A group of passionate British engineers have harnessed the design power of PTC Creo to bring the world’s first fully electric neo-café racer to market.
Arc, which is led by founder and chief executive Mark Truman, is just weeks away from delivering its first Vector to a customer, a landmark moment for the Coventry-based business, which emerged from the White Space innovation team at Jaguar Land Rover.
The innovative motorcycle is believed to be the most advanced ever created, and by replacing the traditional chassis with the battery, it provides a dynamic experience that can sometimes be lost with electric vehicles.
It uses a carbon front swingarm and central hub steering, resulting in a bike that feels similar to one that uses front forks, but offers increased stiffness and the ability to move through steeper steering angles.
Impressively, it takes just 40 minutes to charge, can reach 100km/h in just 3.2 seconds and has a range of over 430km, with a top speed limited to 200mph.
While much of ideation involves a lot of “whiteboards, blackboards, post-it notes and mind maps,” the Arc team needed access to the latest computer-aided design software, so they turned to the market-leading Creo platform of PTC.
They were supported from day one by PTC’s longest-standing platinum partner Root Solutions, a relationship that proved key to the project’s success.
“We’ll have designers working on the surface in Creo and engineers using it to work on parts pretty early on, figuring out how the parts will fit into the product, how to get the quality right, the gaps right, and so on. We want to think about all of this as early as possible and as far forward as possible,” explained Mark Trueman, who during his time at JLR was involved in special projects, including designing the James Bond cars.
“If possible, we wanted to avoid a situation where designers create something and then throw it over the fence to engineers, who are then expected to make it work.
“This often leads to a very contentious process. The designer gets reverse engineered that isn’t quite the same as what they designed, or the engineers get stuck trying to figure out something that just isn’t possible or that will be too expensive to achieve.”
He added: “The collaboration platform really encourages innovation and we are now starting to make the most of new features such as generative design, real-time simulation and even additive manufacturing.”
“When you’re working on your first model, speed to market is critical. You have to get revenue and you have to prove to the industry that an exciting design can become a production reality.”
Another key advantage of Creo 9 is its use for reverse engineering some of the early prototype parts, and Arc’s manufacturing team has used the software to make components that provide better performance and are easier to manufacture.
Mark continued: “There’s also an element of cost elimination because it doesn’t cross your mind at the beginning of the process. It’s only towards the end of the design that you can really start to understand how things will be produced and their cost.
“At this point, there’s a lot of scanning that goes on on those initial parts and then reverse engineering the CAD that we’ve created in terms of generative design that informs us about improvements we can make. It’s fantastic to have this ability to revise and refine with a high degree of accuracy.
“Creo is also used by many of the world’s leading automotive and motorcycle manufacturers and suppliers, and as we grow and look to attract new design talent, we know they will be experienced in the software before they join us. In theory, this should speed up their integration into our team.”
Roger French, managing director of Root Solutions, part of the global PDSVISION group, concluded: “Arc is an exciting British engineering business and we are really pleased that PTC software has played such a crucial role in bringing Vector to market.
“Creo’s functionality and compelling design features enable engineers to push the boundaries of innovation. This is fully reflected in the world’s first fully electric neo-café bike, and fittingly born in Coventry, the home of the transport revolution.”
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