From nothing to an electric moped in two years; it is the story of Brekr. Designed in the Achterhoek, productions in Taiwan, Italy and Germany. A process that is only possible thanks to digital design in the cloud. ‘And that made my boyhood dream come true’, says Jasper Hagedoorn, co-founder and technical director of Brekr.
Hagedoorn tells his story on stage, next to a rugged replica of the Brekr B, in a room at Dassault Systèmes’ Dutch headquarters in Den Bosch. This is the software provider of the Solidworks design suite and the cloud-based 3DExperience platform. Tools that make it possible to design innovative products in a short time with an international team, as well as the associated production lines and logistics processes. Instead of telling the assembled press about the wonderful new features of Solidworks 2023, Dassault Systèmes has brought two Dutch ‘builders’ into the spotlight to make it clear what it means to have the right information technology.
The name Brekr, says Hagedoorn, is derived from the Twente word ‘breaking’: maximum fun. ‘The hawk, break and Angonese often mentioned in a sentence. A Brekr celebrates life, doesn’t take it too seriously all the time, doesn’t take it too seriously and often has a love for motorized wheels,’ explains the technical director. He worked in Sparta for many years and gained experience in the design and production of electric bicycles. In 2017, he and a group of friends suggested the possibility of making an electric scooter. One with a recognizable, contemporary face. An Achterhoek product with international lines. Models B and F are now for sale. On the ‘drawing board’ are now the first sketches for an electric motorcycle (125 cc; this for comparison, because of course there are no cc with plug-in engines) and if it stands for Brekr, an electric spaceship in 2139.
The head office is in Doetinchem, the moped is assembled at the factory in Veghel. Parts come from Taiwan, Italy and Germany (the battery). “Together with TU Twente, we are working on a battery that can be reused,” says Hagedoorn. The fact that teams working in several countries can change so quickly, even in times of corona and a transversal ship in the Suez Canal, is only possible by working with the 3DExperience platform. Everyone has the same data and can work seamlessly together in time and space.
Car as a twin
The TU/ecomotive student team at Eindhoven University of Technology has the same experience. In a year’s time, this team, based on the previous student group’s knowledge and experience, has developed a sustainable electric passenger car that captures more carbon dioxide (CO₂) than emissions while driving. It concerns a prototype, called Zem, which cleans the air through a special filter. By storing and then disposing of the captured CO₂, Zem can contribute to reducing global warming.
In Den Bosch, Philip van Veelen, Mateusz Michalski and Ivan Staykov tell their story. With an emphasis on sustainability (with an interior of e.g. pineapple leather). ‘We want to make a car that can be fully recycled after its technical life. You need a good design tool that keeps our multilingual group – Dutch, Bulgarian, English, C# and Python – on the same page.”
The car is completely digitally designed. “In effect, the digital design is the original and the physical car is the twin,” they say. In addition: ‘You have to design in such a way that it is also easy to build and maintain.’
‘The design is important, because a car is different from a machine. A car is emotions. It must evoke a certain feeling, be recognisable.’
A number of manufacturers have shown serious interest in the student group’s work. A new team is now working on the follow-up.
The energy sector
“Do more with less; transition to a circular economy”
John Kitchingman, managing director EuroNorth of Dassault Systèmes, speaks generally about the added value of virtual twins for design and production. A number of Dutch users of the 3DExperience platform are reviewed: Damen Shipyards with its Navais project, Lightyear, which markets the Dutch solar car, Jumbo (where the 3DExperience platform is used to optimize processes) and the Viscon group using Dassault Systèmes’ Digital Equipment Continuity solution to transform from a file-based approach to a data-driven product structure. Viscon supplies software, machines and solutions for agricultural and food companies.
Kitchingman pays particular attention to the mining industry. According to him, large-scale mining, where the landscape is left battered, is obsolete. He states that the mining industry (which accounts for 45 percent of all economic activity worldwide) knows that the world sees and has had enough of pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from this sector. The major mining companies have committed to by 2050 just zero when it comes to direct and indirect CO2emissions from mining.
“It is only possible if they do more with less; transition to a circular economy. Digitization is the key word. We are talking about production system design, mining processes, supplies, management, repairs and other areas. Working with virtual twins increases the value of geological assets by 10 percent, reduces design time by 50 percent, reduces late troubleshooting by 60 percent, reduces wasted resources by approximately 35 percent, and improves quality and security of supply.’
According to Kitchingman, mining companies are moving away from large-scale, centralized production and extraction facilities. ‘They use 3DExperience technologies for precision mining. Then they need significantly less infrastructure, energy and other resources than the large mining activities of the (recent) past.’
It makes sense, he says, that some mining companies are looking to develop localized power generation and, in some cases, consumer energy generation at the source rather than relying on external grids and extended supply chains. The combination of product, nature and life requires a special approach, where the work with digital twins is the focal point.