Why Aragon's chainmail is no match for the Kaynemaile

Kaynemaile founder Kayne Horsham knocked on seven doors to get a prototype done for a new type of seamless meshing he had envisioned. All of them turned him down.

They told him the polymer mesh wouldn’t do what he wanted and that they would ooze and get holes. He didn’t believe it couldn’t be done.

He got lucky with No 8. An engineering company took on the project to develop his prototype.

The rest is history as they say. Sales are growing at 100% a year, Horsham told Idealog, and the company has gone global since. The company is a finalist of 2014's Innovators Awards, in the Design & Engineering category. 

Its innovative polycarbonate mesh now dress buildings including Cornell University in New York, Hard Rock Cafes throughout the US, Nokia’s London facility, among others.

Horsham’s seamless mesh is also being installed in Saudi Arabia’s Prince Mohammad Airport and at this year’s Hotel Show in Dubai, where Kaynemaile is partnering with an architectural firm from Milan, Italy to showcase future hotel sustainable designs to the industry. Victoria University recently chose Kaynemail for a 12-storey high, 42-metre wide protection barrier.

Kaynemaile was founded in 2002 by Horsham and his partner Robyn Downham.

A former boat builder and cabinet maker, Horsham worked on the production set of the Lord of the Ring movie where he was tasked with producing an authentic looking chain mail to be worn by Aragon and other characters in the movie.

He found that his fake chain mail had the same drawback the old-fashioned product did – a weakness where the rings join.

The current Kaynemaile product is not only strong but flexible. Its strength makes it a useful material for shark nets to act as safety barriers. It can also be recycled and a square metre of its material has carbon footprint of less than a quarter of an equivalent stainless steel product.

Horsham came up with a design that led to teams of technicians spending months cutting plastic rings from tubing, hand assembling mesh and giving it a metal coating, according to the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise website, 

“But the product had the same drawback chainmail has had for hundreds of years: an inherent weakness because the rings have a join where they are interlocked.

“As a result, Kayne's team spent hours laboriously fixing the costumes by hand. That got Kayne thinking and he set out to develop a method of continuous moulding that would deliver a 2D mesh of continuous components.

“Kayne taught himself the rudiments of injection moulding and tool making but it took months to find someone who would prove his concept for him,” the article said.

The company has grown from strength to strength. It acknowledged the government’s funding, totaling between $245,000 (in four lots) over the 2003-2006, as providing a major kickstart for its research and development.

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The sculpting of Kaynemail's mesh