While it is important to invest in innovative products, it is also crucial to invest time and money into innovative people. One way that Michigan Scientific (MSC) does this, is by fostering relationships with various Universities and their programs. This summer, MSC had the privilege of donating to and working with the Michigan Technological University (MTU) Blizzard Baja Team, who design, build, and test single-seat off-road vehicles for national competitions. Students from all walks of university life collaborate to produce a vehicle design that appropriately reflects the diversity and ingenuity of the team. This year, the MTU Huskies aim to improve the design of their vehicle by collecting more accurate data from field testing, with the use of Michigan Scientific Corporation Wheel Force Transducers (WFT). Michigan Scientific is a Corporate Sponsor of the MTU Advanced Motorsport Enterprise Program.
The Society for Automotive Engineers (SAE) was formed in the early 20th century for engineers and automotive designers to maintain certain professional standards. Collaboration during these primitive years of automotive development meant the vehicles could be designed on a mass-scale to suit the growing need for efficient and cheap modes of transportation. Since then, SAE has grown into a highly influential international community with over 130,000 members worldwide.
Various competitions are held around the country at the university level to promote constructive competition and holds a strong presence at Michigan Tech. Apart from the physical design of the vehicle, students from non-STEM fields collaborate to produce cost analysis reports, elevator pitches, and market promotion to simulate real-world and professional working environments. While the society has grown exponentially since its humble beginnings, SAE still holds true to the core values of collaboration and ingenuity that inspired its foundation nearly 120 years ago.
Michigan Tech has participated in Baja events since the early days of SAE competitions in the 1980’s and pioneered the annual Winter Baja Invitational that continues to host dozens of universities worldwide. The race is unique because of the abundance of snow natural to the Upper Peninsula that make road conditions particularly difficult to navigate through. Freezing temperatures and constant snowfall pose a challenge to any brave team that dares venture north; but for MTU, it’s just another day. The student-led organization consists of engineers, computer scientists, business and marketing majors, and many more that work together to compete against teams from other universities. The team has been exceptionally successful in past years, placing 26th out of nearly 100 teams from around the globe in 2018.
MSC Wheel Force Transducer
Michigan Scientific is a leading manufacturer of high-quality precision instrumentation that can assist in nearly any testing environment with unparalleled accuracy. Wheel Force Transducers from MSC provide assured reliability and functionality in extreme weather and dangerous conditions without compromising the integrity of the wheel itself. Michigan Scientific Wheel Force Transducers are the first choice for customers because of their ease of use and wide variety of sizes and capacities. This proved to be important for the Baja vehicle testing because the LW9.5 Transducer is ideal for measuring forces and moments on ATVs and small vehicles.
For the MTU Blizzard Baja team, durability is crucial in combating the extreme freezing temperatures, snowfall, and ice accumulation experienced during the academic year. To prepare for this year’s competitions, the team used the LW9.5 Wheel Force Transducer to help improve the performance of the vehicle. President of the MTU Blizzard Baja team, David Kloiber, hopes to utilize data collected from the transducer and testing to make integral improvements to the drivetrain system, an aspect of the design in which he is heavily involved.
“We gave MSC the dimensions of our hub and rims and they fabricated custom adapters to outfit our car with an LW9.5, which is capable of recording all forces and moments acting on the wheel simultaneously. With the gathered data, we will be able to optimize parts that are overbuilt using real force and moment data,” says Klobier. By examining data collected by the wheel force transducers, improvements to drivetrain efficiency, clutch tuning, suspension geometry, and gearbox configuration will give the car a distinct competitive advantage.
“With the MSC wheel force transducer, we were able to take the car out on any obstacles we would normally test on and get eight channels of data. So much data simultaneously paints a much better picture of what is happening dynamically to the various components of the car.” Klobier stated.
Even in the harsh conditions found in the Upper Peninsula, Michigan Scientific Wheel Force Transducers are improving the design of vehicles through exceptional accuracy and durability. MSC is proud to help provide testing options to the members of the Baja Team and wish them the best of luck in the upcoming year. To learn more about how your automotive testing needs can be met, no matter the weather, contact an MSC engineer today!