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Kite manufacturers+ aluminum foils

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windmaker
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Kite manufacturers+ aluminum foils

Postby windmaker » Mon Dec 28, 2015 8:04 am

Among kite manufacturers making foilboards most seem to favor aluminum and low end construction over carbon. Apart from Zeeko and F-One who seem to be going all out with high performance boards, hydrofoils and even foil kites all the others which I know of (let me know if I am wrong) are selling (or will be) aluminum over carbon.

Some reasons come to mind :

Easier to produce ?
Cheaper for the customer?
More profit (bottom line) ?
Are not ready or do not have the facilities to produce carbon foils ?
Only make foils for the image or because others are doing it and don’t want to be left completely behind (which lets be honest is already a fact Smile) ?
Think it will be difficult to attract other than beginners as new comers in foil manufacturing ?
They have many loyal customers that would buy anything they put their name on ?

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Re: Kite manufacturers+ aluminum foils

Postby Peter_Frank » Mon Dec 28, 2015 9:52 am

windmaker wrote:Among kite manufacturers making foilboards most seem to favor aluminum and low end construction over carbon. Apart from Zeeko and F-One who seem to be going all out with high performance boards, hydrofoils and even foil kites all the others which I know of (let me know if I am wrong) are selling (or will be) aluminum over carbon.

Snip...
"Most seem to favor aluminium and lower end construction over carbon" ???

I think you are wrong, and it is the very opposite.

All brands I know of use carbon (except one).
Some of these offer alu also, besides carbon.

Why ?

The answer is simple, as to attract more newcomers it is all about price, no matter what performance :naughty:

8) PF

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Re: Kite manufacturers+ aluminum foils

Postby windmaker » Mon Dec 28, 2015 11:38 am

I am not referring to all the foil manufacturers but to the ones that only made kites until now and are now making foils.

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Re: Kite manufacturers+ aluminum foils

Postby Peter_Frank » Mon Dec 28, 2015 12:34 pm

Aah, okay - same answer: Price :naughty:

Takoon: Carbon
North: Carbon
F-One: Carbon
Slingshot: Carbon
Zeeko: Carbon and Alu
LF: Alu
Cabrinha: Alu

8) PF

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Re: Kite manufacturers+ aluminum foils

Postby FrederikS » Mon Dec 28, 2015 4:37 pm

Much cheaper to make and more suppliers to choose from. Shouldn't take more than a week to draw up parts and perhaps a few days or sourcing them and then you are good to go. With milled wings you just make 5 variations and pick the best, pretty simple :P

Biggest problem is perhaps the inferior alloys available for extrusions but that can be overcome as well.

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Re: Kite manufacturers+ aluminum foils

Postby windmaker » Mon Dec 28, 2015 7:22 pm

Peter_Frank wrote:Aah, okay - same answer: Price :naughty:

Takoon: Carbon
North: Carbon
F-One: Carbon
Slingshot: Carbon
Zeeko: Carbon and Alu
LF: Alu
Cabrinha: Alu

8) PF
Yes thanks but Takoon=Ketos and Slingshot= MHL so they haven't done much apart from re-branding an existing product.

Kudos to North for trying something different...

I hear F-One will also be releasing an alloy foil in the spring.

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Re: Kite manufacturers+ aluminum foils

Postby tegirinenashi » Mon Dec 28, 2015 8:25 pm

windmaker wrote:...aluminum over carbon.

More profit (bottom line) ?
I doubt there is more profit in alum product. Bicycle carbon frames can be easily found for <$500, and hydrofoil is not more costly to produce than bicycle frame. So, $1500 carbon hydrofoil is likely to be more profitable than $1000 alum foil.

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Re: Kite manufacturers+ aluminum foils

Postby windmaker » Tue Dec 29, 2015 6:26 am

tegirinenashi wrote:
windmaker wrote:...aluminum over carbon.

More profit (bottom line) ?
I doubt there is more profit in alum product. Bicycle carbon frames can be easily found for <$500, and hydrofoil is not more costly to produce than bicycle frame. So, $1500 carbon hydrofoil is likely to be more profitable than $1000 alum foil.
Makes sense, but do not forget that most carbon bike frames (I am an avid cyclist) are made in China where labor is still cheap. High end frames made in Europe (Colnago, Time, Pinarello etc) can be anywhere between 3 to 5000 euros frame only.

As far as I know Carbon foils are all made in the Western world and are more labor intensive than aluminum ? Guess carbon would be cheaper if it was made in China...

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Re: Kite manufacturers+ aluminum foils

Postby FrederikS » Tue Dec 29, 2015 8:37 am

Price difference is huge, all you need is basically a sub $2k extrusion tool that gives gets you masts at approximately $20 per. meter. cut and finished if you use the best alloy available from most standard suppliers. Then you get the fuselage cut from standard tube sections and the adapter for the board which cannot be more than perhaps $40 if ordered in +100 quantities.

After this is done the two wings will probably be the main expense at about $50 milled in G10 depending on what specification you want. So that is $110 ex. handling and painting. Surface treatment and painting is probably another $20 and shipping plus handling $20. That is $150. If you are doing prepreg or even simple wet layup you will have spent more than that on mats(+resin) alone.

Wet layup in China with unknown quality of the fibers an resin might get you close, but you will of course have sacrificed a lot of longevity and stiffness along the way, which is probably why it is believed that a aluminum foil is better for the low-end market. Even the worst aluminum alloy has about the same stiffness as you will get from an average laminate and since hydrofoils are predominantly stiffness limited designs aluminum is a good solution, only penalty is weight.

Starting up a production in CFRP requires more big tools and these are quite expensive.

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Re: Kite manufacturers+ aluminum foils

Postby Jollydriver » Tue Dec 29, 2015 9:40 am

windmaker wrote: High end frames made in Europe (Colnago, Time, Pinarello etc) can be anywhere between 3 to 5000 euros frame only.
Two of the examples given (Colnago and Pinarello) have the VAST majority of their frames manufactured in Taiwan or China.

The C60 Colnago is the only made in Italy frame:

http://www.bicycling.com/bikes-and-gear ... olnago-c60

In Italy, the “Made in Italy” stamp can be added to any frame or bike if at least 50% of the price comes from Italy. This means for example that if a carbon fiber frame was made in Taiwan, sent out to Italy, where the company adds components, paint and tires, then this frame would be labeled made in Italy. I'm sure each country in Europe has their own rules regarding their 'Made in XX' labels, but one can't make the universal statement that all high end frames which still command high end prices are made in Europe.

To relate this back to the OPs question, there is no reason a full carbon foil can't be sourced from Taiwan or China for $500 or less per unit (assuming a 5000-10K unit purchase) with painting, packaging, and delivery included to a company. An advantage of a carbon foil is there should really only be one size/mold for everything except perhaps the wings, so compared to the bicycle industry where every frame will have at least 4 sizes with the associated mold/setup costs, a hydrofoil should come in cheaper than a run of bicycles, assuming a similar production run.

I still feel this is an apples to oranges comparison, because of the scales of the industries. Although cycling is more of a niche sport in the US, in the Europe/global scene, it is so much larger than kite boarding. Even in the US, it dwarfs kite boarding. And hydrofoiling is still a niche within a niche. Therefore, getting to a several thousand unit production run may be difficult, which will lead to higher per unit costs to a company, no matter where the product is manufactured.

JD


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