On 18th September, six of our members visited Hope Technology in Barnoldswick.
Hope Technology is one of the world leaders in engineering bicycle components, designing, testing and manufacturing virtually all products in-house at their factory in Barnoldswick, We were privileged to be allowed access to the shop floor where state of the art technology was producing their latest components and complete bikes.
Rows of CNC cutting and milling machines start out with cast ingots of alloy, turning and shaping them into hubs, and brake calipers whilst other machines produce disk brakes from hardened sheets or steel. All waste metal is compated into small bales, and sent for recycling.
In the Carbon fabrication room, sheets of carbon fibre are cut and moulded to produce seat posts, handlebars, and complete frames. The pictures show a seat post mandrel, wrapped in approximately 20 separate carbon sheets and ready to be clamped into its mould prior to oven treatment to fuse and set the resin. The frame has just come out of the mould and is ready for finishing and polishing.
We were then shown how quickly a wheel can be built and trued. A technician feeds the spokes throught the rim, where the lacing machine attaches the spoke nipple and tightens it. A second machine then spins the wheel, stopping it periodically to adust tension and alignment. Final truing is carried out by hand, the whole process taking less than five minutes.
Finally, we'd like to say a huge Thank You to Hope Technology (http://www.hopetech.com/) for allowing us this unique and fascinating opportunity.