A global engineering technology company Renishaw has partnered with a Wales-based custom bike manufacturer Atherton Bicyclesto help develop its in-house additive manufacturing (AM) processes and develop more durable World Cup-winning bikes.

The Atherton family, founders of Atherton Bikes, are mountain bike World Championship winners who use their own bikes to compete in downhill mountain bike events. The family have won three World Cups with their bikes and use their expertise to produce a range of custom mountain bikes that are used internationally.

Atherton is proudly based in Wales and wanted to give its customers the opportunity to test their new bikes in the Welsh mountains, which are a short drive from the office. To reduce parts production time, Atherton moved all manufacturing processes in-house. This includes additive manufacturing of lightweight and strong lugs to reinforce the joints between the tubes and help distribute the loads on the bike in rough terrain.

“The small size of our office in Wales was a challenge as most machines are made to fit on an industrial unit, so the experts at Renishaw suggested we go with the RenAM 500Q,” explained Dan Brown, co-founder of Atherton Bikes. “The machine’s compact size, high speed and precision construction made it a perfect solution. With this machine, we are able to handle the demands of custom production and high demand, especially during the busy racing season. We are able to easily modify ear designs using computer aided design, allowing us to quickly manufacture custom ears and reproduce them as needed.

“Renishaw supported us throughout the process, from manufacturing parts before investing in a machine, to installation and training our staff,” continued Brown. “Some of our colleagues were personally trained by the Renishaw engineer at New Mills who personally manufactured our parts. His specific knowledge of our production process allowed our staff to quickly adapt to in-house production after the training.”

“By investing in AM processes, Atherton has the design freedom to develop the best parts for its bikes, something that was difficult to achieve with traditional casting methods,” commented Brian Austin, Sales Director at Renishaw. “Mold casting does not lend itself to producing the custom components that Atherton’s customer needs. Casting also produces heavier parts because it cannot produce the internal honeycomb structure that allows 3D printed parts to be lighter.

Welsh bike manufacturer races ahead with additive manufacturing #Engineering #GlobalEngineeringTechnology #Collaboration #BikeManufacturing @gtma1

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