A shared vision for using thermoplastic manufacturing to produce more durable and sustainable carbon bicycle frames has led DIEFFENBACHER, the Germany-based manufacturer of turnkey composite systems, and REIN4CED, the Belgian developer of a new, patented impact-resistant composite material, to announce a strategic partnership. Traditional carbon used in high-end bicycle frames is light, strong and stiff, but highly impact-sensitive. REIN4CED resolved brittle fracture issues by adding small amounts of steel fibers to specific locations inside the carbon material.
“The partnership with our longtime supplier DIEFFENBACHER seeks to make thermoplastic manufacturing the go-to method for producing unbreakable carbon bicycle frames,” says REIN4CED CEO Johan Miermans. “Together, we’ll accelerate and enhance process efficiency, robustness and flexibility to move toward our shared vision,” states CTO Michaël Callens.
DIEFFENBACHER is a leading manufacturer of press systems and complete production plants for the forming industry. The company helps manufacturers produce complex and robust composite components used in the automotive, aerospace, e-mobility and lightweight construction industries. The sports and leisure industry, which includes bicycle frame manufacturers, is another growing market for the composites components produced using DIEFFENBACHER technology.
“Long-term, trusting partnerships with our customers are one of our core values and the basis of our entrepreneurial success,” says DIEFFENBACHER CEO Christian Dieffenbacher. Georg Obermaier, who leads DIEFFENBACHER’s forming business, explains that partnerships like the one with REIN4CED help DIEFFENBACHER advance technology innovation across their customer base. “The bicycle frame project is an ideal example of a cooperation that benefits both parties but can also help move the forming industry ahead,” he says.
REIN4CED’s ongoing cooperation with DIEFFENBACHER resulted in the world’s first serial production line for thermoplastic bicycle frames based on DIEFFENBACHER’s Tailored Blank Line, which consists of the Fiberforge tape-laying system and the Fibercon consolidation system.
DIEFFENBACHER Fiberforge is the fastest UD tape-laying system in the world. The Fibercon system consolidates the continuous fiber-reinforced tape layups into near-net-shape laminates with excellent quality. Fiberforge and Fibercon can be used to manufacture structural composite components or to provide local reinforcements. This provides components with excellent deflection behavior, strength and impact resistance, all essential properties of bicycle frames.
“REIN4CED’s feedback provides valuable insights into how our technology is used and its potential for further development,” Obermaier concludes. “In the form of further product developments and process improvements, this will ultimately benefit all our partners and customers.”