Have you ever thought, “I love this product, but it would be even better if…”? Maybe you wish it were more durable, lighter or even more aesthetically pleasing. Perhaps if it had more features, or operated under more grueling conditions, it would better fit your needs. While you may not think about these little things very often, we at Jacobs Analytics are obsessed with these details and believe in perpetual innovation. We have taken the answers to these questions and designed things like a stronger bike frame and a colder water.
The products we use everyday make our lives easier and more efficient; and when they work well enough, we tend not to think much about them. Then one day you come across a better version and realize the product you have been using did have room for improvement, and the improved design makes your daily experience that much better.
We have a team that actually loves to use science, creativity, and simulations to design better products. We devote a significant amount of time in coming up with new and innovative solutions to everyday problems that most people never imagine. Whether it be improvements to existing equipment or the combination of multiple items into one device, we are busy developing the products you didn’t know you couldn’t live without. Jacobs Analytics has a dynamic and nimble product innovation team that is obsessed with imagining, creating and engineering better solutions to improve common products and invent new ones.
Better Products Through Simulation
Our team uses ANSYS as a strategic weapon in the design, development, and testing of products which improves the quality and gets them to market much faster. By using the ANSYS suite of modeling tools, we gain incredible insights into the form and function of anything we are conceptualizing. This is an integral part of our development process because we can quickly decide if an idea is worth pursuing based on the answers the simulations provides. If it works, awesome. If it doesn’t, we are on to the next big idea! This year we developed some exciting products that will be released later this year.
Titanium Mountain Bike Frame
We have also developed a titanium bike frame that will be fabricated by additive manufacturing using ANSYS Mechanical to optimize the frame’s strength and stiffness. The titanium bike frame will weigh the same or less than the best carbon fiber bikes on the market, but will be incredibly tough and durable, able to withstand even the most grueling torture tests and take an incredible amount of punishment without damage. Our titanium frame is designed for a 300-pound rider and a 4x gravitational load, giving us a 1,200 pound design load. Unlike its carbon-fiber counterparts, it will not splinter or crack under these conditions because it absorbs energy considerably better. Additionally, the frame is encapsulated in a hybrid composite material and covered with a protective skin that makes it immune to damage from impact due to rocks and trees.
Using ANSYS SpaceClaim to create a surface model and ANSYS Mechanical to perform the simulations, we analyzed multiple configurations and architectures of the titanium bike frame. We wanted the lightest possible bike frame with the highest possible stiffness, with a built-in 1.5 safety factor. We varied the thickness of different structural members of the frame and created a table of weight versus deflection.
We also varied the spacing of the structural ribs and calculated the weight, stiffness and safety factor.
The size of the frame geometry was varied to achieve these stiffness, weight, and safety factor goals. From this we created a table comparing hole diameter, weight, stiffness and the safety factor.
After hundreds of different design iterations tested using ANSYS Mechanical Enterprise, we achieved the optimal design with less than 2 mm deflection, a 1.5 safety factor and a total frame weight of 2-pounds or less.
Tough and Rugged Insulated Water Bottles
In a recent meeting our team discussed the use of ANSYS simulation to model the shortcomings of a vacuum-sealed water bottle, as it was a particular frustration for our team. Our team really bonded over this idea, and the result was a tough and rugged stainless steel insulated water bottle. While other models on the market do a great job keeping liquids cold and hot, those qualities disappear as soon as you drop the flask and damage the bottle. Through our research, we have modeled and tested various coating materials that will substantially decrease the risk of damage to the bottle upon impact. Combining simulation with our team’s creativity, ingenuity and knowledge of materials science allows us to create an innovative solution: a water bottle that is lighter, tougher, more ergonomic and, of course, better looking.
The goal was to make the water bottle as light as possible while simultaneously maximizing the thermal insulation properties.
Using ANSYS Mechanical, we ran transient thermal simulations to plot the temperature versus time of the liquid inside the bottle.
We then calculated the heat transfer through the walls of the bottles. To optimize the design, we used ANSYS engineering solutions to simulate hundreds of bottles, with different insulation materials, different insulation thicknesses and different dimensions of the stainless steel inner and outer liner.
Using ANSYS solvers for Explicit Dynamics, we simulated the effects of impact on the bottles and correlated the simulation results with physical test data. This gave us an optimized design that is light and tough.
Products such as water bottles and bikes are nothing new, but we are passionate about making better versions of these everyday items. As a startup, it is amazing to be able to have access to tools like simulation through the ANSYS Startup Program to advance our ideas in the most cost-effective and efficient ways.