Startup REIN4CED based in Leuven has closed a major capital round to set up a production line for unbreakable composite bicycle frames in Belgium. The new patent-pending hybrid composite material and fully automated production process developed by REIN4CED are on the verge of revolutionizing the bicycle industry. REIN4CED welcomes KU Leuven Gemma Frisius Fund, Finindus and Innovation Fund as investors.
Unbreakable composite material revolutionizes cycling industry
Today cycling enthusiasts fear 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 and 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.”
Production automation enables reshoring bicycle frames in Europe & US
Michaël Callens, CEO and Co-founder of REIN4CED: “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.”
“As a result, REIN4CED enables to bring the bicycle frame production back to the brands’ respective home markets,” says Dave Luyckx. “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.”
Institutional investors have strong ties with activities of REIN4CED
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.
Need for impact-resistant composites in automotive & aerospace
“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,” concludes Michaël Callens. “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.”