Monday, April 29, 2013

Time Lapes of Engine Removal

We created this time lapse video to show how the engine gets removed from the Malibu. We ran into some issues getting one of the bolts out, but the only other issues we got into were lines catching on one another as we raised the vehicle up. We were extremely excited once we got the engine removed, as this was one of the last big steps of dis-assembly we had to do!

Installing the engine no easy task for Ecomakers

As this team has learned, if you expect something to go smoothly and work the first time, add about two weeks to the timeline. Nothing was different when working on the getting the front drivetrain up and running. One of the biggest issues we had was everyone having an open schedule (apparently professors think we need to complete these things called exams and homework?!?! How lame!) So after we were able to work out everyone’s schedules to be able to work, it still didn’t go well.
Via CAD, several of the students designed a spacer to put in between the engine and transmission to help fit everything together. The design and fabrication of the piece went very smoothly. Once we installed the spacer, we began to have issues. We tried to attach the engine to the transmission, but that did not work. After a few hours of looking and trying to identify the problem, we discovered that the spacer was too long. We then received access to a HAAS machine through one of the departments to grind everything down (there were several iterations of the grinding, attempting to install again, grinding again, etc. over several days). At 12 AM one morning, we attempted to bolt everything back together to discover it was still too long. At that point, we did not want to give up and decided that we would attempt to grind it down. To make a long story short, Haley ground down a little too far and sheared off the center shaft that lined everything up. But this ended up fixing all the problems.
As always, we learned how important team work is and how important getting enough sleep is. Thankfully, with a great amount of hard work, we got the car together and off to inspection with EcoCAR 2 at Ohio State University!

Purdue Ecomakers- Where are they now update - Dylan Schmitter

After being the Outreach Coordinator and leading the business and outreach team for Year 1, Dylan graduated with his Masters of Science in Industrial Technology, focusing on environmentally responsible manufacturing. While his thesis research focused on how manufacturing's effect the environment can be reduced, EcoCAR 2 broadended his horizons on how consumers can do the same. To take a break before entering the working world, Dylan traveled through Europe and South East Asia for two months before moving out to Seattle, WA. Dylan is now working as a manufacturing engineer at Harper Engineering, a growing aerospace company and Boeing supplier. "EcoCAR 2 has provided me with great experiences which help me everyday," Dylan says. One aspect of Dylan's job is to act as the liaison between design engineering and production personnel, where the ability to simplify complex technical ideas is crucial. "When I was the outreach coordinator, I got a lot of practice in explaining very technical things in a way that anyone can understand, and it's been very important in my career thus far." Some other skills Dylan developed while acting as outreach coordinator was giving thorough and exciting presentations, planning events, and managing media relations. In closing, Dylan said that "EcoCAR 2 was truly great. It provides students of all disciples with applicable real world experience, but is also a lot of fun."

Faurecia goes the extra mile for the Purdue Ecomaker team

Faurecia has teamed up with Purdue and agreed to assist in designing and developing an exhaust system for Purdue’s 1.7 L diesel hybrid vehicle.  Throughout the past year Purdue and Faurecia have met to discuss the exhaust design which includes, the exhaust routing, heat shielding, SCR and DPF systems, and tuning. Testing was performed on the stock vehicle to determine how the team at Faurecia should tune to diesel hybrid.

Due to the complex Packaging required to route the exhaust around the rear suspension and motor the complex bends would have been near imposable to fabricate without Faurecia’s help. "Faurecia has the ability to take a CAD file of an exhaust system and bend it to the exact dimensions required in the same fashion as a traditional exhaust would be constructed for a production vehicle." says technical team member Chris Rhoades. The ability to make a precision exhaust system was key to meet Purdue’s packaging strategy where the exhaust comes just millimeters from other critical components in the drivetrain. Faurecia has also helped with the integration of a SCR system to reduce the NOX emissions generated by the diesel engine. The reduction of these critical pollutants will make Purdue’s diesel capable of meeting Purdue’s goal of creating a vehicle that is greener than anything currently on the market.

In the coming month, Faurecia will help the EcoMakers integrate the dosing strategy into the vehicle’s controller. During year three Faurecia will be performing acoustic test on Purdue’s hybrid Malibu. The goal of the testing will be to tune the new exhaust to sound as close to the original Malibu as possible. The tuning will take place at Faurecia’s test track located in Columbus, Indiana. With the assistance of Faurecia’s tuning experts the exhaust system tone will be perfected, heat shielding will be installed, and the SCR system will the integrated. 

