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The Use of Plastic Could Bring Bicycle Manufacturing Back to Europe

The Austrian company, Plastic Innovation, recently received an award for its advanced composite injection molding process, paving the way for what could be the return of bicycle manufacturing to Europe.

Indeed, Plastic Innovation introduced their concept as the “bicycle of the future” during this year’s annual Greenstart contest in Germany.

“Thanks to the fundamental changes in the production process Plastic Innovations makes it possible to create a recyclable and reusable bicycle frame out of thermoplastic resin instead of the currently used steel or aluminum,” said the Greenstart jury.

“Bicycle frames in all kinds of designs can be produced fully automated within a minute. This technology allows for a close to the market production what will result in much shorter lead times. Next to that CO2 emission can be reduced by more than 50% compared with current steel and aluminum frame production,” Greenstart jury added.

According to Plastic Innovation, their technology has the potential of reestablishing the feasibility and profitability of mass producing bicycles in European countries again, which relies primarily on recycled plastic materials.

“We have set ourselves the goal of revolutionizing the bicycle industry with an innovative and sustainable manufacturing process. The focus is particularly on the ecological as well as economic improvement to the state of the art. We intend to bring bicycle frame production and its value chain back to Europe with an innovative manufacturing process. Our particular focus is on reducing CO2 emissions during the manufacturing process and sustainability throughout the product life cycle”, said Plastic Innovation.

Plastic Innovation’s, Dr. Umut Cakmak, has already started reaching out to bicycle companies and production facilities, with the goal of creating collaborative design and manufacturing programs.

In addition, bicycle industry veteran, José-Javier García Gutiérrez, recently joined Plastic Innovation to oversee international sales and marketing for the company’s mobility division

“It amazed me immediately that with Plastic Innovation’s new technology all bicycle frames and parts are made out of one piece. This fully automated process can really can bring bicycle frame production back to Europe. With an eye on close to the market production it offers fantastic opportunities”, said Gutiérrez.

“The bicycle industry is definitely keen to implement new advanced composite materials, new integration features and not to forget close to the market production opportunities”, he added.

Of the 130 million bicycles produced each year, a vast majority are made in China, Bangladesh, Taiwan and Cambodia, leaving only a small percentage being made in Europe and elsewhere.

 

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