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Quality, control and safety – these three aims lead to 100% customer satisfaction.
Canyon pursues these aims with consistent investment and great pioneering spirit. Canyon is the first bike manufacturer worldwide to use a CT scanner in its quality control and production - Head of R&D Dr. Michael Kaiser and Quality Control Supervisor Gordon Koenen explain the reasons for this.
MK: That's right, we are the only firm in the entire cycling industry which has a CT scanner. This investment was a logical decision for us.
GK: For us the question was: How can we safeguard that we deliver top quality for our customers? The CT scanner enables us to ensure that the frame does not have any defects such as creases in the carbon lay-ups or delaminations, which can always occur during the manufacturing process.
MK:Yes, that's also true here at Canyon. We didn't just always want to use the drab term CT scanner, so we called it C-RAY - the "C" is the first letter from Canyon and "Ray" stands for rays that are emitted.
MK: We use C-Ray above all in the development of our products. When the products are designed and constructed and the first prototypes then roll off the production line, then everything is put through the CT scanner. We examine everything and can analyse where changes were made during the manufacturing process, and for example, where there is a reduction in tube wall thickness. This allows us to make even further optimisations to our products. If one is aiming to reach the next step in lightweight production, one cannot get around conducting a comprehensive testing programme of all component parts of the bike.
GK: In the area of lightweight construction we are constantly pushing the materials to their limits and there is simply no margin for error. When it comes to components that are key to the rider's safety, we simply can't afford to take any risks. Therefore every single part is carefully scanned in our state-of-the-art CT.
MK: Carbon has firmly established itself on the road bike scene, but many mountain bikers still doubt the relative merits of carbon. Some fear that the bike will be broken if it takes a tumble. I think several mistakes have been made in the bike industry, where products were launched onto the market although they weren't fully developed. This led to a great material like carbon getting a bad name which it simply hadn't earned and which is ideal for building mountain bikes.
MK: Carbon is much more durable than alloy and it is much less susceptible to failure due to fatigue. The second is carbon's level of damage tolerance. If a welder hasn't created an optimum seam, then any crack will quickly increase in size. This isn't the case with carbon due to the structure of the fibres and any crack will therefore increase in size much more slowly. The material is much more durable than its image suggests, provided it is used correctly.
MK: When developing a new product one of the most difficult problems is deciding when to give the green light for its launch onto the market. This decision is very hard because in R&D one is never 100% satisfied. Have I checked absolutely everything, every bearing seat, every tolerance, every torque level, have I done every possible fatigue test? As an engineer one would always like to go into further detail, but at some point one must finally press the start button. In this respect the C-Ray gives us a tremendous amount of support.
MK: We test all carbon components extensively because due to the large number of hand-made parts there is an increased likelihood of component failure. However we also check alloy parts to see if there are, for example air pockets in any of the weld seams. On carbon frames we check all parts which are glued and also the highly complex designs, for example the headset and bottom bracket areas. We also carefully examine the weld seams on the rear triangle and rear drop-outs.
MK: We have been cooperating for many years with two strong partners. One of these is the Hochschule Pforzheim in the area of test stand development form the purpose of destructive tests. We develop our test stands ourselves based on this cooperation as well as all our load profiles, which we enter into our stands to test our products. The other partner is the Institute for Composites (IVW) in Kaiserslautern. There specialists are involved in the area of construction, computation, production technology and materials science, which also includes carbon composites.
A Nerve CF frame
being scanned in the CT.
MK: We rely on three specific pillars in our quality control strategy. We have three test labs where the so-called non-destructive testing takes place. In the first we use our CT scanner, an ultra-sound device to measure tube wall thickness and also and endoscopy. The second lab is for dynamic testing in which destructive tests take place in order to examine the durability of the parts. The third pillar of our product testing is ride performance. We test how much torsional stiffness a bike has, the level of vertical flex and whether you have a good feeling when you're sitting on the bike.
GK: The components on your Canyon have to be able to withstand 10 years of bouncing around on the saddle or riding out of the saddle. In our test labs the frame, handlebar or stems are really misused. We test for the effects of excessive shocks, extreme saddle loads or we simulate cyclical loads. These are the loads a bike has to withstand during the course of its life.
MK: Yes, all safety relevant examinations are conducted by our suppliers in Asia. We have also duplicated all our dynamic testing machines and assembled them in Asia. This was a logical step we felt it necessary to take.
GK:We are always there for our customers and now also offer them the so-called all-round and worry-free service package. If a customer crashes, we can check his/her frame in our CT scanner and say exactly whether he can continue riding the bike safely or it is completely irreparable.