How digital engineering plus a passion for adventure bikes will extend the lifecycle of motorbikes
As Team Leader for Structural Analysis in Ricardo’s Schwäbisch Gmünd Technical Centre in Germany, Pavel Gonda is at the forefront of using simulation and analysis to help motorcycle manufacturers eliminate waste, extend the durability and lifecycle of their product, and broaden the scope of activities the products can be used for – without compromising performance or characteristics.
Tell us about your career to date
“For my first degree, I studied engineering, then undertook a Bachelor’s degree in business administration, and I’m currently studying for a Master’s degree in system engineering and mechatronics here in Germany.
“I joined Ricardo in 2007, starting out as a structural analyst on engines. Motorcycles were always my hobby so I used the opportunity to join Ricardo motorcycle team in 2013.I currently lead the Analysis Team based at Ricardo’s Schwäbisch Gmünd Technical Centre in Germany.”
What capability does Ricardo have in simulation, analysis and virtual product development?
"Over the last two years or so, our team of analysts have been focused on the concept of a system of technologies, and the connection between analysis and design. The analysts here are highly trained in analytical thinking and applying their knowledge and expertise to system optimisations and the design and build of a motorcycle. This is not just about classical understanding, but delivering a far more advanced support for complex product development through the use of simulation and analysis techniques.
“Many of our customers are not aware that we have this capability at Ricardo. Our advanced services in structural analysis are a process: sharing, proving, and advising. This continual, iterative process with manufacturers helps us to demonstrate our skillset and the benefit of the process to customer product plans.”
What benefit are motorcycle manufacturers gaining from our virtual product development capability?
“All simulations and analysis are focused on developing performance and efficiency. A particular area of expertise at Ricardo from which manufacturers are benefiting is durability predictions leading to solutions in relation to the life of components and the product in general. Durability is an important topic currently in terms of performance and comfort, but it will take on even greater significance in the future. This is because manufacturers are ruthlessly focused on product efficiency: they need to eliminate waste, extend the lifecycle of their product and be able to use it for a wider spectrum of activities. Manufacturers are also seeking to reduce costs by minimising issues around warranty, while also not losing product characteristics.
“Once legislation is in place which mandates the extended warranty of parts from a year to say three to five years, durability prediction will be critical for manufacturers, and Ricardo has market-leading capability here, which will make a difference to manufacturers’ bottom lines.”
“In many ways my focus on durability predictions in simulation and analysis is shaped by my hobby of adventure motorbikes. These motorcycles have to be able to travel many thousands of kilometres in challenging terrains off-highway, while maintaining comfort for the rider and being easily maintainable or serviceable. My experience as an end user of these bikes inevitably shapes how I think about durability for the manufacturers who are developing these products: I work on them all day, but as soon as I get home and open my garage door, my work continues!”
What’s the Ricardo difference for our customers?
“Here at Ricardo we have a very broad spectrum of specialists. We have deep domain knowledge and expertise in the Motorcycle team, but every single engineer in that team also has access to other engineers across Ricardo group who have their own deep technical knowledge of engineering across all major transport sectors.
“What customers get from the Motorcycle team is access to experts whose work is also our passion. We have spent our whole lives around motorcycles: we ride them, race them and build them. We apply our very deep feeling, plus expert understanding and knowledge for our customers so we can be their trusted technical guide and partner to help them identify key opportunities in the market.”