01 October 2010
01 October 2010
Working with Huntsman, BMC has designed and produced the impec, a machine-made carbon racing bike frame which uses a high-end Araldite resin system, to meet the most rigorous demands of racing cyclists.
In conventional frame building, racing bikes are assembled by hand in the manufacturing process, using hundreds of carbon mats. The carbon tubes of the impec have been woven using a purpose-built, patented robot, minimising the opportunity for error.
BMC developed and patented new manufacturing methods and technologies for all stages of the impec frame. This provides the scope for automatically manufacturing carbon tubes that are tailored to specific loads, a technology that BMC has called Load Specific Weave (LSW). The density of the weave can be influenced by the varying speed with which the robot feeds the loom, allowing the material to be optimised to meet the specific requirements of each particular zone, weaving carbon fiber into tubes of the exact shape, size and form required.
The carbon fiber braids that comprise the bike’s frame are wound into tubes in a specially developed robot fed machine which guarantees the highest level of precision. The tubes are connected by newly developed shells to form a highly stable frame. These shells are made from ultra-lightweight, high-strength composite materials, comprising a high content of carbon fibers to withstand extremely high loads at a minimum weight. They double up as a key design element which BMC has called the Shell Node Concept (SNC), which also means that the impec is visually distinct from any other racing bike.
The high-end Araldite resin system is injected to impregnate the braids, with temperature management allowing a decrease of the resin viscosity during the injection process and an acceleration of the cure before the frame is extracted from the mould. In order to meet all these requirements, the resin must have a low viscosity, short curing time and good fibre impregnation capability. In addition, it must be able to satisfy the mechanical properties required to ensure that the frame is tough, stiff and able to withstand shock without developing micro-cracks. The high-end Araldite resin system fulfilled these criteria.
Andy Rihs, owner of BMC said: “The innovation and passion behind the impec puts it years ahead of the competition. Our technology has allowed a degree of perfection that was previously unimaginable. The quantum leap is even visible to the naked eye in the cross-section of the tubing. Impec is short for “the impeccable bike”. Because it’s made by machine, it’s the first truly flawless and most aesthetically pleasing racing bike in the world.”