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Made in Germany: Inside CSS Polyeurethantechnik


By Kurtis Minder #141660


WALKING UP TO THE UNASSUM- ing facility in Coburg, Germany, it was obvious which door to go through. Parked in front was a modi- fied but pristine red and black classic BMW. This is the home of CSS Poly- eurethantechnik, a company many BMW motorcyclists have patrolled but few know what it is. Jurgen and Ina Ritter run this man-


ufacturing operation which produces polyurethane-based products. The company and the space are small, but their output is tremendous. The com- pany started as a car accessories com- pany when Jurgen decided he needed some tank protection for his ‘87 Honda motorcycle. Failing to find a source for the tank pad, he began designing his own. First mocking up the design and then hand-crafting a mold, he procured the necessary polyurethane (PU) materials and made his first tank pad. Happy with the results, Jurgen felt that these


might be useful to other motorcyclists. He began creating molds and building pads for various Japanese brands, later focusing solely on BMW motorcy- cles. The PU busi- ness quickly usurped the car parts business. In 1992 they closed the auto parts business in favor of PU prod- uct manufacturing. They now offer a tank pad option for nearly every BMW motorcycle model, going back to the early 1990s. Due to inbound interest, they expanded


the business a few years ago to include man- ufacturing parts for medical equipment, sports equipment and other materials. CSS has even supplied CE-rated armor for BMW apparel and other riding gear. In 2014, under the brand "ONYX Sport," CSS began making 3-D tar- gets for bow hunting practice. These are made of a variation of the same polyurethane material and are lifelike recreations of animals. Jurgen sketches, proto- types and builds the molds for these animal statue targets. His art- istry and craftsman- ship shine through on these applications.


The Process


Everything is done by hand at CSS. The design process for motorcycle tank pads starts with the bike. Jurgen is careful to observe BMW Motorrad’s design inten- tions for each bike. He looks at the tank geometry and begins sketching a design. When he feels he is close, he cuts a leather mock-up and positions it on the bike. Any changes required are re-sketched. Next he cuts a template out of a moldable material; this piece is affixed to the motorcycle to emulate the placement and ergonomics of the final product. After Jurgen is satisfied with the overall design and aesthetic, he begins making the mold for the new pad. The prototype is used to create the reverse mold, and the mold material is forged. The final mold is put on the production


line, where the technician will spray the mold with an electrostatically-charged paint. The PU material is then injected into the mold and heated. A short time later the pad is removed from the mold and sent to the processing and packaging team. The packaging team trims any ancillary


46 BMW OWNERS NEWS September 2016


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