UK Design Firm Uses SolidWorks to Help Snowboarding Helmet Become Hit in Auto Racing
Curventa and RuRoc Adapt Original Design for Formula One Pit Crew Safety Wear
CONCORD, Mass., DEC. 14, 2009 – A UK-based design firm used SolidWorks® 3D CAD software to transform an innovative snowboard helmet design into an instant hit among Formula One racing crews looking for light, strong head protection.
Industrial design firm Curventa helped client RuRoc create the “Storm Trooper” snowboarding helmet that launched the company in 2007. Developed in SolidWorks software, the molded plastic helmet’s edgy styling and its seamless combination of goggles, face mask, and head protection quickly won over snowboarders and the British version of GQ magazine, which named it a Product of the Year before it was even in full production. However, the helmets gained even wider acceptance when Formula One race crews started wearing them as safety gear in the pit during races.
“Crews usually wore motorcycle helmets, but a lot of the mechanics found them too hot and heavy to wear during races,” said Curventa Director Ian Murison. “In 2008, the Red Bull team contacted RuRoc and said they wanted to use the snowboarding helmets for their crews. We made some modifications and added flame retardant materials to the helmets, and they broke on the Formula One scene last season. Pretty soon, the McLaren team ordered chromed helmets for their pit crew. Now RuRoc has distributors in North American, Canada, and Europe selling to other motorsport teams.”
Curventa did the design work for RuRoc founder, Rob Gavin, when he came to the London firm with a rough physical model of a snowboarding helmet that protected faces from extreme cold while venting enough to prevent goggles from fogging over. Curventa laser scanned the helmet design then entered the data into the SolidWorks 3D design environment.
“We created the early designs in blue foam, and once approved by the client we laser scanned them into SolidWorks. From then on, we were designing and detailing on the fly within SolidWorks,” Murison said. “We did a lot of adjusting inside SolidWorks, tweaking the helmet design to adjust how it fit in the back, for example, or how it moved when the wearer turned their head. SolidWorks really held up well during that process.”
SolidWorks Freeform feature enables designers like Curventa to create, modify and manipulate complex shapes in a virtual environment, which is faster and cheaper than working with physical models. Freeform enabled Curventa to modify the helmet’s shape quickly through dozens of iterations until it was ready for production.
“Innovative design is becoming the standard in every consumer-oriented market,” said Simon Booker, European marketing manager at Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corp. “SolidWorks has continuously added features and functionality that enable designers to do creative design work – making a product ergonomically and aesthetically superior – on the computer screen so they can innovate freely.”
Curventa relies on SolidWorks Authorized Reseller NT CADCAM for ongoing software training, implementation, and support.
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