, we envision Scanstrut continuing as a global leader in the marine industry, recognised for our world-class facilities, relentless focus on innovation and commitment to improving the boating experience for everyone while, critically, prioritising sustainability. Indeed, we foresee a continued emphasis on eco-friendly solutions as the marine industry places greater importance on sustainability and environmental responsibility. This may involve integrating renewable energy solutions, optimising power management systems and reducing the overall carbon footprint of our products – a policy or mindset we would like to see the entire marine industry adopting.

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