Innovation and collaborative, synchronized program management for new programs
Pyga Industries is a small South African company that designs and manufactures high-performance bikes that are competitive on the racetrack while still being fun to ride.
Pyga Industries is one of the smaller bicycle companies in the industry, and focuses on the high-end bicycle market. The company was founded in 2011 by Patrick Morewood and Mark Hopkins, long-term friends, entrepreneurs and mountain biking enthusiasts. Morewood founded the first South African bicycle company, Morewood Bikes, in 1998, and the Morewood Makulu was rated the top bike of the year for two years in a row by Dirt Mountainbike magazine. Hopkins was previously affiliated with cSixx, a distributor of high-quality mountain bike components, and founder of Leatt, a manufacturer of braces, body armor and gear for extreme sports.
Offering bikes that are competitive on the racetrack while still being fun to ride, Pyga has grown over the years, with current sales of around 600 bicycles a year. The performance and quality of Pyga bicycles are rated in the top 10 percent in the industry, and they are designed to pedal efficiently, to be active and supple, and to integrate leading technologies that distinguish the ride of new-age bikes. The company has a global footprint with distributors in South Africa, the United Kingdom, Germany and recently the United States.
Pyga currently offers five full-suspension bicycles and two hardtail bicycles to consumers. The bikes feature short chainstays for a playful ride, and the high anti-squat properties of all Pyga frames provide a solid pedaling platform for improved performance on technical climbs, rough sections and downhills.
“Most bicycle companies design their bicycles outright for performance and speed,” says Morewood. “At Pyga, however, we put a lot more emphasis on making our bikes fun and comfortable to ride, which automatically makes you want to ride faster. The main driver for us is the smile on a customer’s face after they have taken one of our bikes out for a ride.”
Offering traditional aluminum as well as advanced carbon composite frames and wheelsets, Pyga has made the transition to leading-edge materials to enhance speed, performance, handling, durability and rider confidence. All Pyga bicycles are designed in-house, with manufacturing and testing done by the factory in Taiwan. Initial prototype manufacture and testing is conducted in South Africa, with the local trails as ideal testing grounds.
Transitioning from traditional aluminum frames (using tubes and computer numerical control machined parts) to carbon composite frames has given Pyga more freedom in design. With the new materials, intricate designs that are structurally sound as well as aesthetically pleasing were possible. The new freedom required sophisticated design software.
The CAD software previously used at Pyga presented several challenges. Making design changes to imported CAD models was difficult and time-consuming. Because Pyga manufactures bikes in a variety of frame sizes, designers need to quickly scale a design from one frame size to four, which often required starting from scratch for each frame. Assembly design was cumbersome, because the CAD package did not automatically update part interfaces when design changes were made.
To overcome these inefficiencies and take advantage of new design possibilities, Pyga selected Solid Edge® software for computer-aided design (CAD), from product lifecycle management (PLM) specialist Siemens Digital Industries Software.
“Solid Edge is a very intuitive and easy-to-use product compared to most other CAD software,” says Heiko Redecker, CAD designer at Pyga. “This makes it very quick to get used to its functionality and learn new features. It includes simple yet powerful surface design capabilities that are ideal for designing aesthetically pleasing consumer products.”
The parametric design tools of Solid Edge are particularly useful for fast scaling of frame sizes, instead of creating new size models from scratch each time. Direct modeling powered by synchronous technology enables Pyga to quickly make changes to CAD models from any source, and the fast changes also help reduce prototyping time. With Solid Edge, designers can use assembly design sketches to define overall shapes and link part interfaces, enabling fast and easy design changes in a top-down approach.
A full-suspension bicycle design begins with the definition of the suspension kinematics, which determine the connection points between the different linkages of the suspension. Once these are determined, the 3D CAD design process begins. Using a top-down approach with Solid Edge, assembly sketches define the overall shape of the bicycle. Then the individual parts are modeled within the assembly and linked using interpart copies and constraints.
Pyga relies on Siemens Digital Industries Software solution partner ESTEQ. “We have had great technical support from ESTEQ regarding the purchase as well as installation and licensing of Solid Edge,” says Redecker. “ESTEQ has also provided assistance with detailed durability testing, measurement and simulation services to validate our mountain bike designs.”
The advanced capabilities of Solid Edge have enabled Pyga to explore new design possibilities and improve the performance, aesthetics and quality of its bicycles. “The implementation of Solid Edge 3D CAD software with complex surfacing capabilities allowed us to create intricate designs of our high-end carbon composite bikes and redesign the existing aluminum models,” says Morewood.
“In the past it has taken us three to four months to create a new frame design,” Morewood explains. “This time frame has been reduced to two-and-a-half to three months using Solid Edge. Late-stage design changes now take, on average, one to three hours compared to a whole day in the past. These productivity gains help us reduce time-to-market, which is crucial in the fast-changing mountain bike industry.”