Apprentices create motorsport components for Formula Student
thyssenkrupp Presta in Liechtenstein has been supporting ETH Zürich’s Formula Student Team for more than 15 years. This year is no exception as apprentices have been creating complex steering components for the AMZ Racing team at thyssenkrupp’s training centre. This is a demanding project and represents a real challenge for apprentices.
The Formula Student is an international competition in which teams of students from around the world compete against one another in racing cars that they have designed and built themselves. Aspiring engineers are in high demand and often find jobs either in the automotive industry or in international motorsports after they graduate. thyssenkrupp Presta AG provides support to students from AMZ Racing, the Formula Student Team at ETH Zurich, to create parts etc.
Aspiring polymechanics create complex components
The specialists at thyssenkrupp Presta are steering experts who deliver active and professional support when it comes to all things steering at their training centre. Apprentices from thyssenkrupp Steering assist talented motorsport students at ETH Zürich: aspiring and talented trainees are selected to help create steering components as part of a trainee project. They receive support from their instructors over the course of the project. A senior engineer at thyssenkrupp Presta also acts as the central go-between for the racing team and the training centre. The same steering expert has been supporting aspiring engineers at ETH Zürich to design steering systems for a number of years.
The project starts at thyssenkrupp Presta’s training centre as soon as ETH students have provided thyssenkrupp apprentices with technical drawings and their specification for how the components should look. Then, the first thing the trainees have to do is check their “client’s” (AMZ Racing) technical drawings and requirements so that they know which components they need to create during the next step of the project.
This year, Berilsu Karatepe and Kilian Neff were chosen to take part in the project, both of whom are aspiring polymechanics. Berilsu is in the second year of her apprenticeship at the company’s headquarters in Liechtenstein, and Killian, who is being trained at the company’s Oberegg site in Switzerland, is in the last year of his apprenticeship.
Deep respect for a demanding project
Berilsu and Kilian had a great deal of respect for the challenge. This comes as no surprise: the Formula Student demands a high level of technical expertise as the work done by the racing teams is completed to an extremely professional standard. Understandably, the pair were initially nervous when their respective instructors approached them about taking part in the project. Nevertheless, the pair agreed to take part. Much to the joy of their instructors.
From that point on, the pair spent a great deal of time working on extremely complex components. One of Killian’s many tasks involved creating the "Female Quick Release" (the coupling for the removable steering wheel which attaches to the steering column) and the “actuator bracket” (the mounting flange which connects the electric motor to the gear rack). Killian’s instructor, Remo Mazenauer, recalls “when Killian first saw the technical drawings, he knew right away that he was in for a challenge. But Killian really stepped up to this challenge as we expected he would do!”
“What was particularly challenging was thinking carefully about how best to approach the task of creating the necessary parts” explains Mazenauer. “When it came to the actuator bracket, for example, the apprentices weren’t able to draw upon any previous experience, as they had not come across such components before.” Killian rose to the many challenges that were thrown at him, receiving constant support from his instructor. “Over the course of the project, Killian learned to use tools that were brand-new to him. It was important to approach the project step-by-step, and he did an excellent job!”
Berilsu’s challenge involved nothing less than creating the entire steering column. “I had to work very accurately and carefully” Berilsu reveals. “I was working against the clock, as the components ultimately had to be delivered to the ETH Zürich students by a specific deadline so that the steering system could be built into the car with enough time to spare for testing.”
“Raising the bar for our internal manufacturing process”
Berilsu, too, rose to her challenge with a blazing display of bravura, as her instructor Michael Bitschnau reports proudly. His verdict is extremely positive: “This year, we have raised the bar as far as our internal manufacturing process and training are concerned thanks to the work we have done producing the steering system. As a result, we have worked in a more sustainable way and been able to document everything to a higher standard. This means that, in future, we will be able to manufacture all the components for our customers without a lead time. This is a massive improvement compared to previous years. In the past, we always needed quite long lead times. Things that used to take us several weeks can now be done over the course of just a few days.”
Berilsu also gives us her own extremely happy verdict: “I have learned a great deal. It was really cool to be able to work on the steering system for ETH Zurich’s Formula Student Team.” Berilsu concludes by providing us with a very special insight: “Always persevere, don’t lose sight of your goals, even when you’re faced with a challenge and don’t always get it right on your first attempt.”
Click here for more information on apprenticeships in Liechtenstein.