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Frame builder Astro expands e-bike frame production in Vietnam

Published November 29, 2018
Camille Hung at Taipei Cycle. Photo: Jo Beckendorff

By Jo Beckendorff

HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam (BRAIN) — Before the start of any U.S. and EU discussions on tariffs on e-bikes out of China, Taiwan frame builder Astro Engineering Co. Ltd. started to increase its aluminum and carbon frame production capacity in Vietnam. The company said constantly growing demand for high-end e-MTB frames, especially from Europe, drove the decision.

Last year Astro opened a second factory in Vietnam. According to Camille Hung, Astro's vice general manager, the expansion was necessary to meet the growing demand for aluminum frames for e-bikes in Europe. Then in June 2018, Astro opened its first carbon factory in Vietnam. Hung said, "The demand for carbon frames for e-bikes in Europe is also growing rapidly." 

In July the headquarters of Astro-Vietnam was moved to the new factory.The Snake Pack System allows battery cells to slither into a small opening in the downtube. Photo: Astro.

Further production information was on display at this year's Taipei Cycle Show. At Astro's booth there hung a big screen displaying the two Vietnam factories in Kim Huy Industrial Park and Dong An Industrial Park II, in addition to the corporate headquarters in Taiwan. Showgoers learned that Astro's overall factory output is now 700,000 frames a year, including 50,000 frames from its Taiwan factory. Ninety percent of the production is for e-bikes (in the case of high-end builder Astro probably mainly e-MTB frames). 

Incidentally, the focus on e-bike frames is no coincidence. Astro's general manager, Samuel Hu, has worked with battery specialist SMP Simplo Technology Corp. to create a segment battery "Linkage Battery Pack" — also known as "Snake Pack System" — for integration into the e-bike frame. The system consists of battery cell packs that can be integrated into the downtube without a large opening. The cell packs are connected by joints and thus easily pulled out of the downtube through a small opening, like a snake.

Thanks to the smaller downtube opening, the frame can be kept stiffer.

Topics associated with this article: Trade/tariffs, Electric bike, Taipei Cycle Show

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