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Realize Client Profile – Zipp

Wednesday, February 27, 2013 by Ray

There are many exciting things going on at Realize. The focus of our business is advancing the excellence of our clients projects. Zipp Speed Weaponry, based in Indianapolis, serves a select group of elite companies and athletes, globally located and committed to bicycle & wheelchair competition. Zipp meets customer’s needs for the highest performance, superlative quality components through innovative design and manufacturing utilizing the best material and technology available. Basically, really cool bike stuff! Check out this video about how we work together.

We talked with Design Engineer Ben Waite about the latest happenings at Zipp.

Ben Waite – Design Engineer

1- Tell me about your business?
Zipp is a manufacturer of the highest end bicycle components for road riding and triathlon.  Our parent company, SRAM, manufacturers a wide variety of bicycle components for all types of riding.  We have 2500 employees worldwide and our mission to enhance the rider’s experience through comfort, speed and reliability.


2- How is Rapid Prototyping used by your company?

We use rapid prototyping for a variety of reasons.  We use them to perform form and fit testing that we cannot do in the 3D CAD space.  Rapid prototyping is obviously quicker than getting parts CNC’ed, but it is also exponentially cheaper.  We can iterate a design a few times and get a rapid prototype each time for a fraction of the cost of machined parts.  This expedites time to market and allows us to be fully confident of our designs when we invest in very expensive molds. For some products, namely handlebars, rapid prototyping allows us to test out ergonomics that are nearly impossible to understand in CAD.  Comfort and bike fit is a key part of the rider’s experience and we want to make sure that they are getting the most from their invest in Zipp products.

Seatpost prototypes

3- What services and projects did you partner with Realize on?

I think the better question is what projects do we *not* partner with Realize on.  I believe every handlebar project I have worked on has made use of rapid prototypes in some manner.  In fact, there are many projects that did not come to fruition that we used rapid prototypes on. For wheels, we also use Realize to make rapid prototypes that we can take to the wind tunnel and test the aerodynamics of a particular design.


Zipp Wheel

4- How was the experience working with Realize? Realize is top-notch.  Their delivery is lightning fast, the quality is amazing and it is quite obvious they value their customers.  And they are just good guys (and gals!) that you would like to hang out with on the weekends.


5- Where is your business headed in the future?

We will continue to use Realize in many capacities to further our product development.  I hope that one day we can work with Realize to make functional rapid prototypes that are strong enough to ride and test.

6- If you could select one personal item to be created or duplicated using Rapid Prototyping technology, what would that be?

Easy question – I would rapid prototype an updated design to one of the fastest bikes ever produced – the Zipp 3001.  Zipp started making this bike decades ago but it still beats many of today’s “super bikes” in the wind tunnel.  With a couple of tweaks, the wind wouldn’t even be able to come close to seeing it!

Zipp 3001

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