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Several RC magazines around the world have asked us to write a monthly column. With the kind permission we will re-publish the column at our web site too so all of the XRAY fans can read the latest news and behind the scenes information. Enjoy.

Archive:
Column #1 - Behind the Scene Stories

Column #2 - Worlds Flashback

Column #3 - T2'007 Debut

Column #4 - Designing the T2'007

Column #5 - Worldcup Review and NT1 Testing

Column #6 - Developing and Designing the NT1

Column #7 - Developing and Designing the NT1 - Part 2

Column #8 - Back to the Races

Column #9 - XT8 Truggy Development

Column #10 - Touring Car Development



From my very first days I got hooked up with the radio-controlled model cars… through to the days when I started to design and produce my own model cars (first in small quantities from home up to the latest opening of the world’s largest modern RC model car manufacturing facility)… I have always looked for cutting-edge performance design. Whatever it be a whole car or an individual component part, the top priorities in all my designs were performance, reliability, lifespan, and of course “the look” as well. With the high-performance DNA of the whole XRAY model car line, I would never compromise performance for looks, but of course when designing some parts, taking the maximum possibilities that the given materials allow, I try to incorporate my typical unique smooth lines and very distinctive precision look of all details on all parts.

Browsing through RC Internet sites or reading through RC magazines, I have always wondered who is buying those colorful aluminum hop-up parts which do not offer an improvement in performance… to me they are simply “bling-bling” stuff. This prompts me to ask around if I am old-fashioned (to which I always get interesting and humourous remarks)... or if I am really a focused, high-performance hardcore driver. I simply cannot understand why a customer would want to swap out a part that is designed by the RC car manufacturer, for another “looks only” part that in many cases decreases the performance and handling of their car; this comes typically as exchanging a lightweight composite part for a heavier aluminum part.

Since I was always purely focused on performance — and lived in an area among a group of RC drivers who had similar outlooks — this formed the basis for the XRAY motto… “XRAY – the art of performance.” However, there is a large group of customers in this hobby who consider RC model cars as hobby and as such are the perfect customers for the “bling-bling” stuff. I have nothing against it and respect those customers and their desire to customize their cars with as many fancy and colorful pieces as possible. For this reason I was always very proud that XRAY and all the products I have designed were clearly identified as pure, high-competition model racing cars… we have been known for this since our arrival in the RC world.

We have always shown with the high performance of our cars that all parts are designed and long-term tested in all different racing conditions, and as such the design and use of materials are made purposefully. In the design of a high-competition model car, every tiny detail matters and as such not only the design of the parts but also the materials used have a significant influence on the handling of the car. This is the reason that dozens of different and special materials are used on one XRAY car. Most of the materials are custom-made based on our own specifications, and all composite materials are mixed using our own formulas that are based on long-term experience and careful requirements analysis.

For this reason I have always wondered when I see an aftermarket company produce and promote some bling-bling stuff for the XRAY cars… will there be anyone buying the product? Some time ago at a micro race, I witnessed several drivers using aftermarket parts on an M18 and sure enough after practicing the customers came to me with complaints that the car was not handling properly, that it over-rolls in corners. Looking quickly at their cars I just gave one simple advice: use only original XRAY parts which are specially designed for XRAY cars and long-term tested. Inevitably, after changing back to the standard car the customers were again satisfied with the handling and performance of their cars.

With the recent introduction and release of the new XRAY nitro touring car, the XRAY NT1, please know that we have spent over two years of long-term development and testing, and during that time we have also developed a complete and extensive line of option parts that may be used (and even required) for some specific racing conditions. All of these option parts are performance tuning parts which change or adapt the geometry and handling characteristic to some specific track and grip conditions and there are no “nonsense” parts offered. After the huge initial success of the NT1 worldwide, aftermarket companies jumped right in and introduced plenty of aftermarket “bling-bling” option parts for the NT1. Looking at the parts I just can only say one thing: “You get what you pay for.” Of course anybody is free to produce any parts they want and every customer is free to purchase any product they want, but here are my tips and explanations why Authentic XRAY Products are the best products for your XRAY car. This is not any advertisement, just a few facts that should be considered.

