Lifestyle Products: RaceWare Direct - Profitable production of durable plastic and metal bicycle accessorie with EOS 3D Printing
Customized equipment for racing bikes - speedy production with low investment costs
Sporty Business Start-up Exploits Additive ManufacturingMartyn Harris has been a keen cyclist since he was 14 and represented Team GB in 2011, when he won the Track Cycling Masters World Championship in the scratch race in the age category 35 to 39. In career terms he is an expert in Additive Manufacturing having been employed at 3T RPD in Newbury since 2000. 3T has EOS machines which are used to build prototypes and fully functional components from plastic and metal powders, directly from CAD models. But even in his professional life Harris’ love of cycling is never far away. In order to combine this passion with his technical knowledge, he founded his company RaceWare Direct in 2012. The company’s product range now includes customized plastic brackets for mounting instruments onto racing bikes and titanium components like chain catchers and handlebar stems.
The variety of Garmin mounts manufactured means that batch sizes are small, from 10-off to the low thousands. It would not be cost-effective to produce them by means of injection moulding, as the tooling would be prohibitively expensive. These investments are not required if parts are manufactured layer-by-layer directly out of nylon powder with the help of the EOS technology. It furthermore it speeds progress from the drawing stage, through refining the design in CAD and 3D printing prototypes, to production of the finished articles. "People find it difficult to understand how we produce new mounts so rapidly. They ask about lead-time and I reply 'two to three weeks', whereas they are used to hearing six months to a year,” explains Harris." The EOS technology allows us to respond very quickly. For example, in a matter of days, I produced two bespoke Garmin 500 mounts with lettering down the side saying 'Reading GP 2013' - one each for the winner of the men's and ladies' races at a meeting in July." Although RaceWare Direct has been in existence for just 18 months, nearly 6,000 products have already been produced in EOS systems at 3T RPD. The leading additive manufacturer throughout the UK and Europe, 3T runs six machines for plastic and seven for metal. Martyn Harris said that he likes their reliable and consistent performance, which allows high quality parts to be produced. This is important for RaceWare Direct, as in addition to selling its products in almost every country, it supplies numerous elite UK and international cycling teams, all of which demand top quality products. Many of the most famous cyclists in the world, including those competing in this year's Tour de France, have RaceWare Direct products on their bikes.
"I appreciate the reliable high and reproducible quality of the parts produced by EOS systems. With them I can satisfy my customers from all over the world as well as well-known athletes. Due to the fact that no tools are needed, no additional costs for the production of customized parts occur."Martyn Harris, Founder of RaceWare Direct
„RaceWare Direct represents a fascinating development for 3T and EOS. The company and its products utilize a broad range of Additive Manufacturing’s benefits – iterative design, series production, rapid turnaround, etc. RaceWare Direct demonstrates an exciting business model which has tremendous scope for future development and success.“
Ian Halliday, CEO at 3T RPD
3T RPD Ltd was established in 1999 and has become a leading additive manufacturer throughout the UK and Europe.