Accell Group, makers of brands including Lapierre, Ghost, Haibike and Raleigh, is joining forces with a company called REIN4CED. This enables them to shift some production to a new Belgian facility and accessing a new automated carbon fibre technology. Here’s why we think this isn’t just another boring press release and you should be interested.
Feather: New Carbon Fibre and Steel Technology
The facility uses what REIN4CED calls ‘Feather technology’. This incorporates a small amount of steel into the carbon construction, keeping the weight down, but apparently adding a level of impact resistance. Handy for rock strikes… This image from the REIN4CED website shows the claimed difference in the behaviour of standard carbon and Feather technology. Further information on how this works and is created is thin on the ground, but count us intrigued.
Traditional carbon manufacture uses people to lay up the layers of carbon. As we learnt on our tour of the Hope factory, it can be hard to find people with the right skills to deliver the quality needed – and they work at the pace of a human, subject to things like getting ill, or needing to sleep. All of that can limit production times – REIN4CED says it expects to be able to produce 20,000 frames a year at the new facility. If automated carbon manufacture lies in our future, that’s going to be a huge shift for the bike industry workforce – particularly in the Far East.
Following a trend we’re seeing emerge in the bike industry, the Far East is no longer the only place to cost effectively build bikes. Accell anticipates reduced delivery times, storage and shipping costs. As fuel prices rise, shipping round the world is becoming less cost effective – and the environmental cost is becoming a commercial factor as well as a moral one. As with other manufacturers we’ve seen shifting their construction to premises closer to home, Accell believes the new facility will reduce the environmental cost as well as the financial.
Read the press release in full here:
Accell Group shifts to automated production of carbon fiber bicycle frames in Belgium
Collaboration with Leuven based innovator REIN4CED
January 16th 2020 – Today Accell Group and REIN4CED announced their collaboration on the automated production of high-end carbon fiber bicycle frames for Accell. Mid 2020 the first hardtail mountain bikes with the new technology for Accell’s brand Ghost will be available in Germany, Spain, Austria, Switzerland, Italy and Czech. REIN4CED set up a brand new automated manufacturing facility in Belgium. With the production shift from Asia to Belgium, Accell benefits from significant logistic and sustainability advantages as well as increased supply chain flexibility and efficiency. Local manufacturing in Europe drastically reduces overseas shipments and storage, resulting in a positive contribution to CO2 emission, faster deliveries and cost savings.
CEO Accell Group Ton Anbeek: “This collaboration matches Accell Group’s global innovation strategy and ambition to increase sustainability in its products. With enhanced durability and safety through local production and maximum performance for our cyclists with the new FEATHER technology. In two words: this innovation is smart and green”.
Detail of pre-production prototype Ghost frame
CEO REIN4CED Michaël Callens: “Accell Group is a world leader and pioneer in the bicycle industry and we are proud to work together. REIN4CED developed a new, automated production line for hybrid composite bicycle frames in its production facility in Leuven, Belgium, with an annual production capacity of up to 20.000 frames. Accell and its consumers will benefit from our product as the new FEATHER composite material offers extreme impact resistance. Our hybrid carbon-and-steel fiber composite will deliver the confidence that cyclists deserve in high-end composite bicycle frames. The FEATHER material combines the stiffness and lightweight characteristics of carbon with the toughness of steel”.