Customer Story: Trek Bicycle
Trek’s engineering teams harness the Lumafield Neptune industrial CT scanner and Voyager software to deliver high-performance products that benefit their riders.
- Trek engineers use Lumafield’s industrial CT technology to inspect prototypes, find and correct manufacturing flaws, conduct failure analysis, and accelerate product development.
- Voyager allows Trek engineers to access, share, analyze, and visualize scan data seamlessly. With its browser-based and user-friendly interface, colleagues collaborate, leave comments, and resolve issues in real-time.
- CT provides Trek engineers with deep insights into battery enclosure design, latching mechanisms, and overall performance.
- With CT, Trek comprehensively studies how impacts affect various bike and helmet materials. The ability to perform precise measurements after multiple impacts provides engineers with invaluable information for refining designs and improving rider safety.
We were founded in a barn in 1976, and since then we’ve been built on the most advanced rocket science available. Lumafield’s technology is the continuation of that, an engineering tool that brings us further into the future.
– Chad Manuell, Global Director of Engineering, Trek
Trek Bicycle is on a mission to make the world a better place to live and ride. Despite humble beginnings in a Wisconsin barn, Trek has been on the cutting edge from day one. Starting with its visionary early entry into carbon fiber bike frames, Trek’s engineering teams continue to embrace new technologies that will benefit their riders.
CT scanning had been on Trek’s wishlist for a long time, but the complexity and cost of legacy systems kept this vital inspection tool out of reach. Easy to use and an order of magnitude less expensive than competitors, the Lumafield Neptune scanner and Voyager analysis software made it possible for Trek to add CT to its frontline toolkit for the first time. Chad Manuell, Global Director of Engineering, recalls, “When we got the opportunity to bring a Neptune in-house, we jumped on it.” Ever since, the Neptune scanner and Voyager analysis software have been delivering actionable insights to help Trek create products that both they and their customers love.
Modernizing product development
Believe it or not, the go-to inspection technique for most products is still to cut them open with a saw. The process is time-consuming, messy, and often destroys the very features that need to be inspected.
When you tear a part down, you only get one shot, and you may damage it in the process.
– Jason Schuster, Bontrager Product Design Engineer, Trek
Examining parts non-destructively with industrial CT, unlike traditional teardown methods, allows Trek to ensure that every part is made to specifications and meets their high standards. Larry Lardieri, Product Design Engineer, notes that “The Neptune scanner has given us the ability to look at our prototypes even more closely. It helps us address issues like adhesion, porosity, and plastic part design shrinkage.” For examination at this level of precision, cutting parts in half cannot compete with CT.
Using Voyager’s suite of comparative analysis tools, including CAD Comparison, Trek tunes design and production parameters to quickly detect flaws in the manufacturing process. By overlaying a CAD file on a scan of a finished physical product, Voyager computes deviation from the design and visualizes it using color maps.
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Saving valuable time as well as the cost of scrapped parts, industrial CT smooths the way for Trek to quickly and reliably bring the cycling products of the future to market.
The Neptune scanner really speeds up the product development process.
– Chad Manuell Global Director of Engineering, Trek
Harnessing the power of collaborative analysis
Legacy CT systems process and store data locally, usually requiring a dedicated operator and hardware system. Interacting with this invaluable data has traditionally been restricted to technicians. Lumafield's cloud-based software, however, gives engineers direct access to their scan data, and lets them share it with colleagues.
One of the great things about Voyager is that anyone from Trek is able to go through the raw data. By sharing a simple link, someone from a different department simultaneously can go in, slice, highlight, and drill into the different details they want to see. Having all that data up front is very valuable.
– Larry Lardieri, Product Design Engineer, Trek
Lumafield’s Voyager analysis software allows Trek engineers to easily access and share scan data, collaborate on analysis workflows, and visualize both external and internal features — all within their own web browser. Colleagues can author bookmarks, leave comments, and resolve problems in real-time using Voyager’s user-friendly interface. Trek engineers also use Voyager’s high-resolution images of both 2D slice planes and 3D volumetric reconstructions for internal presentations, soliciting feedback from across teams and charting the progress of product development.
Advancing e-bike battery technology
The electronics of the future are powered by lithium-ion batteries, which must be carefully designed and manufactured to avoid flaws that cause fires. This is especially true of products that push the limits of size, weight, and ergonomics. And the closer a battery is to the human body, the more important safety becomes. Trek has emerged as an industry leader in electric bikes, and its engineers are constantly innovating on cell design while keeping rider well-being top of mind.
CT scanners are the best technology for understanding the inner workings of batteries in the e-bike space.
– Zach Madeiros, eSystems Mechanical Design Engineer, Trek
For Trek’s eSystems team, CT scanning emerged as the safest and most effective way to inspect the details of these critical components. For batteries, destructive testing not only deprives engineers of insight, it is also dangerous. As eSystems Mechanical Design Engineer Zach Madeiros puts it “The last product you should tear down with a hammer, vice, or a clamp is a battery, because it’s actually a hazard to do that.” With industrial CT, Trek engineers gain deep insights into battery enclosure design, latching mechanisms, and overall performance. There is no room for error, and Voyager’s advanced dimensioning tools allow for automated measurements that help ensure the integrity and performance of lithium-ion batteries.
Enhancing safety by quantifying impact
Rider safety is a top priority at Trek, and CT scanning has proven indispensable to refining both bike frame and helmet design by illuminating how they respond to crashes. With Neptune and Voyager, Trek engineers comprehensively study the way impacts affect a wide variety of materials used in bike parts and helmets.
To understand which materials and frame designs are less susceptible to everyday damage from rock strikes and collisions, Trek engineers intentionally impact sections of bike frames and then analyze them with Lumafield’s CT scanning platform. Voyager enables engineers “to be able to do some real exact measurements of the damage site after the first hit, second hit, third hit,” Chad Manuell says, which “allows us much more information than was previously available.”
Meghan Bland-Rothgeb, a Helmet Research Engineer at Trek, receives helmets that have experienced impacts, uses CT to quantify the damage, and then recreates the scenario in a controlled laboratory environment. This allows Trek to optimize design to create the best-fitting and most protective helmets possible. Lumafield’s Expanded Scan Volume feature broadens the field of view on the Neptune scanner, enabling the inspection of parts that are up to 80% larger than before. Bike helmets fall into this range and can now be fully scanned at high resolution.
Expanded Scan Volume allows me to take fewer steps to quantify the damage to a helmet.
– Meghan Bland-Rothgeb, Helmet Research Engineer, Trek
Trek’s meticulous, data-driven approach to understanding bike frame and head impact dynamics fuels the development of longer-lasting and more reliable products.
The future of innovation
The Neptune scanner has given us the ability to not only test products that we’re working on, but also take a finalized product, look backwards, and make sure it meets our specifications.
– Jason Schuster, Bontrager Product Design Engineer, Trek
Trek harnesses the power of Lumafield’s Neptune CT scanner and Voyager analysis software to fortify their product development process. From non-destructive testing of bike frames and parts to advancing e-bike battery technology and enhancing safety through quantifying impact, Trek is poised to advance its mission of getting more people on bikes by guiding the next phase of cycling innovation.