Unique Improved impeller design in fluid cycle trainer leads to company savings and increased consumer satisfaction
A leading manufacturer of recreational equipment partnered with NOVATION to upgrade the design of their fluid trainer, an indoor-training device that engages a street bicycle in a stationary position while rotating the rear wheel to stimulate outdoor cycling. The original product design used a metal impeller; however, the company sought to convert to a more lightweight, cost-effective design using plastic. The conversion of the impeller from metal to plastic required precision in mass, as well as design, to maintain optimum resistance in fluid resistance as well as durability. NOVATION provided engineering, design and support to convert the impeller to plastic, which lead to lower costs, higher durability, and increased consumer satisfaction of the fluid trainers.
“With NOVATION’s ingenuity and innovation, the finished impeller was able to decrease sound, provide better balance, and create near-zero vibration, leading to increased consumer satisfaction and company savings.”
- Impeller conversion from metal to plastic
- Material engineering
- Prototype and testing
- Reduced manufacturing costs
CHALLENGE: A manufacturer of indoor bicycle trainers needed a supplier that would provide engineering, design and support to convert the metal impeller in their fluid bicycle trainer to plastic. An impeller works inside the aluminum casing to interrupt the liquid’s motion to create resistance and deliver a road-like experience. It was critical to find a manufacturer that would be able to convert the metal impeller to plastic with the precision needed to maintain the functionality and efficiency that the metal part provided. Durability was also a key challenge, as the new materials used would need to match, if not exceed, the durability of the existing metal construction. Consumer feedback was also a catalyst to the conversion, and the improved design was necessary to improve overall satisfaction. The company also prides itself in using local suppliers as much as possible, with location also being an important part in the decision process
SOLUTION: Since the new material was critical to the proper function of the fluid trainers, NOVATION engineers chose Glass Reinforced Nylon (GRN) for the improved design of the impeller component. GRN is a highly durable material that is also abrasion and impact resistant. In fluid trainers, the impeller interrupts oil in the enclosed casing to cause resistance that is comparable to riding outside, therefore GRN was also chosen because of its chemical resistance to oils. Overheating of the housing is a common issue, which can often decrease the longevity of fluid trainers. GRN provides the durability that the company was looking to maintain since it is reinforced by glass and prevents thermal expansion over time.
Consumer experience was also a top priority during the engineering process. With NOVATION’s ingenuity and innovation, the finished impeller was able to decrease sound, provide better balance, and create near-zero vibration, leading to increased consumer satisfaction and company savings.