Bromley Post-Sochi Update: You don’t learn if you’re standing still
By John Murray, Industry Manager, Mentor Graphics
For athletes, there are few comparable stages to the Olympics in terms of either prestige or exposure. Like the Football (Soccer) World Cup or Wimbledon, it is a spectacle that draws in a wide audience, one that may not engage with any of the events in question at any other time. For those at the sharp end of the competition, the pressure to deliver upon years of preparation is therefore immense.
Having participated at Sochi 2014 as both athlete and supplier to many of the other teams in the Skeleton, Kristan Bromley understands the nature of this pressure all too well. Post-Sochi, what are the main lessons learnt? “What we do works”, says Kristan “There were consistent indications that our sleds are performing as we needed them to”. These indications – hard numbers from reams of split time data – allow the team at Bromley Technologies to unpick how their sleds are performing independently of the idiosyncrasies of each individual rider.
That the approach worked wasn’t a surprise, the methodical approach taken by Bromley in designing and manufacturing their sleds not only required that they employed cutting edge tools, it also necessitated that the approach itself be consistently scrutinised and questioned. They weren’t just learning, they were learning about learning as they went along.
Such an approach is essential in an environment where performance is under constant and merciless scrutiny. “Skeleton is a small community, meaning that underperforming equipment is not only discovered quickly, it’s rapidly communicated through the ranks.”
Little wonder that Kristan regards knowledge as one of Bromley Technologies key assets. However, without action, knowledge is not only academic but quickly reaches its sell by date. In order to harness and refresh it, Bromley integrate advanced tools and methods throughout the design and manufacture process. Laser metrology of athletes is used in conjunction with FloEFD in order to produce simulations upon which design decisions can confidently be drawn. Engineering and competitive experience is systematically and continuously captured in the design process. Ultimately, this will be harnessed in the sleds that will compete in PyeongChang in 2018.
“FloEFD is an essential part of the process. It’s not just the accuracy – we know from wind tunnel testing that the results are accurate – it’s the ability to turn out these results quickly on my laptop. This gives me the freedom to virtually tweak and revise designs throughout the design and testing phase.” (Figure 2)
So much for those at the cutting edge of sliding sports; what about us mere mortals who are never likely to go near an Olympic track?
The answer is the Baseboard (Figure 3). Launched at the Whistler resort in Canada last year with over 1,000 people trialling it in six days, it returns to the World Ski and Snowboard Festival this year with its own dedicated track.
Serving such diverse markets effectively is only possible because of this knowledge based ethos in combination with tools that can add value to the design process. Distilling the data from testing, simulation and design down to core concepts means that Bromley Technologies can hit very different design requirements without compromising on either. For more information visit: bromleysports.com