Startup Launches Belgium Produced ‘Hybrid’ Composite Frames
LEUVEN, Belgium – The new startup company REIN4CED has not only developed a new so-called ‘Hybrid’ composite material for bike frames, but has also devised a fully automated production process for it. Next to that the money to start production in Belgium has been secured as well.
That money has been acquired through a major capital round. It’s intended for the set-up of a production line for unbreakable composite bicycle frames in Belgium. The startup behind it is named REIN4CED. It claims to be “on the verge of revolutionizing the bicycle industry.”
That ‘revolution’ has to come with the company’s new patent-pending hybrid composite material. REIN4CED titles it as unbreakable. That does away with cycling enthusiasts fear of falling with their often very expensive carbon fiber bicycles. They realize that small cracks or damages may lead to sudden and dramatic failure while riding. “The cause is the material’s poor impact resistance and the effect is that riders’ lives are put in danger and bicycle frames are reduced to scrap,” explains Dave Luyckx, Chief Product Officer of REIN4CED.
“Our new material combines carbon composites with specifically developed steel fibers,” continues Dave Luyckx. “It radically increases impact resistance while maintaining high stiffness and low weight. In contrast to traditional brittle composite materials, REIN4CED’s steel-fiber composite exhibits a compact visible dent upon impact and maintains frame integrity similar to an aluminum or steel frame.”
Michaël Callens, CEO and Co-founder of REIN4CED says “At this stage, REIN4CED secures the financing to set up an automated production line through a major capital increase supported by three widely respected Belgian parties: KU Leuven Gemma Frisius Fund, Finindus and Innovation Fund. With its new processing method, REIN4CED is able to utilize its new material in automated series production – projecting an annual production output of thousands up to tens of thousands of light and unbreakable bicycle frames.”
Flexible, responsive supply chain
The new company further claims that such high volume automated series production enables bringing frame production back to the home markets of the bike sector’s renowned brands. Dave Luyckx states “Compared to the existing manual and labor-intensive process, REIN4CED implements the material in an accurate, qualitative and fully automated manner and produces parts with consistent properties. This will also bring along other advantages such as locking in less working capital and enabling a more flexible and responsive supply chain.”
Gemma Frisius Fund, the seed capital fund of KU Leuven, supports REIN4CED in research and technology as well as financial and business aspects. Finindus offers extensive expertise in industrial upscaling and commercialization and is linked to OCAS, a metal research research center in Belgium. Specialists in Innovation Fund’s network are heavily involved in modeling chemical and composite materials.
1st target market
The ambitions of REIN4CED with its new composite material as well as automated production goes beyond the bicycle market. CEO Callens explains “The impact-resistance of the new composite material and the high degree of production automation and repeatability are not only of interest to the bicycle industry. For us the bicycle market is our first target market because it is characterized by fast technology adoption and market introduction. We are however convinced that the distinct advantages of highly consistent quality in high-volume production are also much desired in other markets where composites are used extensively, including automotive and aerospace.”
REIN4CED says to have started discussions with major operators across the industry.