While 2020 wasn’t without its challenges, we also saw innovation at its best as companies across industries incorporated emerging technologies and developed new workflows to ensure business continued to move forward amid all the chaos caused by the pandemic.
One such company is Predator Cycling, a manufacturer and designer of high-end custom carbon fiber bicycles for cycling enthusiasts and Olympic-level cyclists. Using the pandemic as a catalyst for change, Predator Cycling’s CEO and co-founder, Aram Goganian knew the latest technology gains could transform his Nashville-based business. The engineers and designers develop all of their frames and conduct all of their simulation, rendering and manufacturing processes in house. In addition, they also manufacture, build and simulate all of the machinery and equipment used to build custom bikes. They take any chance to optimize these processes throughout the design and production lifecycle.
The latest bike launch is the RF20 frame. After being in research and development stages for years, Goganian wasn’t sure the new road bike would ever see the light of day due to increasing costs of materials and the complexity of the design, which impacted bike manufacture and assembly. However, through performance and efficiency gains – including the ability to process more complex models, render, and run simulations in real time, and streamline manufacturing processes – Predator Cycling was finally able to introduce the new bike at a competitive price.
The design team uses the ThinkStation P620, equipped with the NVIDIA RTX A6000 GPU built on the new Ampere architecture. Because the team does so much custom work and each of their bikes are purpose built for each individual rider, customers need an easy way to see what their bike is going to look like and start to build an emotional connection with their bike. To do this, they use Luxion’s real-time ray tracing application Keyshot running on Lenovo and NVIDIA’s hardware to quickly load all of their existing CAD models and drag and drop all of their finishes, textures and surfaces onto the part to give the customer a realistic representation of what their bike will look like.
Seeing rendered prototypes not only provides customers with seamless options for component and finish requests that they can alter in real time, it also saves the company time and money. Prior to this, the Predator team would build physical prototypes for marketing purposes, which would take months to complete from start to finish.
They are now able to show customers renders of bikes long before they get to production or even physical prototyping. Thanks to the instant feedback they receive from customers, they can go from prototyping straight to testing. Goganian estimates that this new workflow has saved somewhere between 12-16 weeks in their go-to-market timelines.
“As I find myself deep into the design and simulation process of a component, I can be approached with an editing or simulation update task from the production line without my workflow being disrupted,” said Goganian. “I can now run concurrent simulations – from topology optimizers to thermal dynamics – all while hosting a video call with a client. As a result, I’ve saved more than 1-2 weeks in design-to-manufacturing turnaround using this workflow.”
The designers have seen performance gains of 2 to 6x across a number of the key applications they use including Luxion Keyshot, Ansys Discovery, Ansys Mechanical, Ansys CDF, and Autodesk Fusion 360. Plus, they can validate and test their designs more efficiently. For instance, the designers can implement mechanical simulations to help optimize carbon fiber orientations as well draping patterns to enhance the structural integrity and riding characteristics of their frames. They also use fluid simulation to identify any drag in order to design a frame system that will “cut through the wind.”
Moving forward, Goganian and team are exploring other ways they can take advantage of the power and flexibility of the 64-core enabled ThinkStation P620 workstation. From integrating digital twins into their design workflow and transforming their manufacturing process by using generative design and 3D printed parts to capturing and editing their own 6K video footage for marketing, Lenovo is helping Predator pave a smarter way forward.