As sponsors, Faurecia has provided a huge service to the EcoMakers by not only giving us the ability to create an exhaust system that would have been impossible without them but also assisting with the reduction of critical exhaust emissions. The acoustic tuning provided to us will assist the team in making a vehicle that looks and sounds like something you would expect to find in the showroom of a Chevrolet dealer.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Where Are They Now Update: Chris Mottaz

                     When I started working on the EcoCAR 2 team, I was interested purely as a recreational club where I could discuss advancements in the automotive industry.  I was interested in talking to people that knew the difference between a PHEV and an HEV, and why an electric vehicle doesn’t count as a hybrid.  (Surprising as it may be, I still get questions about these differences.)  I wanted to talk about technology.  I had some ideas on what I thought a “perfect” hybrid would be, and I needed a group that could challenge my ideas.  The challenges that I endured were far beyond my expectations of the EcoCAR competition.  And I loved it! I expected a group of like-minded individuals that were highly knowledgeable about hybrids and EVs, and I was not disappointed.  The Purdue EcoCAR team is comprised of people with deep knowledge relating to automotive technology.  From the professors that lead the program, to the sophomores and freshmen, I had found a group where everyone would willingly contribute in any way that they could.  They were always supportive, thought-provoking, and sometimes difficult (but in a good way).  The variety of experience and knowledge proved a constant challenge for any decision or idea that I had. 

                  This group was not anything like what I had expected.  It was the pseudo-salon discussion group that I thought, and it was a mini-experiment akin to a start-up.  All of my work was useful experience that could only be gained by starting a new company, without any of the financial or career risk.  I developed management skills, technical skills, communication skills, interpersonal skills and confidence.  The EcoCAR 2 competition is fast-paced challenge that is un-paralleled. I can only say that it is un-paralleled based on the feedback that I received from recruiters.  “I see that you have EcoCAR on your resume.  Tell me about that.”  I told them how I worked on a team that designed a simulator that physically represented a mid-size sedan.  I told them how we had learned to use powertrain control software to simulate an entire vehicle, and how we were able to adapt that software to test control strategies.  I explained that I helped develop the timeline for competition deliverables, and the business case that I had to develop to obtain a grant for our car simulator.  “Wow!  This sounds like it was a great opportunity.  You clearly learned a lot!”  Yes, I did.

                  I was accepted into a prestigious rotational program at Chrysler Group that accepts only 30 applicants each year.  The company would pay for me to get a master’s degree, I would work in 7 different departments within the company over 4-month rotations, and I would get to use one workday every week to study.  I had impressed the recruiters (of which, I am now one), and I landed my dream job. But landing a great job is not the only benefit of the EcoCAR competition.  The main purpose is to develop the next generation of automotive engineers.  I knew step 1 was to get a sweet job (check!), and step 3 was making money from said job (profit!), but accomplishing step 2 was where I have benefited most from my EcoCAR experience: a great work ethic.My first rotation was working in the Human Machine Interface (HMI) group.  The purpose of HMI is to apply scientific methods to all parts of the vehicle that the customer will interact with to determine the reason why someone likes or dislikes a vehicle.  Basically, we attempt to apply scientific reasoning to subjective ratings.  I worked on controls and displays: buttons, screens, switches, toggles, etc.  Sometimes our process works (almost all of our vehicles controls receive “excellent” or “very good” ratings from Consumer Reports), and sometimes we need to start over.  (For example, I couldn’t find any strong correlation between fingerprint area and anthropometric data.  Back to the drawing board.)  I had experience with ergonomics and anthropometry from designing the car simulator.  But I didn’t have much experience with controls and displays.  It didn’t matter.  

              EcoCAR had given me the tools to overcome any obstacles that I encountered.  If I didn’t know much on a topic, I completed a literature review using the same methods I used in EcoCAR 2.  If I had a lot of deliverables, I developed a timeline to complete them.  Same as EcoCAR 2.  If I was struggling, I knew how to find the source of my struggles and ask for help.  Same as EcoCAR 2.   Almost everything that I did during my time on the Purdue EcoCAR 2 team has directly related to my success in the Automotive industry.  And that is the most important thing that I learned in the EcoCAR 2 competition: how to deliver.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Nothin’ Says Love like Diesel Engines

When Purdue was accepted as one of the teams competing in the EcoCAR 2 competition, the team knew we were agreeing to a lot of late nights, meeting new people, making great friends and traveling to new places, but we never thought finding our future spouse would be part of the deal. This was the actual case for two members of Purdue’s EcoCAR 2 team, Christopher Rhoades, Front Drivetrain team lead and Haley Moore, Project Manager, who met at the beginning of Purdue’s first year in the competition. Chris had just started his graduate career at Purdue, and was new to the university and the state of Indiana. Haley was finishing up her undergraduate degree and starting work on her master’s degree, having been part of the team that wrote the proposal and was currently busy getting the newly formed team rolling.

Unlike some relationships, Haley and Chris’s was not love at first sight. Before the two even met, Haley had already canceled a meeting she had scheduled with Chris to go over his responsibilities on the team, causing frustration between them at first. A few weeks later the Purdue team had set off on the six hour drive to Pontiac for the Year One Fall Workshop. During the drive and the time spent at the workshop, Chris and Haley discovered that they had a lot in common and really enjoyed spending time together.  Among the discussions on engine selection and component packaging, they found that a strong friendship had been established between them. In just a few short weeks, these two mechanical (and very stubborn) engineers were dating. Chris and Haley aren’t the typical couple. Just ask their families. Everywhere they go, EcoCAR 2 gets mentioned at least ten times and at least one argument occurs. One specific time was Labor Day weekend when they got into an argument about how the car should be disassembled, in what order, and who would be in charge. Chris ended up winning that argument, although the glory was short lived when he was forced to walk Haley’s puppy Riley at 2 A.M. You will often find Chris and Haley in the same lab, usually wearing their matching EcoCAR 2 shirts. The matching shirts have even been worn by the two in pictures while on vacations.

