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.