FSA Factory Visit Taiwan

FSA Factory Visit Taiwan

19/11/2014
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19/11/2014

Full Speed Ahead are a full line component producer whose products include handle bars, stems, chain sets, wheels, seat posts, stem caps and often one of their most well known products the headset, plus numerous other components. With more than 30 years of history behind them their parent company and production manufacturer TH Industries, their range of products has been put together with experience and testing based on what the market wants. Many of their products are specified as OEM on bikes that we can buy from major brands.

As part of their information and marketing process they invited us to their Taiwanese factories to have a look at the various products they make. We started off at the main headquaters in Taichung where they produce most of their CNC products and components kits. They also showed us around their research and development and testing laboratories, so we could have a full up close look at their supply chain.

The Factory

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A modern quality factory with modern facilitates greeted us in Taichung.

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Most factories practice Feng shui and this means the waters have to flow towards the factory entrance.

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The FSA and TH industries staff showed us around their facility.

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The main man behind TH Industries.


Production

FSA produce a large quantity of quality components across drive trains and parts and accessories, on state of the art production lines, we had a look around at the different processes going on, some things we could not show due to trade secrets, but what we saw was modern, set up to high safety standards that went beyond what local laws require and efficient. This facory receives the raw materials and then turns them into the things we use on the bike.

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A laser etching station, for printing logos on metal objects.

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A wire cutting machine that at the time was being used for prototyping.

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A CNC milling machine that was being cleaned and set up for a batch of cassette hubs.

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Despite the modernity of the facility there was a significant amount of hand finishing and quality control going on.

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This machine took raw carbon cranks and milled them to perfection.

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Raw metal stem blanks came in and are then CNC machined down to a finished form. Roughly 40 percent of material is removed.

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Stem blanks up close.

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Left crank arm blanks which will undergo the same procedure.

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The laser etching lab was well ventilated to ensure worker health and safety.

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Here a seat post is being etched.

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Crank arm assembly takes place here.

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Chain rings are attached to their respective crank sets.

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These cranks are polished and finished.

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In some cases graphics are printed onto the components.

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Here chain rings are being finished.

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This is how to attach 5 ring bolts quickly.

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Half finished chain rings ready for assembly.

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Another part of the facility was the CNC area, with many machines lined up churning out components.

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Finished carbon cranks.

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More production number totals that are expected to be produced each day.

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Hand finishing a chain ring.

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Rough edges are removed and filed down.

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This is a custom etching machine that produces small batches of components for special customers.

CNC

We though we would take a close up look at the CNC machines and some of the types of components that come out of them.

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Cutting fluid and precision.

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A collection of freewheel cassette hubs.

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Cassette hubs bolted in place ready to be machined.

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Most chain rings here are machined rather than stamped.

Quality Control

Taiwan has become famous over the years for being the producer of quality not just high volume. Quality control is important to maintain those factors that they are known for. TH Industries showed us a range of their facilities that they use for testing and quality control. Each test they carried out ensured that the design met the necessary extremes that our sport places on the components.

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Scanning crank arms with X-rays to make sure that the metal has flowed correctly.

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This machine tests the integrity of the cranks to make sure they have the required strength properties.

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Repetitive handle bar and stem bending, checking for fatigue over time.

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Torsional and rotational forces are placed upon the cranks.

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This crank is flexing.

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This was one of the most impressive tests to see. The cranks moved and flexed a lot, yet returned to their shape.

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After testing the right box is rejects, the left box is accepted.

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These were examples of failures for staff to know.

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Here cassette bodies were being tested.

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Seat post, stem and bar testing.

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Drive and chain components were put through special mud imported from Japan at a cost of €20.000 as this mud s scientific and produces certain wear characteristics.

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A cross section of a crank showing the hollow form technology.

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These parts were cut open to inspect their finish properties.

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This machine is checked by this man.

Final Products

FSA produce such a huge range of components they ship daily around the world. We had a look at their latest offerings.

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Final finished products ready to be shipped.

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E-Bike cranks.

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Every version you can imagine of bottom brackets and headsets.

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MTB bars from their range.

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One of their 2 x 10 cranks.

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Every type of seat post you can imagine.

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So much to look at, some prototype, some production all lined up for inspection.

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The new Gravity with the 35mm standard.

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Carbon and Aluminium bars exist.

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That’s a small front ring.

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If there is a sticker, this woman is the one who knows them all and which one to use.

Conclusion
This was a high-tech part of our Taiwan tour but one of the most interesting, as we got to see what it takes to produce components precisely, our thanks go to FSA for their help and care in showing us around.

www.fullspeedahead.com/