Recently, Congressman Jimmy Panetta visited Ibis’s carbon manufacturing facility in Pajaro, CA (Located between Monterey and our home town of Santa Cruz). This was Rep. Panetta’s second visit to the facility. Who was returning to check in on our progress. Since his original visit we began production and publicly launched our Exie model, and with that created 12 new high value jobs in our self powered facility.
The Exie — a cross-country racing bike — was the culmination of a dream that Ibis CEO Hans Heim committed to more than 5 years ago. He wanted to try to do things differently. The goal was to reduce the overall energy and labor input involved in manufacturing each frame, and thus make it feasible to onshore carbon frame manufacturing to the USA. Achieving that required an intensive amount of upfront engineering, and demanded perseverance and continual trial and error. A continual loop of prototyping, testing and implementing fast and efficient lay up revisions brought us closer and closer to our objectives. Throughout it all, we found clever engineering solutions and finessed the manufacturing process — which took us down different paths of mandrel making, layup and curing, and finishing (including ideas that went absolutely nowhere).
At the time of Rep. Panetta’s previous visit, we were just past our proof of concept phase, which had demonstrated that we could make a carbon frame entirely in-house. That involved making one size of one model — our small sized Ripley LS.
Emboldened by that project, we purchased this beautiful building, installed photo-voltaic solar array sufficient to power the whole operation, developed new low energy tools and staffed it with the best carbon layup talent around, many of whom had previously worked for Ibis engineer, Preston Sandusky — former partner in Kestrel Bicycles, as well as the manager of a carbon fiber manufacturing defense contractor.
Congressman Panetta’s interest in the project comes from seeing new industries develop in his largely agricultural district — particularly ones creating new jobs for skilled workers utilizing green technologies. From designing tooling, cutting and pasting decals, our Pajaro facility is a vertically integrated model for future business development in Monterey County.