Greater consolation for cyclists

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Cycling is wholesome, continues the body supple, exercises the joints and strengthens the again. A corporation that places the super cost on consolation is Ergon International GmbH, which manufactures ergonomic bicycle add-ons. Handlebar plays an vital position in cycling comfort. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Structural Durability and System Reliability LBF are working with the Koblenz-based totally organization on techniques and gear for accelerating and digitalizing the improved system for ergonomic bicycle grips.
Spring is in the air and the sun is shining: time for many cycling enthusiasts to get their motorcycles out of the basement and ride out into the nation-state. However, the longer the experience, the greater uncomfortable they experience: their neck will become stiff, their hands experience numb, their knees begin to pain. According to research, among 50 and ninety percent of all cyclists suffer from such lawsuits. The Koblenz-primarily based producer of bicycle add-ons Ergon International GmbH is aware of those issues. To make cycling as at ease as viable and assist cyclists to avoid aches and pains, this SME (small and medium-sized corporation) develops ergonomic bicycle grips. During the improvement system, it receives help from Fraunhofer LBF. As a part of the SME four.0 Center of Competence Darmstadt (see the field), researchers at LBF are contributing their knowledge to the handlebar development method.
Virtual, numerical model takes into account parameters which include stress distribution
“Grips these days are often designed based on experience, with the input of ergonomics specialists, designers, and cloth specialists. In this way, preliminary prototypes are created, which can be examined and evaluated with the aid of check cyclists. The feedback from the testers is subjective and the effects are frequently difficult to breed,” says Jan Hansmann, a scientist at Fraunhofer LBF. To shorten the take a look at stages, layout a greater effective development manner and reduce fabric prices, the venture partners worked closely together to plot a technique to permit an preliminary verification of the characteristics of bicycle handles by way of numerical simulation. Using finite detail software program, Hansmann and his colleagues create a virtual, numerical version of the take care of and the hand, which takes into account diverse parameters, which includes substances, material composition, strain distribution, damping, hand geometry and the different elements of the hand inclusive of muscles, skin, bones and tissue. The intention is to provide grips that the bicycle owner does now not feel, that ease the strain at the wrist and that dampen the little bumps and absorb the vibrations on lengthy cycle rides. “If you try out prototypes with distinct materials, you have to manufacture extraordinary substances earlier thus and undergo the injection molding procedure repeatedly. With the aid of the simulation, you want fewer iterations and as opposed to, say, six one-of-a-kind prototype models, you most effective want,” says Hansmann, explaining a bonus of digitalization. “We’re capable of determining initial mechanical characteristics even before an actual prototype is produced.” Another benefit: The technique can also be transferred to different add-ons, together with the saddle.

To be capable of compare various grips, the group of researchers executed additional tests, the effects of which were additionally taken into consideration within the simulation: Using vibration checks in the laboratory, Hansmann and his colleagues take a look at how vibrations – this is applicable particularly to riding mountain bikes or racers – affect the tiring of the decrease arms. The needful acceleration and force measurement values had been decided on the use of electromyography (EMG).
Fewer prototypes wanted thanks to simulation
The new method permits an initial, brief evaluation of grips while not having to manufacture prototypes. Although check runs are nonetheless required, the wide variety of prototype editions wished is decreased. Furthermore, the checks may be performed all year spherical, irrespective of the season, and the range of taking a look at topics can also be reduced. This consequences in a quicker development technique. In addition, there are financial savings in terms of tool and manufacturing expenses within the development phase. “Digitalization may be very beneficial for us, so we need to preserve to build up know-how on this location. The improvement of bicycle grips will likely be the first of many initiatives we behavior with a digital guide,” says Franc Arnold, CEO of Ergon International GmbH, underscoring the success of the collaboration.