Yesterday’s final stage in the Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris marked the end of the 2016 Tour De France. Over the years, many bikes in the world-renowned competition have been made with composites. However, before the race even began this year, every bike frame had to be certified as both safe and fair. In years past, the Union Cyclist Internationale (UCI) has struggled accelerate the validation process.
To make that easier and faster, a bike measurement system developed by Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence and implemented by UCI has ensured that bikes at the Tour De France are good to go. The system, known as the ROMER Absolute Arm, is a portable measurement machine that verifies that a 3D scan data captured from a bike’s prototype meets the dimensions outlined in its previously approved technical drawings.
To accurately interpret the drawings, UCI recruited the assistance of local engineering university Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, of Aigle, Switzerland. The university’s Laboratory of Polymer and Composite Technology (LTC) is considered a leader in the development and analysis of composite materials like carbon fiber, Kevlar, and next-generation composite materials.
Using just nine simple commands, ROMER users can check the validity of the physical bike frame against its associated computer-assisted design (CAD) model in minutes and generate easy-to-understand checking reports. An inspector simply moves the scanner over different sections of the frame as it collects 3D points from the frame surface. The arm allows UCI officials to inspect parts of a bike frame that are made with carbon fiber, many of which are highly reflective and difficult to scan.
To get a visual sense of how ROMER works, check out this video below: