The universal challenges faced by Trek in creating a new generation racing bike apply to many companies today: Create products that are sturdy yet use lightweight materials, spot design defects earlier in the design phase and reduce time from sketch to physical prototype.
To create this cutting-edge bike, Trek used Dell Precision Workstations with NVIDIA graphics and SolidWorks 3D CAD software. With this technology trifecta Trek’s engineers were able to accelerate their design process every step of the way — taking just four months to go from initial sketches to physical prototype, with about 20 concepts tested and simulated. Further, the engineers were able to spot and repair troublesome designs and eliminate entire time- and money-eating expenses such as SLA prototypes.
“Previously, we couldn’t render fast enough to do detailed checking in software for things like clearance issues or to project the strength of various frame segments,” said Michael Hammond, a senior industrial designer who leads the design team at Trek’s Mountain Bike division. By powering 3D simulations in SolidWorks, the Dell workstations with Quadro, “let us see hot spots in the frame structure right away, so we could fix them immediately and not have costly rework later. Faster iterations in simulation meant we were able to design the bike more cost-effectively and get to tool prototype much faster.”
Once they had the initial parameters for the new bike, it took the Trek team only four months to go from first sketch to physical prototype, with about 20 concepts tested and simulated. Before using the Dell workstations with NVIDIA Quadro GPUs to design their products, they took twice as long to get to the prototype stage and could only test a handful of concepts during the same timeframe.
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