Who we are
We’re a small company, with big dreams. In November 2016 those dreams very nearly died. Our factory flooded, destroying everything – all tools, all stock, all of our jigs and raw materials.
Watching years of work drown was heart breaking, but we are fighters. So in March 2017 we launched FMI v2.0, taking the lessons we’ve learned and bringing on board some brand new strategies. We hope you like the result and welcome your feedback and suggestions about how we can improve further.
Our ambition is to create strength equipment that is tough, elegantly designed and with features that have never been seen before. By making use of CAD design (our designer is an aeronautical engineer) and materials not commonly encountered on strength equipment (stainless steel, bespoke fittings etc) we hope to deliver a range of products that is unique.
What starts the process?
"What are the structural requirements of the item?"
In the case of something like a bench press, we need to understand the maximum user weights, the maximum bar load (we always exceed by at least 30% the current world record), safety margin, dimensions of the bench (we use the World Powerlifting Association specs) etc
"What are the strengths and weaknesses of the products that are already available from other manufacturers?"
In the strength industry this part is easy. There are some amazing products already available. There are also some pretty bad ones. We look closely at possible areas for improvement - either functional or aesthetic
"Who will use the product and what do they require?"
This is the hardest part and by far the most time consuming. We conduct market research, quiz customers for hours (thank you all for your patience!) and try to learn what would make the best product of its type.
Turning ideas into products
Each design is painstakingly drawn in 3D and then a series of mechanical and structural programmes are run to test the equipment in a virtual environment.
This is followed by tweaks and refinements.
Following this technical and construction drawings are prepared. 3D renders are sent to customers if it’s a custom product.
Prototyping and Testing
This is where the hard work turns into something fun. We get to play with a version of the product, load it up with weights and abuse it. For certain product lines, we will build prototypes and send them to be tested by gym owners and strength coaches. Based on our experiences and the testing feedback, it might be necessary to review some design elements.
Going back to the drawing board… from the testing phase we will incorporate the ideas raised into the original design, or in the case of a major fail – we start from scratch. Each failure is a learning experience. The re-design stage may be longer than the original design phase.
Once we have finalised a design, which might involve several further prototypes, tests and tweaks, we move the item into production. This involves re-tooling, creation of jigs and ordering of outsourced components.
We can then brief our team on the A to Z production process. It is then time to get the lathes, mills and laser cutting machines programmed.
The final stage of manufacturing is pre-assembly and testing and from here the machines are disassembled and prepared for powder coating, plating and upholstery. Once coated, all products are re-assembled and tested again.