In certain situations, some really great ideas and solutions have come from knowing each other so well. Chris typically gets frustrated very quickly. And Haley’s been able to get him to re-focus and get him to get work done (They have this saying, “Just shut up and do it”…works like a charm!) A perfect example was when the team was removing the stock engine from their Chevy Malibu. For some reason, one of the bolts that secured the front cradle got bent. After Chris spent hours trying to remove the bolt, Haley stepped in with a hammer and chisel (and then later on a drill) and got the bolt out. A short time later (and after a few trips to the hardware and auto parts stores), the engine was out and the crisis has been averted. Haley tends to be a major perfectionist. Chris knows when to pull her away from the situation and get her to relax and re-focus when no one else can. And really, does an example need to be given for this one? This is EcoCAR 2 after all J

(And here is the sappy part) All EcoCAR 2 participants can talk about the experiences and opportunities they got during the competition. But, Chris and Haley have EcoCAR 2 to thank for their engagement and approaching wedding! So during this Valentine’s Day, we thank the EcoCAR 2 Organizers and Sponsors for providing this competition that led us to each other and giving us unreasonable deadlines that keep us from going on dates.

If you are planning a wedding, here are some eco-friendly wedding tips:

-          Use a wedding invite and RSVP website instead of paper invites. You don’t have to pay postage or deal with all the RSVPs in your mailbox, and you save money! And if you really want to do paper invites, make sure they are made from recycled material
-          Give trees, or anything consumable (like salsa or homemade jam) as wedding favors
-          Avoid limos or big SUVs to haul the wedding party. Try to rent hybrids or high MPG cars!
-          Don’t require your guests to drive a lot. Try to have the wedding and reception within walking distance
-          Instead of printing pictures for everyone, upload your pictures to Flickr or Dropbox and allow them to print off the ones they want. Paper isn’t wasted this way (also saves you money!)
-          Don’t use anything disposable such as camera, plates, utensils, and napkins
-          Avoid balloons and confetti for decorations

And just to be really sappy, we also included a picture from when Chris proposed on Haley's birthday

Friday, January 25, 2013

Hello from Austin, Texas!

Today begins Day 2 of Winter Workshop at Freescale Semiconductor in Austin, Texas. The EcoMakers are very grateful for the hospitality shown by Freescale and dSpace for this workshop! Yesterday, team members sat through several information sessions about the rest of Year 2. We also had presentations made by our GRAs Haotian and Adam, as well as our Communications Manager Josh. We were incredibly proud of how well they all did! Haotian said that he was well prepared to present, but was a little nervous right before. Once we got everything done, the team used our free night to go out to dinner tonight at B.D. Riley’s Irish Pub. The food was great, and we even got to cheer the Boilermakers on (even though they didn’t win, we were still very happy to be able to watch them while in Texas!) 

Today, we have two more presentations. Haotian and Yili will be presenting the team’s Software-in-the-loop demo, while Joe will be presenting the team’s Sponsorship pitch and Table Top Display. We wish these three the best of luck, but we know they will do a great job! We also have several meeting for various components on the car such as waivers and engine implementation. The team is using our time very wisely by including time to meet with our mentor about design details, as well as the other diesel engine teams and Magna motor teams. One of the great advantages of EcoCAR 2 is being able to work with other teams to solve problems and issues that we are all having. 

The team after dinner at Welcome Night!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

The EcoCAR2 competition is Purdue University’s first time participating in an Advanced Vehicle Technology Competition. Although Purdue may be rookies to the competition, the EcoMakers have been working closely with General Motors to make sure they are following state-of-the-art in vehicle development. General Motors, a headline sponsor for the EcoCAR2 competition, has not only offered technical support and mentorship, but has also donated the 2013 Chevy Malibu and financial support to all the teams and the engine the EcoMakers will be using, as well as other various components.

Specifically, several people from GM have helped the EcoMakers with analysis and review waivers. Thanks to GM, Purdue has had access to help fit the electric motor and battery box into the 2013 Chevy Malibu. Whenever Purdue’s team runs into trouble, they are able to reach out to GM for help. For example, one specific issue the EcoMakers ran into was when the motor would not fit where it needed to go because of the 5 bar. GM has provided specifications and assistance to help us re-route the 5 bar.

General Motors has also provided the EcoMakers with a fantastic mentor who is very engaged with the team and provides assistance throughout the competition. Dale Klein has been extremely helpful answering questions and providing a personal connection between the EcoMakers and GM. The EcoMakers are extremely grateful for everything General Motors has provided them. The enthusiasm of all the GM employees regarding EcoCAR is encouraging to all of the students in the competition. Even Purdue alumni working for GM have been very encouraging throughout the project. We know we would not be able to take part in this amazing educational opportunity if it were not for the General Motors support. Check out our sponsorship video to get an even better idea of GM's role in helping the EcoMakers in year two of the EcoCAR 2 competition!