Inside ENVE’s new 78,000 square foot factory

Revised manufacturing process claimed to deliver better finished product

Company Spotlight
ENVE Composites Factory Tour

This new building will help ENVE continue to be a leader in carbon bicycle wheel production. And just like in the past 100% of their rims are manufactured in Ogden, Utah. This allows ENVE to be nimble and react quickly to market demands. Photo by Ian Matteson

Long regarded as one of the world’s preeminent carbon wheel and component makers, Utah’s ENVE Composites just got a new home. In early March, the company’s 168 employees moved into a 78,000 square foot facility. The move will allow ENVE to up its production capability three fold, while also employing a revised manufacturing process that’s claimed to deliver a more durable finished product. Scroll down for an expansive look inside the new facility. All photos are courtesy ENVE/Ian Matteson.

ENVE Composites Factory Tour

It’s official, the new ENVE facility is open for business. Photo by Ian Matteson

ENVE Composites Factory Tour

The new ENVE facility was designed with three goals:
world class manufacturing specifically for composite “just-in-time” manufacturing, to inspire innovation, and to build a greater cycling community. Photo by Ian Matteson

ENVE Composites Factory Tour

ENVE owns 100% of the process inside these walls with the exception of anodization and decal production. Photo by Ian Matteson

ENVE Composites Factory Tour

For comparison sake, ENVE’s previous facility was just 38,000 square feet. Photo by Ian Matteson

ENVE Composites Factory Tour

Carbon parts are only as good as the molds they come out of. For this reason ENVE invested heavily in a full service machine shop, allowing them to ensure the quality of their molds. In-house machining allows ENVE to sail through short-lead time prototyping of tools (molds) for concepts. Aside from molds, the machine shop is integral in the production of fixtures and components for testing equipment and manufacturing. Photo by Ian Matteson

ENVE Composites Factory Tour

Building height was determined by racking/storage requirements. Photo by Ian Matteson

ENVE Composites Factory Tour

Just-in-time manufacturing means no more than 5-6 weeks of inventory on the shelf. This allows for dynamic response and flexibility to market trends and quality improvements. Photo by Ian Matteson

ENVE Composites Factory Tour

ENVE is capable of accommodating two full size shipping containers on any given day. Photo by Ian Matteson

ENVE Composites Factory Tour

Using pick-and-pack shipping, ENVE can fill 100 discrete orders per day vs. 25 in their previous facility. This will help better support the ENVE dealer network. Photo by Ian Matteson

ENVE Composites Factory Tour

Carbon fiber in its raw form. Photo by Ian Matteson

ENVE Composites Factory Tour

Raw material is delivered on a frozen truck and immediately transferred into a freezer, which is kept at 0F/-10C. Photo by Ian Matteson

ENVE Composites Factory Tour

Until this year, ENVE worked off a batching process for manufacturing and process flow. The new HQ was specifically designed to operationalize a one-piece flow manufacturing process. This means that instead of making a quantity of a rim each day, ENVE makes just the rims that are on order following a first in, first out cycle. Photo by Ian Matteson

ENVE Composites Factory Tour

The first-in-first-out process allows ENVE to be more nimble to market changes, increase quality and decrease WIP (work in progress). WIP decreased from 1000 rims in process to 250. Photo by Ian Matteson

ENVE Composites Factory Tour

The new facility is climate controlled for quality, staying at a constant 30% humidity, 68 F. There is also a class 10 filtration system that keeps dust, debris, and contaminants to a minimum. Photo by Ian Matteson

ENVE Composites Factory Tour

Panels are cut from unidirectional carbon fiber with pre-impregnated resin systems. Each operator creates their panels for the day and has a dedicated vacuum table to ensure as much air as possible be removed from the panels. Photo by Ian Matteson

ENVE Composites Factory Tour

Once a panel is created it is ready to be cut. Autometrix cutting machines cut out the pieces required to assemble the days production. ENVE has the first autometrix machines with print heads, which allows them to serialize every carbon component that goes into a rim or component kit. This process of serialized kits ensures all required components are accounted for. Once all the wheel kit pieces are cut and collected in their respective bins, the kits are weighed as a QC check to ensure that the kit is complete and within spec prior to layup. Rim channels are assembled and vacuumed to remove air from the laminate prior to cure. Each and every wheel has complete traceability that this is stored in a database and used to track and ensure quality. Photo by Ian Matteson

ENVE Composites Factory Tour

The automation in the new facility is technology borrowed from the automotive industry. Automated material handling helps ensure safe work environment. Photo by Ian Matteson

Continue to page 2 for more of the ENVE factory tour »


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  • blaklabl says:

    Unfortunately, I don’t see this as a good sign for prices coming down any time soon.

  • Chris says:

    Jesus Christ. No wonder their wheels are so expensive. Holy crap. What a ripoff.
    Hopefully they take care of their employees, too.

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