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Rolo Bikes, a European manufacturer of high-performance road bikes, has used Altair’s Hyperworks computer-aided engineering (CAE) suite to design, optimise and develop the world’s lightest and stiffest road bike.

Rolo Bikes’ engineers were also supported by Altair Productdesign, Altair’s engineering services division, in the design, optimisation and virtual testing process of the bike. The objectives of the project were first to optimise the frame to achieve excellent performance for weight, stiffness and comfort; and second to develop an efficient virtual testing process to analyse the performance of future bike frames both from Rolo and other partner companies.

Rolo Bikes had already created virtual test jigs to replicate the European Committee for Standardization (Comité Européen de Normalisation, or CEN) tests as well as the Zedler stiffness tests using Hyperworks and had correlated a baseline frame model to physical tests. The baseline model weighed 829g but was difficult to manufacture.

Initial virtual analysis of the baseline design highlighted several areas of concern where the frame was under particularly high stresses. The optimisation stage of the project was intended to address these high-stress areas in a weight-efficient way.

Key benefits of product application

  • To optimise the carbon-fibre frame, Altair Productdesign utilised a three-step approach, during which the shape, thickness, direction and location of each layer of composite material was fine-tuned until an optimum solution had been reached. Each stage was performed using Hyperworks design optimisation solution Optistruct.
  • At the end of this three-step process, Hyperworks was again utilised to analyse and validate the optimised frame against the CEN and Zedler tests. The resulting composite lay-up created a component that can be manufactured based upon Rolo’s meticulous hand lay-up construction process employed in its European manufacturing centre, all within cost targets.
  • The composite optimisation process successfully reduced the weight of the frame from 829g to 792g. Additional material tweaks by Rolo’s manufacturing team reduced the weight even further, resulting in a final weight of just 710g. The design met all performance and safety standards, with the stiffness, durability and performance being enhanced significantly over the target values.
  • Adam Wais, chief executive officer, owner and co-founder of Rolo Bikes, said: ‘The use of Hyperworks enabled us to develop our own simulation tools for virtual testing. When we realised that we could use additional engineering support and manpower in our development and optimisation process, it was a natural choice for us to work with Altair Productdesign, since the company’s engineers are very familiar with Hyperworks and have tremendous expertise in designing and optimising composite materials.
  • Wais added: ‘Working with Altair Productdesign and using the Hyperworks suite has enabled us to develop the highest performance in the world with respect to weight, stiffness and comfort. This project was completed in record time with close to no prototypes.’

Altair Engineering

Altair Engineering is a leading global product design, consulting and commercial software Company that allows businesses to synthesize and optimize designs processes and decisions for improved business performance. Altair provide services such as product engineering, industrial design, technical staffing, Hyper Works solutions, and analytics solutions by consistently delivering a competitive advantage to its clients across industry.

Altair is focused on the development and broad application of simulation technology to synthesize and optimize designs, processes and decisions for improved business performance. Privately held with more than 2,000 employees, Altair has more than 45 offices in 24 countries throughout North America, South America, Europe and Asia/Pacific.

With a 30-year track record for product design, advanced engineering software, on-demand computing technologies and enterprise analytics solutions, Altair consistently delivers a competitive advantage to more than 5,000 corporate clients representing the automotive, aerospace, government and defence, and consumer products verticals. Altair also has a growing client presence in the life sciences, financial services and energy markets.

Altair’s design suites impact product design from the earliest conceptual design stages through product performance optimization. It has resulted in products that exhibit minimum weight and outstanding performance in industry leading timescales. Altair has pioneered simulation-driven technologies to generate innovative design solutions for our clients:

HyperWorks is a simulation platform for rapid design exploration and decision-making. As the most comprehensive, open-architecture computer-aided engineering solutions in the industry, HyperWorks allow businesses to create superior, market-leading products efficiently and cost effectively.

solidThinking is an Altair wholly owned subsidiary that creates, develops and markets technology that helps the design community bring the most desirable products to market faster. Products include Inspire, to explore structurally efficient concepts, and Evolve for modeling and rendering.

PBS Works is a suite of on-demand, cloud computing technologies that allows enterprise clients to maximize their ROI on computing infrastructure assets. PBS Works is the most widely implemented workload management environment for grid-, cluster- and on-demand computing worldwide.

Altair ProductDesign is a global product development consultancy of more than 700 designers, engineers, scientists, and creative thinkers. This organization is best known for its leadership in simulation-driven design to help clients bring innovative, profitable products to market faster.

Altair’s patented on-demand software licensing system leads all software business models in providing both value and flexibility. Our centralized unit-based licensing model means multiple users can access our software anytime from anywhere. Software customers can run multiple applications across all of our technology suites simultaneously for a flat rate, rather than paying for each license in use.

Altair employees worldwide share a tremendous pride in the entrepreneurial spirit and corporate culture based on transparency, honesty, innovation, and integrity. This brings high value solutions for clients which integrate hardware, software, user experience and services.

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