First Fully Robotized Made-in-Europe Aluminium Bike Frames
BAGNATICA, Italy – Pictured here are the first made-in-Europe aluminium bike frames. They are manufactured with a completely automated and robotized process. Overall production time for a complete frame is limited to 4 to 5 minutes. They will be made at the ground-breaking new frame facility called Triangles which is based in Portugal.
How the Portuguese Triangles factory will be making aluminium bicycle frames with German car technology becomes clearer with the pre-series production start only a few months away. That the facility would have 2 production lines; each with 10 welding robots, was published earlier by Bike Europe. But there’s much more automated in this ground-breaking new facility.
“The key point in the production process is not the robotized welding. It’s how alloy frame-tubes are prepared for that process.” This states Luigi Seghezzi, CEO of Italian Bike Machinery. He is heavily involved in the Portuguese aluminium frame production project initiated by Rodi, Miranda, and Ciclo-Fapril.
Investments and initial capacity
The three Agueda, Portugal based companies are investing €14 million in the frame facility, which will have an initial capacity of 450,000 aluminium frames. Setting-up aluminium frame production in Portugal is widely recognized as a major move towards adding flexibility to the supply chain of the bike industry in Europe.
Next to know-how Bike Machinery is also providing the tube preparation machinery for the frame-making installation. These machines take care of cutting, shaping, and all other operations that have to take place on the alloy tubing before the robotized welding can take place. These operations are key in the automated process, emphasizes Seghezzi. “Done correctly the robots will accept the tubes for welding.”
Robotized MIG-MAG pulsed welding
The entire frame production process including tube preparation is completely automated. Operation at each station take less than 30 seconds. The robotized MIG-MAG pulsed welding takes a bit longer, but overall production time for a complete frame is limited to 4 to 5 minutes. Pictured here are the first aluminium frames made at this automated and robotized process.