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Thread: Fork in the Road

  1. #1
    RBW Member das will become famous soon enough das will become famous soon enough das will become famous soon enough das will become famous soon enough das's Avatar
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    Oct 2005

    Fork in the Road

    Fork in the Road

    Rebreather manufacturing is now coming to a fork in the road. We are now past the stage where a tinker in a garage can produce a unit that will evolve into a business. There is a considerable amount of technology in a modern rebreather. Considering how small the rebreather market is, who will survive?

    Let review the key components of a rebreather. First it must have unidirectional flow. This is accomplished via check valves. Next there must be counter lungs. Basically these are waterproof bags. Third, there must be a way to remove CO2. This is done chemically. Finally metabolized O2 must be replaced in the loop. This must be done in a controlled manner so as to maintain a safe PO2 in the loop.

    So where do rebreather manufacturers add value. I will submit that the key components to a modern rebreather that manufacturers add value are the set point controller, lowering work of breathing (WOB) and overall reliability.

    In order to have a long term business model one must own or control all these key technologies in order to differentiate oneself in the market.

    Rebreather manufacturers are evolving into two camps. Those who do R & D and produce their own set point controllers, do research to lower WOB and increase reliability and those who simply put together third party parts. In all cases those who produce their own set point controller do extensive (read expensive) third party testing. In a few cases those who bolt together parts do limited third party testing, most do none. As a consumer, which businesses do you think are in it for the long haul.

    The market is beginning to chose winners and losers. You see that in sales in the secondary market. Which units hold value and which units don't. Which units are introduced and then about a year later used instructor units flood the market. Which manufacturers do you think will stay in business.

    Fanboys aside, there is no perfect rebreather. There are however manufacturers that have a product and a business model that is viable long term. Do you own one of those?

  2. #2
    RBW Member dreamdive has disabled reputation dreamdive's Avatar
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    Re: Fork in the Road

    One more:

    Customer Service.

    I think the level and quality of customer service a manufacture offers and provides will also determine their survival in the long run.

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