Title
SPOKE TENSION BALANCING MACHINE:
Performance and Quality Enhanced by Microcontroller Application
Technologies used

Microprocessor, PCB

Industrial sector (PRODCOM code)
    29 Special Purpose Machinery
Abstract
Best Machine Development (BMD), established in 1994, is a small, growing company, employing 12 people, with a turnover of 1,5 M€ in 1996. The BMD employees holding more than 10 years experience in the design, engineering, production, sales and services of bicycle manufacturing tools and machines. The company produces and services production machinery and testing equipment for the bicycle industries all over the world. Next to it, a main part of BMD's sales comes from revision and upgrading of production equipment. Until this FUSE demonstration project, BMD products have been mainly mechanical products. This can be regarded as quite normal, since the bicycle industry as a whole has not shown any signs of innovation until now. However, BMD recognised the fact that microelectronics will be ultimately critical for their business and the decision was made to invest. In 1994/1995 they subcontracted the development of their first micro-controller-oriented product: the Spoke Tension meter. In this Application Experiment, BMD has integrated the spoke-tension-measuring concept and their experience with mechanical wheel-balancing machines into a fully automated spoke wheel-balancing machine. This machine will be directed to the large accounts in the bicycle industry. This machine, called 'Obelisk', is based on an industrial micro-controller system, a number of microprocessor controlled special interface PCB's, fibre-network interconnections and includes specialised calculation routines. The machine can operate different wheel diameters, with a capacity up to 50 wheels / hour enhancing as well variety- as volume flexibility of the production line. The machine can operate online as well on as off line. The operation is now less labour intensive, speeds up testing by 30% and accuracy by 25%. The development of this spoke tension balancing-machine started in February 1996 and ended 12 months later in January 1997. The costs involved in the development of the microelectronics, the embedded software and the calculation algorithms summed up to 135 K€. With the development of the mechanics, the preparation for production and the market introduction, total investment costs will amount up to 390 K€. The micro electronic investment will be paid back with 15 machines sold, which will be reached by the end of the year 2000, 3 ½ years after introduction into the market. The ROI is expected to be about 350%, after six years. BMD has acquired the skills of PCB design and the development of embedded microprocessor systems. In addition to this, BMD acquired insight in the special calculation routines to be used in the adjustment of height and sidestroke of the bicycle wheel. They have learned a lot with respect to the EMC implications of microprocessor technology. Due to the product re-design, they developed a new product development strategy, on which three replications already have been realised. BMD has learned that there are many factors to take into consideration at the start of a new machine development that are not so obvious because they are not of a technical nature. For instance the educational level of service engineers, the type and the way to operate the user-interface and the CE regulations has an impact on design, supplier- and system selection. With the introduction of this machine, and other replications, BMD has now won itself a top position in the world market of machines for the bicycle industry. In order to keep ahead of competition it is BMD's strategy to stay highly innovative.
Company
Best Machine Development (BMD)
Purmerenderweg 124
1461 DL Zuidoost-Beemster
The Netherlands

Detailed information

You can also benefit from microelectronics

Best Machine Development (BMD) technology provided Microprocessor, PCB with the means of improving its products and enhancing its market position. You can also achieve significant benefits by acquiring the right microelectronics technology and utilising it in your product or manufacturing process. You can get help from FUSE to realise this.

FUSE is a technology transfer programme, funded by the European Commission to stimulate the wider use of microelectronics technologies by European enterprises to increase their competitiveness and enhance their economic growth. The demonstrator described here is one of many examples in the public FUSE portfolio covering the whole spectrum of microelectronics technologies and spanning a wide range of applications and industry sectors.

FUSE provides you with:

  • Best practice in acquiring specific microelectronics technologies and conducting full development projects through the FUSE portfolio of real life demonstrator documents.
  • Local training and expert support to plan your innovation realistically and help you conduct your project successfully.

Further information and support relating to this and other demonstrators can be obtained from the addresses below.


Further information   Guiding Technology Transfer Node
For further information and support regarding this case study, please contact a Technology Transfer Node (TTN) in your region.
Homepage: http://www.fuse-network.com
Syntens
Postbus 1001
NL-3900 BA Veenendaal
The Netherlands