Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The real reason for steel shortages and price hikes...

In order to make the SRAM OG-1090 Power Dome cassette, a 10 pound ingot of steel is used. That's ten pounds to make a part that ends up weighing (according to SRAM's website) 160 grams. That's about 9.6 pounds of waste when the finished product pops out. Wow! Now, I'm sure that SRAM recycles that scrap (maybe into cheap 8 speed cassettes?), but that's a lot of left overs.


Obviously, that cassette isn't solely responsible for the shortages in steel or the rising prices that the bike industry is preparing to pass on down the chain, but, to me, it's an example of a situation that doesn't really need to be. There are plenty of other bike parts made that produce waste/scrap and I'm not riding a hemp framed bike yet, so I'll not be casting stones lest I hit myself.

This image, along with some recent articles in Bicycle Retailer and some various on-line info got me thinking about this coming of price increases in the bike industry. I've got some thoughts that I'll be putting to words soon.

(What's playing: The Raconteurs Salute Your Solution from MPR's The Current)

3 comments:

Paterfamilias said...

There is this company named Shimano that I was familiar with for a time - they are the kings of recycling and finding use for what others may have called waste. When they make their Ti cassettes, be it XTR or Dura Ace, the use some of the center material to also make the back plate for XTR brake pads... Any who - Shimano is cool like that, their factories are ISO 9001 certified and some are even ISO 14001 - meaning super recycled and focused on reduction of excess, not sure if those guys who pretend they are from Chicago do that or not... Let's hope they do.

blackmountaincycles said...

Lets hope they all are.

Dguerra said...

The scraped metal will obviously be re-melted and re-used, just like it happens in every other instance of manufacturing through abrasion (tipically called cnc machining). It's a process which requires more time and energy than a simple forging but there are no wastes of material.