Time Bicycles is building a factory in Landrum, S.C., that it says will be the largest U.S. maker of carbon-fiber-frame bicycles.
The company, owned by Little Rock, Ark.-based Cardinal Cycling Group, is spending $6.5 million to set up production in an existing 140,000-square-foot factory.
The Time factory will use proprietary resin transfer molding technology that the company already uses in its European factory in Gajary, Slovakia.
CEO Tony Karklins said the company has been planning for a U.S. factory for two years.
"The infrastructure that exists within this region for advanced manufacturing is unrivaled, as is its supply chain connectivity to Europe," Karklins said.
The company is collaborating on the project with Clemson University, plastics machinery supplier KraussMaffei and the SC Fraunhofer USA Alliance, a research alliance between the South Carolina Department of Commerce and Fraunhofer USA Inc.
Karklins said the Time factory will produce "the most advanced carbon fiber bicycles in the industry."
The new plant will employ 105. Renovations on the building are starting this month and operations are scheduled to start in the fourth quarter of 2023.
Time is an European cycling brand founded in France in 1987 by Roland Cattin. The company is active in professional racing, having sponsored Tour de France champions Pedro Delgado and Greg LeMond.
Cardinal Cycling was founded in 2020, and it purchased Time from Groupe Rossignol in 2021.
The new plant will use KraussMaffei's high-pressure resin transfer molding technology and infusing technology to make electric bikes and other products.
KraussMaffei is developing RTM technology and automation to make carbon-fiber frames for lightweight high-end road bikes used in racing.
"The efficiency and the cost competitiveness that we can bring to this and what is now basically a handmade bicycle in Slovakia, and it's a beautiful work of art for us to industrialize and automate this without sacrificing replacing or compromising the quality of the Time brand," said David Judge, business development manager at KraussMaffei.
"Whether it is additional injection molding or resin transfer molding, pieces of equipment, or adjacent, we also intend and expect to be involved in all of their automation optimizations and projects," Judge said.