BCA General Manager Bob Edwards points out planned production line features for the Summerton plant against a backdrop of stored bicycle frames, while members of the AMBUCS National Board and Amtryke Advisory Board listen and ask questions.
Members of the AMBUCS National Board and Amtryke Advisory Board visited Summerton on February 22 to visit the new BCA plant. The visiting body toured the warehousing space, already partially full of BCA bike parts, and stood in the space which will be dedicated to producing Amtrykes, tricycles created for handicapped young children, teens and adults.
Bob Edwards, general manager for the Manning plant, walked everyone through the facility, pointing out features, areas which will need upgrading or cleaning prior to equipment being installed and the manufacturing path the tricycles will take through the coming production line.
“We already have it mapped out,” said Edwards. “I think we have the ability and the right people in place to make all this successful.”
The group moved to the main plant in Manning, again touring the facility, which gave them a better idea of how the Summerton facility will operate once it’s up and running.
AMBUCS Southwest Regional Director Sue Haywood, PT, is thrilled to see AMBUCS partnering with Kent International and BCA. The company will celebrate their 100th anniversary in 2022, and they continue to grow and expand their reach into the handicapped community.
Dedicated to providing services to the handicapped community, the group also provides scholarships to physical, speech and occupational therapists for the handicapped. For many years, they have been providing specialized tricycles for those who would otherwise never have the opportunity to ride a bicycle or tricycle. The cycles are designed to exercise the children’s hands and feet and give a sense of freedom and confidence to handicapped children.
When the company first dove into the handicapped tricycle arena, they were hand-making the cycles. However, after a few years, they had grown enough to begin working with a manufacturer overseas. Recently, AMBUCS began to consider US production and sought to find an American builder for their cycles.
AMBUCS sent Arnold Kamler, Chairman and CEO of Kent International, a video of one of their cycle giveaway events. What AMBUCS didn’t previously know was that Kamler and Kent International had already been looking at ways to improve on the handicapped tricycles currently on the market. He was instantly on board with the AMBUCS vision.
Kamler has helped AMBUCS improve the cycles, creating a cycle with much less weight and a lower cost structure through improved designs and changes in materials. While a final cost has not been settled yet, as they are still working through prototype phases, Kamler feels confident they will be a more economical choice for AMBUCS.
The partnership will also provide improved convenience for AMBUCS, as they will not have to wait for shipments to come from overseas, nor will repair and replacement issues be coupled with long-term waits.
Currently, AMBUCS has multiple cycles, with the need to replace a cycle often as the child grows. However, BCA will produce two sizes, each with a range of settings which will allow the cycle to go through more life phases with each child.
On top of this, Kamler and AMBUCS are excited about the improvements to weight.
“Their number one item was about 65 pounds,” said Kamler. “We’ve taken twenty pounds off of it.”
Both companies are committed to making their joint project work and are eager to see the Summerton plant up and running this year. With a lowered cost, more children can be gifted with these cycles, and the lowered weight will allow for better mobility for the children and an increased ease of handling for parents.
“The joy these tricycles give to these kids, the mobility…there are stories that will make your heart swell,” said Kamler, who intends to fully devote his time to AMBUCS after his eventual retirement from Kent International.