It’s not every day that I get to meet Olympians so please forgive me if I veer from the topic of ROI for one day. But I promise you this is a good story. Last week I got a chance to meet a very special group of people. They work at Bromley Technologies – a small but dedicated group of engineers and world-class athletes based in Sheffield, England. Bromley Technologies focuses on sports technology and offers design services to professional teams for pretty much every piece of sports equipment including hockey sticks, bikes and bob skeletons.
The organization’s CEO is Kristan Bromley who is not only a mechanical engineer but also one of the most successful winter sports athletes in the UK. Kristan is a three-time Olympian, the 2008 World Champion and is currently ranked the 6th in the world in his event. The Bromley Technologies team consists of Kristan (also known as Dr. Ice), and fellow directors Mike Maddock, Dan Fleetcroft and Richard Bromley. They are a really close-knit group and no one escapes a bit of good-natured banter. What’s truly unique about Bromley Technologies is that the team has first-hand knowledge of sports as athletes and engineers. For example, Mike has also clocked a fair bit of track time as a member of the British skeleton team and Dan has an extensive background as an engineer in the field of F1 racing.
From left to right: Dan Fleetcroft – Design Director, Mike Maddock – COO and Kristan Bromley – CEO and 2008 World Champion. Kristan is standing next to his 2010 Olympics sled and you can just about see Shelley’s sled behind Dan. Each sled is optimized for the athlete (as you can see from the subtle shape differences between the two shown here but there’s a lot more than meets the eye). Image courtesy of Mentor Graphics.
The organization serves as the backbone behind Team Bromley, a squad of athletes supported by the company’s technology. The team consists of Shelley Rudman (the 2009 European Champion), 2009 World Champion Nicola Minichiello and of course Kristan Bromley. Both Shelley and Kristan compete in bobskeleton while Nicola competes in the bobsleigh events. Team Bromley had a very impressive season this past year – 8 out of the 9 medals which were won by the British team this past year were won by Team Bromley (2 golds, 2 silvers and 4 bronzes). Very impressive indeed.
Before my visit, I was very ignorant of the sport. I won’t go into all the details of the sport – if you’d like to know more please go to the FIBT World championships site which has a really good primer. But what absolutely blew me away during my meeting was that in bobskeleton hundreds of a second can mean the difference between walking away with a gold, silver, bronze or no medal. As a result, in a sport where every fraction of a second makes a difference, good design is paramount.
So why did I meet with them last week? Because Bromley Technologies has selected FloEFD as their CFD simulation solution for helping them optimize the design of their sports equipment, and the work produced for commercial clients through their PES engineering design consultancy. FloEFD is embedded in Pro/ENGINEER which makes the design and testing of multiple variations of models a rather effortless process. Anyway, I will try to provide you with regular progress reports over the coming months and I look forward to seeing the fruits of their labor in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
Until next time,
PS. I thought it might be fun to have a Q&A session with the Bromley gang at some point. If you’d like to send me your questions, I’ll save them up and ask the group at the next opportune moment.