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Our best kept secret – the impec Advanced R&D Lab

29. October 2014 — DesignEye
DesignEye

It started out as a vision in 2007; to build the perfect place to create the perfect bike. What exists now is the most advanced research and development lab for performance cycling in the industry. We open the doors of the impec Advanced R&D Lab for the first time to reveal one of our best kept secrets.

Our Innovation Station – the impec Advanced R&D Lab

Switzerland is synonymous with high quality engineering. Decades of expertise in the development and advancement of precision machinery is a source of national pride and global recognition. Decades of expertise in the development and advancement
of precision machinery is
a source of Swiss national pride and
global recognition.

No shortage of highly skilled engineers, visionaries to spark innovative projects, and wealth to support them. So, when the idea to craft carbon bikes in Switzerland came to Swiss cycling patron Andy Rihs in 2007, the only real challenge was creating a space to make it happen.

A Playground to Explore the Future

The most advanced research and development center for performance cycling in the world is located in a small Swiss town between the Jura mountain range and the Swiss Alps. Here, fully-automated machines have been producing carbon framesets from scratch since 2007. With a carbon braiding machine (aka. the “Stargate” because of its space-age appearance), every frame that comes out of the impec facility in Grenchen has gone through a unique assembly and construction method. A special technology known as Resin Transfer Molding (RTM), new to bicycle construction at the time, ensures the perfect amount of matrix necessary to compliment carbon type, weave, and layup schedules for balanced and rider-specific tubesets. In the end, what results is something that many aspire to, but only few achieve – a simple idea with excellent execution. However, the production of impec bikes was only the beginning of something much bigger. The true result has been the creation of a playground that facilitates a continuous journey in the exploration of the tools of performance cycling.

A Bike Engineer’s Favorite Toys

The impec lab is the ultimate experimental studio for everything to do with bike conception, design, prototyping and production. It contains; 

  • in-house engineering software for exercising new techniques in frame design
  • CNC machines
  • molding and modelling rooms and tables
  • frame jigs
  • paint booths
  • the “Stargate” carbon braiding machine
  • fully automated build and assembly* process
  • automated tube-cutting machinery (reads by QR codes)
  • RTM technology – resin transfer molding (unique to bicycles upon entrance)
  • injection molded shells – 30% carbon / polyamide
  • hand laminating tools

One Roof, Many Cycles, and Fast, Very Fast Laps

Equipped with a series of fully-automated, precision machinery tools, this state-of-the-art facility is a playground for mad-scientist composite engineers. But what makes the life of a BMC bike engineer extra special is that everything can be found under the one roof. At our engineer’s disposal are every resource found in mass-production facilities around the world, and then some - all under one roof.

The impec Advanced R&D Lab is the home of the legendary “Stargate” carbon braid machine, 3-dimensional CNC machinery, countless frame jigs, injection mold tooling, hand laminate tooling, and a paint studio that would make even Bansky jealous. Thus, BMC’s bike engineers have complete control over the process of turning the creation process into reality.

It’s Simple – we Break the Rules

Today bicycle technology is synonymous with the world of computers – after just three years, most bike technology is already outdated,
no longer meeting the demands
of the rider
every three years the technology is already outdated and it no longer meets the demands of the rider. With the ability to create rideable prototypes within days, a process that usually takes other bike manufacturers months or years, BMC is always at the forefront of what rider’s demand. We listen to those demands and we are able respond very quickly with solutions that can be tested, raced by our professional riders, and delivered to the mass market.

Having the ability to create high-performance, precision, carbon bicycles from scratch is a wonderful thing, but the inherent limitation is how these capabilities are used. So the multi-million dollar question is, why would we invest so much in a facility dedicated to research and development?

The impec Advanced R&D Lab allows us to break the rules, to push the limits of imagination...to create concepts like this: www.impec-lab.com

Innovation
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