In the Bike Europe reports on the Portuguese bicycle industry, we highlight today bicycle components manufacturer Miranda & & Irmão, Lda. Last Tuesday we started this series with an interview with industry association ABIMOTA on the country’s leading role in the trend to reshore production to Europe.
Miranda is one of the country’s manufacturers who is investing in the component production for Europe’s OEMs. Its latest investment program mentioned in the introduction included both new machinery and technology, as well as a reorganisation of the existing production floor and the construction of an annex to expand its capacity. However, the start of the pandemic caused major delays in the implementation phase but now it is almost finalised. Bike Europe took a look inside this ‘new’ production facility of Miranda.
Early November this year everything was completed except for a few minor details. According to Miranda’s Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) João Filipe Miranda, “At the moment we are at 90% of what we had planned and by the end of this year the whole expansion and reorganisation will be ready.”
Today Miranda’s portfolio includes all kinds of bicycle and e-bike components such as (aluminium) seat posts, hydraulic brakes and e-bike parts. Aluminium cranks, arms and chainrings are still Miranda’s strongest products. The roots of the company lie in the bicycle industry. Earlier Miranda produced front and rear lights and air pumps. With the moped and motorcycle boom in the 60s, which put the brakes on bicycle sales, the company switched to components for motorised two-wheelers.
When moped and motorcycle production migrated to the Far East, this caused a prolonged challenging period for companies like Miranda: “We had to radically change something in order to survive. At the turn of the millennium we invested in cold forging technology and the production of aluminium cranks and arms. Re-entering the bicycle market initiated this turnaround for us,” explains João Filipe Miranda.
In 2018, ‘XMOD’ was introduced. According to Miranda this is the ‘world’s first completely modular crankset system.’ All individual parts can be freely selected and exchanged. A first CNC-milled stem followed this year.
Advanced material and production know-how
Thanks to its advanced material and production know-how, the manufacturers, who prefer to operate internationally under the name Miranda Bike Parts, also entered the e-bike category in an early stage. In addition to e-bike parts, the company was also quick to enter the market with e-bike motor covers.
In addition to cold forging and injection molding, the company now also holds CNC as well as powder and liquid painting expertise. Miranda is particularly proud of its metal knowledge. João Filipe Miranda explains, “The Águeda district is home of the Portuguese metal industry and that gives us an excellent starting position.”
It is no coincidence that Miranda was named as Portugal’s private owned company with the most European and international patents filed in 2019. “We know how important it is to protect our inventions and ideas, as well as those of our customers,” assures João Filipe Miranda.
Another strength of the company is that everything is done in-house and with the help of modern machinery, most of which is Portuguese-made. “Thanks to keeping almost everything in-house we not only have the best possible quality control, but our optimised production processes, gives us a competitive advantage. “We can offer our customers attractive pricing as well as a flexible design process. And not to forget, an average lead-time of 30 days.”
Eyeing the European market in combination with competition from the Far East, the Portuguese claim to offer their European customers tailor-made solutions. “We can offer this advantage with the help of easy and simple
communication, product development and mass production.”
Green approach – a must in Europe
Essential in the context of company restructuring these days is the environmentally-friendly approach of the production process. Here, Miranda points to the 1,300 solar panels on the roof of the company’s headquarters, the LED lighting that is now used all over the factory and offices as well as the recently introduced recyclable packaging. Furthermore, the steps taken towards more efficiency also allowed processes to be optimised so that “the material waste is minimised in all production stages.”
Currently, Miranda Bike Parts employs about 200 people. At the same time, it is a problem to find skilled employees in Águeda. Not only the bicycle industry, but also the local metal industry is doing well at the moment.
It is therefore understandable that the new carbon frame manufacturer Carbon Team, for example, which is starting up this year, is not localized in the same area as the rest of the country’s bicycle industry around Águeda, but 30 kilometres to the northeast in a newly built industry park in Vouzela. With this step, the company hopes to attract local workers. Miranda Bike Parts is also shareholder in Carbon Team together with the traditional Portugal suppliers Ciclo Fapril and Rodi Rims & Wheels. The family business has invested in the young carbon frame builder. More on this start-up next week.