Long days and nights go hand in hand with the design process. Iteration after iteration, little tweaks, new ideas and features are all good, but sleepless nights are not. Fresh designs on paper or on screen can look great and components can be well thought out but nothing beats testing in the real world.
ACE was designed from the ground up, in house by See.Sense with a new style tied to our previous lights. However a couple of key features are new and completely different to 2.0 or ICON. The biggest change? The clip mount.
The design of the new clip went through at least 20 iterations, each one with a 3D printed prototype, tested on the road and refined as we went. Once we had something we were happy with it was time to get it machined from the ASA plastic that will be used when we hit the button to manufacture. The plan was to replicate the part as close to a production part as possible - so we can test it to destruction and make sure that ACE lights will never, ever fall out of their mount.
Enter Eddie. An absolute gent with over 50 years experience in the manufacturing industry and a genius in a machine shop. Eddie has built automated machinery to make everything from ‘handmade’ bricks to surfboards, as well as hundreds of smaller pieces of kit.
His workshop on the Ards Peninsula is 25m from the beach and is a treasure trove of engineering. The smell of lubricant and swarf greet you when entering the unassuming building leading to a goldmine of milling machines, lathes and selection of pillar drills for any job.
He was tasked with creating two testing rigs for us to ensure our clip design was up to task, one to clip the light in and out thousands of times and one to act as a stress test.
We wanted to test the clip far beyond what it would be expected to deal with throughout its life. So say you clip your ACE in and out four times a day and you rode your bike an incredible 365 days a year, that's 1,460 clips a year. We wanted to test to see if the clip could maintain its performance after a simulated 10 year period, being clipped in and out 4 times a day, 14,600 clips. You will be glad to hear the 14600th click was as good as the 1st.
The stress test was designed to see if the plastic fatigues after a being pushed past its working limit, over and over again. We pushed the clip open more than 3 times the amount it would be expected to cope with to work. Happy to say we haven’t found any of out test samples that have deformed or failed, all returning to the same form they held at the beginning of the test.
We know most people don’t ride their bikes at room temperature so have also run both tests in an oven set to 50degrees and also in sub zero temperatures, just to make 100% sure that our new clip performs as it should.
We built these rigs and ran these tests to make sure our new clip works as it should, and will continue to work for many many years. Making our customers happy, and letting the designers and engineers at See.Sense sleep easily.