When James Engineering decided to add automotive systems and specialized racing kart products to its established product line of deburring machines, the company’s founder and Principal Engineer, Jim Richards, knew his challenges. “We got into kart design late in the game. The field is 30 years old and our competitors have a lot of accrued knowledge,” said Richards.
But the team found a way around their lack of experience. The end result was a racing kart that is a radical departure from mainstream design of these specialized vehicles, which have motors, transmissions, and solid rear axles, but no suspension systems to shift their weight during turns to keep them under control.
So how did a company like James become competitive? It found a way to cut prototyping costs, which meant conceiving the best possible product before locking into a design. Richards and his staff used COSMOSWorks® design analysis and COSMOSMotion™ motion analysis software to anticipate structural problems and mechanical collisions in the kart and brake systems before they committed to building expensive prototypes.
“I’m a pretty good intuitive designer, but COSMOS improves my chances of getting it right the first time,” said Richards. In the past, the company spent as much as two weeks building and assembling components only to discover they did not work as expected. With the design and motion analysis programs, engineers can see on the computer how the assembly will flex under stress and whether parts will collide. They can then modify the design before spending money to build a prototype. “These programs gave us the ability to step up and leap over competitors’ practical experience by modeling many different kinds of chassis to see how they would perform under varying conditions,” said Richards.
The chassis uses a new bearing and joint design to keep the kart stable on curves. COSMOSMotion analysis helped Richards develop a front geometry that kept the front end planted firmly on the ground.
Cosmos FEA software helped Jim Richards
design a racing kart that does not have suspension systems to shift
weight during turns.
The kart’s chassis uses a new bearing and
joint design for stability on curves. The new front geometry keeps the
front end planted firmly on the ground.
From karts to brakes
Richards develops automotive and aerospace systems in addition to karts. He is currently refining a unique design for a truck braking system. The braking system uses oil pressure in the wheel housing to slow the wheel. Using oil to exert pressure on the rotor decreases the chance of the breaks locking up. The FEA software helps determine how the brakes will perform as physical objects.
The company also uses COSMOS in its primary business of custom deburring machines for automotive and aerospace applications.
:: Design World ::
Filed Under: 3D CAD, Automotive, FEA software