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以色列人设计的纸板自行车将大规模生产:英语新闻

2012年10月16日  来源: 英语点津  作者: Helen  英美者 www.EnMajor.com

以色列一位自动生产线设计师设计的纯纸板自行车即将在数月内开始大量生产,车身仅重9公斤,售价不超过20美元。据这位设计师介绍,他经过四年的时间研究如何消除纸板材料的结构弱点,同时还花了一年半的时间研究如何折叠纸板才能做出结实的自行车。

纸板自行车将大规模生产

Cardboard bicycle can change the world, says Israeli inventor

纸板自行车,英语新闻

以色列一位自动生产线设计师设计的纯纸板自行车即将在数月内开始大量生产,车身仅重9公斤,售价不超过20美元。据这位设计师介绍,他经过四年的时间研究如何消除纸板材料的结构弱点,同时还花了一年半的时间研究如何折叠纸板才能做出结实的自行车。自行车雏形完成后,还要用有机材料制成的混合材料对纸板进行防水和防火处理。最后进入生产程序的自行车将不使用任何金属零件,连刹车系统、车轮以及脚踏板都是由可循环材料制成的。除公开销售以外,纸板自行车还可作为大公司的广告载体免费发放到消费者手中。据悉,纸板系列的三个自行车款和一个轮椅款将于数月内在以色列开始生产,并在一年内开始销售。

A bicycle made almost entirely of cardboard has the potential to change transportation habits from the world's most congested cities to the poorest reaches of Africa, its Israeli inventor says.

Izhar Gafni, 50, is an expert in designing automated mass-production lines. He is an amateur cycling enthusiast who for years toyed with an idea of making a bicycle from cardboard.

He said during a recent demonstration that after much trial and error, his latest prototype has now proven itself and mass production will begin in a few months.

"I was always fascinated by applying unconventional technologies to materials and I did this on several occasions. But this was the culmination of a few things that came together. I worked for four years to cancel out the corrugated cardboard's weak structural points," Gafni said.

"Making a cardboard box is easy and it can be very strong and durable, but to make a bicycle was extremely difficult and I had to find the right way to fold the cardboard in several different directions. It took a year and a half, with lots of testing and failure until I got it right," he said.

Once the shape has been formed and cut, the cardboard is treated with a secret concoction made of organic materials to give it its waterproof and fireproof qualities. In the final stage, it is coated with lacquer paint for appearance.

In testing the durability of the treated cardboard, Gafni said he immersed a cross-section in a water tank for several months and it retained all its hardened characteristics.

Once ready for production, the bicycle will include no metal parts, even the brake mechanism and the wheel and pedal bearings will be made of recycled substances, although Gafni said he could not yet reveal those details due to pending patent issues.

"I'm repeatedly surprised at just how strong this material is, it is amazing. Once we are ready to go to production, the bike will have no metal parts at all," Gafni said.

Gafni owns several top-of-the-range bicycles which he said are worth thousands of dollars each, but when his own creation reaches mass production, it should cost no more than about $20 to buy. The cost of materials used are estimated at $9 per unit.

Nimrod Elmish, Gafni's business partner, said cardboard and other recycled materials could bring a major change in current production norms because grants and rebates would only be given for local production and there would be no financial benefits by making bicycles in cheap labor markets.

"This is a real game-changer. It changes ... the way products are manufactured and shipped, it causes factories to be built everywhere instead of moving production to cheaper labor markets, everything that we have known in the production world can change," he said.

Elmish said the cardboard bikes would be made on largely automated production lines and would be supplemented by a workforce comprising pensioners and the disabled.

He said that apart from the social benefits this would provide for all concerned, it would also garner government grants for the manufacturers.

Elmish said the business model they had created meant that rebates for using "green" materials would entirely cancel out production costs and this could allow for bicycles to be given away for free in poor countries.

Producers would reap financial rewards from advertisements such as from multinational companies who would pay for their logo to be part of the frame, he explained.

Elmish said initial production was set to begin in Israel in months on three bicycle models and a wheelchair and they will be available to purchase within a year.

The bicycles are not only very cheap to make, they are very light and do not need to be adjusted or repaired, the solid tires that are made of reconstituted rubber from old car tires will never get a puncture, Elmish said.

A full-size cardboard bicycle will weigh around 9 kg (about 20 lbs) compared to an average metal bicycle, which weight around 14 kg.



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