Louis Garneau may best be known for his career in professional cycling, but now he’s making his way into big business. His company, Louis Garneau Sports, also has a reputation – for innovative and unique cycling products. Last year, the company introduced the Titan Carbon helmet, which won the Recreation Product Award in September 2006 at the 16th Annual SPE Thermoforming Parts Competition.
The helmet uses a revolutionary manufacturing process, as well as MAKROLON GP Polycarbonate Sheet from Sheffield Plastics, Inc., a Bayer MaterialScience Company. This superior plastic gives the Titan Carbon helmet its exceptional strength, lightweight form factor, and safety features. It has carbon reinforced bridges and a stiff, impact-resistant titanium frame ring – called Titanium Ringlock, which contributes to its safety rating.
The helmet contains three thermoformed parts, including two 0.060 in. MAKROLON GP Polycarbonate Sheets and one carbon fiber. These parts, when combined with accurate plastic print screen registration, ensure the precise position of the drawing on the helmet. Since radiation absorption varies among the several colors on this sheet, the oven temperature must be perfectly controlled to produce the helmet.
The plastic has no stress, ensuring an accurate control of the thickness and the drawing position. The thermoforming molds are made with two movable cam inserts to accommodate the helmet’s several undercut angles. The plastic is cut with a 5-axis CNC machine, and the toolpath is made using a digitizing arm. Since the formed part is inserted into an injection mold and molded with expanded polystyrene, the forming and cutting processes must be precise. The plastic shell quality is a key factor in the film insert process and in the helmet’s superior construction.
About Louis Garneau Sports
Competitive cycle racer Louis Garneau began the company in 1983, working out of his father’s garage. In just five years, Louis Garneau Sports had grown to 118 employees, a 32,000 square foot building, and a national distribution base throughout Canada. Louis Garneau embarked on the US market in 1989.
Louis Garneau Sports
About Sheffield Plastics
Sheffield Plastics, a Bayer MaterialScience Company, is a global leader in high performance plastics.
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