We've helped reinvent the wheel!

We've helped reinvent the wheel! from Plunkett Associates

By: Plunkett Associates  22/07/2013
Keywords: New product development, Prototype and production parts and moulds

For the last four years we've been working with Sam Pearce from Jelly Products to help him prototype and produce a revolutionary new bicycle wheel. Featuring an innovative three spring suspension system, the loopwheel is designed to make cycling more comfortable. The springs are made from a carbon composite and sit between the hub and the rim of the wheel, providing 45mm suspension and an incredibly smooth ride.
Unlike traditional suspension forks, loopwheels provide tangential suspension, i.e. they work in every direction. That means they respond to a head on force such as a kerb in the same way they would do a force from above or below, such as a pothole. The loopwheel was officially launched at the Bespoked bike show in Bristol on the 12th April and was launched as a Kickstarter campaign the following week. Jelly Products hopes the Kickstarter campaign will generate the £40k required to upscale production from individual wheels to batch production. Plunkett Associates has a long standing relationship with Jelly Products and has been heavily involved in the production of the loopwheel. "Basically I've been using Plunkett Associates' services every month for the last four years. I tell Tim what parts I need and what my timescales and budget are and he sources an appropriate supplier from his extensive supplier base." Sam Pearce, Jelly Products Ltd How does the loopwheel technology work? The carbon composite springs were carefully developed and tested to give optimum compression and lateral stability, as well as strength and durability. Specially designed connectors attach the springs to the hub and rim and the three springs work together as a self-correcting system. The spring configuration allows for the torque to be transferred smoothly between the hub and the rim. Four years of testing and development Jelly Products has worked closely with Plunkett Associates to produce prototype and pre-production, and now production parts. The project kicked off with a requirement for prototype metal springs and connectors. Whilst the springs are now being produced from a carbon composite, Sam from Jelly Products has relied on Plunkett Associates to produce a low pressure plastic mould tool from which they can be manufactured. Sam comments, "I've relied on Tim from Plunkett Associates to source suppliers for parts and tools throughout this four year process. Tim's experience, expertise and supplier base have been fundamental to us getting this project off the ground. Together we've worked really hard on the design and the parts, and to get the components, production, assembly time and cost down, so that we could produce a wheel of exceptional quality within our target price range." He adds, "Putting the product on Kickstarter in order to raise the funds for tooling has meant we've had to be very accurate with our costings. Tim's been as essential part of the process from prototyping to helping us nail the production and costs. We now have an accurate price for supplying all the non-off-the-shelf components and costs for tooling to produce the specialist parts in-house." A smooth ride Plunkett Associates has been delighted to have been involved in the loopwheel from its initial concept to its official launch. Working with Sam we have been able to guide and advise him on the most appropriate methods and materials for prototype and production parts and tools. Taking into consideration budget and timescales throughout the process, we have been able to source suppliers from within the UK and China to produce parts and tooling to help bring the loopwheel into production.

Keywords: New product development, Prototype and production parts and moulds