Sensational speed, superb styling and powerful performance depend on the best materials, the most innovative fabrication techniques and the finest tuning. Operating at the highest level of motor racing competition FTRMoto (Fabrication Techniques Racing Motorcycles) combines a passion for the sport with over twenty years of experience building customised parts.
A fabrication company with a reputation for design excellence, it is a market leader in the production of high quality racing machinery and components. Over the years it has supplied to Formula 1Ò, sports car, touring car and World Superbike teams. Racetracks across the globe, including Silverstone, run the single seat race car designed and built by FTR. After a rule change in 2009 and the introduction of the Moto 2 Class within MotoGP, FTRMoto became a racing brand in its own right.
FTRMoto is particularly known for styling, prototyping and the aerodynamic testing it carries out using innovative computational fluid dynamics software; in particular this helps to minimise the use of resources during the manufacturing process.
“A lot of teams race but do not have an inhouse design team so we supply this expertise,” explains Martin Butler, Design Engineer.
By 2012 the company’s rapid growth and the recruitment of additional designers who had their own favourite software resulted in the use of several CAD packages.
“It got to the point where this was preventing us from working together effectively,” commented Butler. “We had issues around communication, organisation of workflow and the ability to make quick design amendments.”
It became clear that a new software solution was required for the whole team and in the summer of 2013 Majenta Solutions supplied five licenses of Product Design Suite, a comprehensive solution of 3D design, simulation, collaboration and visualisation tools. These were provided under the Autodesk Clean Tech Partner Program, which gives digital prototyping software at a nominal fee to innovative companies working on technologies that incorporate energy efficient processes and sustainable use of materials.
There was just time to implement this in the short window prior to an intense autumn designing for the 2014 season.
“Majenta provided some excellent user training for Inventor, Vault and Alias; we found that it was very thorough,” remarked Butler.
“With any new CAD package, familiarisation is the main key”, he continued. “A lot of them have similar commands and prompts but it’s always frustrating when you know what you want to do, but can’t find the way of doing it. The helpdesk experts at Majenta are spot on, even when it seems like the most obvious question, they are always willing to help.”
The new tools give FTRMoto the opportunity to mix and match different methods of designing. Bodywork, for example, is first produced using traditional techniques working with clay. Shapes are scanned and then reverse engineered within Alias.
“This works particularly well for A class surfaces which we like to be organic in shape, in fact we use clay for all new wheels, chassis and suspensions,” Butler comments. “Then we will design any metal parts or mechanical components that require hand fitting in Inventor. The majority of any bike we build is made of weldable aluminium.”
As a fabrication specialist, FTRMoto has a dedicated machine shop with a 5-axis machine and a busy team welding, bending, pressing, forming and trimming. Designers export 3D model and 2D drawing files to the team so that parts can be cut and machined directly from digital data and can be held in the hand within hours.
After the first cycle of testing is completed in November, results are assessed, design changes are made and the machine shop produces new parts. The final fitting to the bike has to be completed by the end of January so that there is time left to transport the bike by air to the first race.
According to Butler the team is 50% more efficient in the final critical phase prior to the new season. “We now model parts, produce detail drawings and export files for the machine shops to process. All this information is placed in Vault, with all the live parts in one area, so that our buyers can access information. The way the folders are laid out allows quick access to information and not only here in the office, users can also access Vault remotely. This is extremely important when parts are arriving at the test site on an hourly basis prior to the first test at the start of February. Certainly the Autodesk product along with support from Majenta Solutions has allowed us to reach this point more efficiently.”
He concludes, “Having used a multitude of different CAD software packages with a range of support services from different suppliers I can honestly say that the software and support we have received from Majenta have been outstanding.”