What is SMC Fiberglass?
SMC is an abbreviation for Sheet Molding Compound. SMC is a family of structural, fiber-reinforced thermosetting resins for creating parts by compression molding. CycleSafe’s SMC fiberglass panels are compressed with a 350-degree heated metal die in a 1000-ton vertical hydraulic press providing 1000 pounds per-square-inch of compression.
The SMC base materials of CycleSafe Bike Lockers are glass fibers and a polyester resin. Properties such as flame retardancy, UV resistance, and paintability are achieved with these base materials and added compounds.
SMC fiberglass is used in a broad range of applications
- Automotive: body, structure, and engine parts for cars, trucks, commercial and agricultural vehicles
- Boats: hulls for boats and personal watercraft
- Mass Transport: trains, trams, light railways and monorail
- Electrical: housing, fuses, switchgear
- Building & Construction: civil engineering and household fixtures
- Household Appliances: coffee machines, toasters, irons, etc.
Features and Benefits of SMC Fiberglass
SMC fiberglass is used in a wide variety of applications because of its mechanical and physical properties, without compromising on quality.
|Excellent mechanical properties even at very high and very low temperatures||From the Arizona desert to the Arctic Circle, SMC parts retain their mechanical strength without aging.|
|Design freedom||Shapes are possible that could not be produced via metal stamping, and additional strength can be engineered in.|
|Low thermal expansion coefficient comparable to steel||Enables steel/aluminum/SMC hybrid assemblies to be produced with complete compatibility.|
|Low weight||Low weight means energy savings over the lifetime of a part: greater fuel efficiency and reduced CO2 emissions during transport.|
|High temperature paintability||No loss in properties during and after paint cycle.|
|Chemical resistance||Resistant to acidic and alkaline chemical environments, water, moisture, many organic solvents and fuels.|
|Excellent dimensional accuracy and stability||High part stiffness and heat stability enables close tolerances to be achieved.|
|Low system costs through integration of parts and functions||Screws and inserts can be molded in and and multi-functional SMC parts can replace many separate metal parts requiring sub-assembly. Easy to bond.|
|Favorable life cycle comparison||Life cycle analysis comparisons show that SMC parts compare favorably to steel and aluminum.|
|Flame retardant and low smoke emission||Fully compatible with the most stringent fire standards. Fire safety in mass transit and public buildings.|
|Superior sound dampening||SMC panels absorb more sound than aluminum and steel equivalents.|
|Fully permeable to radio signals||GPS, FM and AM, cellular and Bluetooth receivers can be mounted within the component. Enables bike locker digital access.|
|Customization||SMC is a highly versatile material that can be custom formulated and molded to meet exact performance and end-use specifications.|
Adapted from “Sustainability aspects of SMC/BMC based products” by the European Alliance for SMC/BMC.
Sustainability of SMC Fiberglass Bike Lockers
SMC fiberglass products can have a lower environmental impact than the same product made of other materials such as steel or plastic. The total life cycle impact is lower because of a limited impact in the production of base materials, lower weight in service, longer lifetime due to high durability, and recyclability.
The sustainability of a product consists of aspects of health, environment, climate, and resources.
- An SMC part requires 5-7 times less energy to be produced than the same part in steel, aluminum or thermoplastic at equal strength.
- Glass fiber consists of long filaments that are not respirable.
- SMC pigments do not contain heavy metals.
- Because SMC has very good corrosion resistance, it does not need to be painted for protection.
- 2/3 of an SMC part is based on locally-available, inorganic raw materials; only 1/3 on crude oil.
- Because of its light weight, the transportation of an SMC part leads to lower fuel consumption when compared to the same part produced in steel.
- SMC parts in vehicles, aircraft, watercraft, waterworks like lock gate doors, electrical cabinets, and bicycle lockers have track records of very long lifetime under harsh conditions.
- SMC fiberglass can be re-used or recycled after its use period.
Compared to steel, SMC fiberglass products have lower energy content and emissions during production, are lighter, require lower maintenance, have a longer lifetime and are recyclable.
SMC fiberglass bike locker showing door and top panel with structural ribs for strength and security.
Other Bike Locker Materials
- Open mold process does not provide the strength from structural ribbing that compression molding offers.
- Inconsistent wall thickness.
- Can delaminate.
- Corrosion resistance requires new layers of coatings every 5-10 years.
- Powder coated steel will eventually dent, scratch, chip and rust.
- Are very heavy, which makes shipping expensive and relocation difficult.
- Low structural strength.
- Highly flammable.
- Easily cut or etched.
SMC fiberglass parts have a long lifetime, without the need of maintenance.
SMC Fiberglass Bike Locker Manufacturing
CycleSafe Bike Lockers are made with a sheet molding compound unlike any other bike locker on the market. The best-in-class material is what has allowed CycleSafe SMC fiberglass bike lockers installed over 40 years ago to still be in use today.
CycleSafe Bike Lockers are the only bike lockers that are made of SMC fiberglass. We researched and tested 13 different families of materials to identify the best possible material.
Unlike other materials such as metal, plastic, or fiberglass spray up, CycleSafe’s bike lockers are heat resistant, corrosion resistant, UV resistant and vandal resistant.
Often mistaken for a metal enclosure, our uniquely designed bike locker panels consolidate complex parts, reduce weight and eliminate secondary operations allowing us to give you unparallelled value at the lowest life cycle cost.