Innovation and collaborative, synchronized program management for new programs
Rurok Industries is a progressive bike company built upon the convergence of inspired engineering and modern bike design thought. Whether it’s about winning races, going on an adventure, or just out to have fun, Rurok strives to make better bikes and deliver an #engineeredexperience.
Rurok Industries was formed to produce performance mountain bikes because the founders were not satisfied with the bikes that they were using. Rurok embarked on a journey to improve mountain bikes based on their experiences riding in the Philippines. The driving force behind the formation of the company was a key conviction: “Bikes should move forward, progress and get better, just as the rider does,” says P.J. Tolentino, the founder and head engineer at Rurok Industries.
The performance bike industry is a highly competitive market and Rurok wanted to distinguish itself from the competition through innovation, leveraging rider experience and feedback and using cutting-edge technology and tools. “We believe that a local Filipino company can be globally competitive through innovation,” Tolentino says.
Developing high-end, precision-engineered products is challenging, especially for innovative new products. Innovative bike design requires a comprehensive testing and prototyping process. Tolentino outlines some of the challenges the company faced when starting out. “We had to thoroughly test our designs before we went into production. We were always working on uncharted waters and 99 percent of the time our early prototypes didn’t work very well. Creating physical prototypes is very costly and time-consuming.”
Frustrated with traditional parametric modeling software and its limitations, Rurok decided to adopt Siemens Solid Edge® software for computer-aided design (CAD).
“When we were using a purely parametric modeling software, shaping parts meant a lot of punching in numbers,” Tolentino explains. “Often times, the shape that we had in our head does not look like the final design, mostly because we were constrained to design in fixed shapes and numbers. Synchronous technology of Solid Edge was a more expressive way to shape and design our parts. Instead of drawing shapes and punching numbers, we now sketch out shapes with a digital pen and the synchronous technology sculpts the shape. We push, pull and bend the design instead of punching in numbers.”
The design workflow is much more streamlined and now Rurok can transform design ideas into manufacturable parts with ease. Using Solid Edge, Rurok has been able to streamline its prototyping process, greatly reducing engineering costs and vastly improving its success rate for the prototyping of parts. The development time for parts has been reduced by 20 percent.
Because Rurok is a small start-up business, any cost savings are vital, and the new technology has enabled Rurok to grow and expand its product offerings and to reallocate resources to other aspects of the business.
Another important capability of Solid Edge that has been indispensable for Rurok is generative design, which can optimize complex shapes to balance weight and strength and minimize manufacturing material waste. It has allowed Rurok to produce optimized parts more efficiently.
“Before using Solid Edge, we used finite element analysis simulations to evaluate which areas of the parts are less stressed, then figured out the shape that would remove those parts,” says Tolentino. “There is a lot of estimation being done with this approach, and the final design is far from perfect.”
The previous design process resulted in sub-optimal component designs. Using the generative design capability of Solid Edge, the software optimizes designs based on sketches and design parameters (materials, design envelope, loads and constraints), ensuring a much more efficient and speedy design process. “Using Solid Edge this is a much easier and quicker process,” Tolentino says. “And it’s a much more optimized design, and which we couldn’t have achieved with our old design tools, where we did everything manually.”
The overall stiffness and weight of the bike are the two most important features for racing bikes. Using Solid Edge, Rurok has been able to produce parts that are 50 percent stiffer than previous products and parts have become 20 percent lighter (normalized by length) compared to older designs.
Rurok is founded on racing and performance and the feedback from its race team is critical to pushing the limits of its products. Most of the functional parts on the bike are prototyped and tested by the race team, and the team quickly relays insights to the design and engineering team. “For example, one of our riders mentioned that there’s a lot of flex in one of our prototypes,” Tolentino explains. “How can we translate that flex into something that we could change on our bikes to reduce flex and increase stiffness? We use our fixtures, testing equipment and simulation to determine where the flex is coming from, and change the design accordingly. Every millimeter of our bikes is designed and specified by us.”
The continuous testing of parts and products has driven innovation and pushed the boundaries of performance mountain bikes at Rurok. The company is growing and in 2019 offered three different models of mountain bike (Cordillera, Kanalaon and most recently, the Halcon) internationally. The company’s goals for the future are simple – to keep making better bikes and to keep riding.