DMC developed a LabVIEW application to perform automated endurance and lifecycle testing of bicycle clutches for use in the World Bike program. The LabVIEW application controls an Animatics 'SmartMotor' servo that is coupled to the clutch. By rotating the clutch through specified angular displacements at specified angular velocities, the system simulates extended operation of the clutch under real-world bicycle riding conditions.
World Bike is a collaborative bicycle development aimed to providing an alternative to simply walking long distances for transportation of both people and cargo in poor rural communities. As the world bike site states, the World Bikes are designed to "withstand large loads, rough terrain and inclement weather and are configured to be not only affordable, but also maintained and repaired locally". To meet these requirement s every component that goes into the bicycle must be highly robust, require very infrequent maintenance that requires no specialized tools or extensive mechanical knowledge, and must have minimal failure modes under heavy extended use and harsh operating conditions. These requirements, in turn, necessitated that considerable endurance and lifecycle testing be performed on the customer's newly designed clutches to verify their suitability for the World Bike program.
The system includes a highly versatile test sequence configuration interface. This allows users to string together series of steps (like basic motion commands) to create complex clutch drive profiles that simulate its actual real-world operation. Such motion profiles can then be repeated for any desired number of test cycles. The ability to run long duration endurance tests with one click with no need for operator intervention or supervision has allowed the customer to collect extensive and valuable data with minimal time commitments from engineers or technicians.