• XRAY products are purposefully designed to fit XRAY cars.
• XRAY has a large Research & Development team who is solely dedicated to the development and design of XRAY products and option parts only for XRAY cars.
• Any XRAY product is long-term tested before it is produced and available to the market.
• XRAY products are tested by an extensive factory team around the world so there is a guarantee that the part will work in all different racing conditions.
• XRAY parts are 100% manufactured in-house and as such follow the TQM (Total Quality Management) manufacturing process where every part is controlled and inspected during the entire production process.
• XRAY uses only the world’s most premium quality materials: Swiss 7075 T6 aluminum, HUDY Spring Steel™, specially-formulated composite mixtures. Most the materials are custom made based on XRAY’s own specifications.
• XRAY uses only the highest-precision German and Swiss and Italian production machines to manufacture parts within the tightest tolerances and with the most precision.
• After many years of experience, XRAY owns plenty of unique and self-developed material mixtures and manufacturing procedures which allows us to manufacture the world’s highest quality parts.

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Many times when I travel to races, customers ask me why “this” or “that” XRAY part is more expensive than an “equivalent” part from other manufacturer. Being a customer myself I understand and appreciate the point of view of the customer who researches and does price comparison of different products from different brands before deciding to deciding upon or buying a product. I always encourage that when making comparisons, not only should price be compared but also (and more importantly I feel) the overall value the customer will get for his/her money. Therefore in many cases, investing in a more expensive product is in the end of much higher value to the customer.

The best example I can think of are CVD drive shaft sets. The high price of the CVD drive shaft sets was in our FAQ section in the last few weeks we have received the same questions through our support lines. It is very good when a customers asks these questions, as it means they are interested to learn more about a product and it gives us a good opportunity to explain it; it is definitely a good experience for our support and marketing team to communicate the benefits and advantages of XRAY products in a better way to let the customer know what value s/he is getting for the money. A customer needs to know that for the premium price s/he pays for the XRAY product that s/he gets premium value and a much higher quality product with much better lifespan than from other companies.

To answer the FAQ (Frequently Asked Question) on the high price of the CVD sets is very easy.
The CVD drive shaft sets are manufactured from HUDY Spring Steel™ where the material is custom-made is ultimately several times more expensive than the regular steel used by other companies. Despite our using only the best German cutting machines, this special steel material is so tough that it takes several times longer to produce a drive shaft set than it would if it were made from regular steel. We must also take into account the high wear of the production tools, more frequent machine set-up, and very tight tolerance adjustments. The drive shaft set is specially heat treated and after the heat treatment procedure every piece is manually selected/measured/inspected and afterwards every piece is manually hand-ground to obtain the necessary very tight tolerances. Considering that the material and the end-to-end manufacturing process is several times longer than if the part were made from regular steel, it is no wonder that the price is also higher than “regular” drive shaft sets on the market. However, what is most important for the customer is mainly the value s/he will get and of course the performance.

A typical question then is why we use HUDY Spring Steel™ when it is so expensive to make parts from it? Again my answer is very simple. First of all using only HUDY Spring Steel™ we can design the parts with extra thin walls. (For example, a typical thickness of a wheel axle wall using standard steel is typically 1.0–1.1mm, but when using HUDY Spring Steel™ we can additionally machine the wheel axle to achieve a wall thickness of only 0.6mm.) This means the part is much lighter, which results in less rotating weight, and better performance. Secondly, the HUDY Spring Steel™ material is much stronger and will last several times longer than typical drive shafts made from regular steel. So all this means is that for an initial higher investment the customer will get not only a much higher quality product of superior performance, but a part lifespan that is several times higher… in the longterm view, the total ownership costs are much lower.

Getting back to my original thoughts… to “bling” or not to “bling”?

With daily thinking about improving the performance of every car, testing new material structures and new geometries and ideas, I have never really indulged in thinking about making some parts just for “bling-bling” effect. Should we? Should we continue to offer nice silver polished aluminum parts (which represent to me the maximum perfection of high-tech product design) or dive into the realm of offering glitzy green, yellow, purple or whatever color? Or should we make different parts to exchange for some of the lightweight composite parts… parts of heavier aluminum which will make the car heavier and not perform better? Maybe it will make the car look nicer and “cooler” however that will not win the race for you.

XRAY – The Art of Performance.
That is where my heart and philosophy is...

Give us your vote and share your opinions at the XRAY forum: To “bling” or not to “bling”?


Enjoy the ride and ‘til next time…

Dipl. Eng. Juraj Hudy
Chief Designer XRAY