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May 22, 2023
2 Min Read
Image courtesy of TIME Bicycles/KraussMaffei
TIME Bicycles, the French brand at the forefront of professional cycling with multiple wins in the Tour de France and Olympics and whose consumer road and gravel bikes typically cost thousands of dollars, has teamed up with KraussMaffei, Clemson University, and the SC Fraunhofer USA Alliance to optimize its production process. The company has invested $6.5 million to build a state-of-the-art bicycle factory in Spartanburg County, SC, the largest facility of its kind in the United States.
As part of this project, Clemson University is leveraging an existing KraussMaffei system to develop a new manufacturing process to produce what TIME CEO Tony Karklins calls, “the most advanced carbon [bicycle] frames in the entire industry.” The objective is to transition TIME's manual resin transfer molding (RTM) technology into an automated high-pressure RTM process.
The 2023 Alpe d’Huez Disc is the top-selling bike from TIME Bicycles.
Finalization of the technology details is said to be imminent, paving the way for the system design phase. KraussMaffei said that its unique position as the sole company in the plastics industry to manufacture machines for all in-house processing methods makes it an ideal partner for TIME Bicycles. For example, KraussMaffei will apply its ColorForm process and self-healing polyurethane surfaces to ensure that frames emerge from the manufacturing process ready for immediate use, eliminating the need for labor-intensive post-production adjustments. The partnership may extend beyond optimization of the carbon frames to other components of TIME bikes, according to KraussMaffei Business Development Manager David Judge.
The facility will also address the increasing demand for e-bikes in the United States. "We are combining efficiency and price appeal with a product that historically has been handmade. For us, it is a wonderful endeavor to industrialize and automate this process without compromising TIME's tremendous commitment to quality,” said Judge.
TIME’s investment in the 120,000-square-meter (30-acre) site, which includes an existing factory spanning 13,000 square meters (3.2 acres), in Landrum, SC, is the culmination of a two-year plan to establish a manufacturing footprint in the United States. The 36-year-old company chose Spartanburg County as the location because of its advanced manufacturing infrastructure, said Karklins. The state’s economic development agency allocated job development credits to the project and awarded a $400,000 grant to assist with building improvement costs.
Operations are expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2023, according to a news release on the website of South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster.
About the Author(s)
Editor in chief of PlasticsToday since 2015, Norbert Sparrow has more than 30 years of editorial experience in business-to-business media. He studied journalism at the Centre Universitaire d'Etudes du Journalisme in Strasbourg, France, where he earned a master's degree. Reach him at [email protected].
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