Backstage at Formula Student

Apprenticeship at thyssenkrupp | Automotive-sector | People at thyssenkrupp | Who can claim to be able to build a racing car by himself? The members of the AMZ Racing Team of ETH Zurich are exactly able to do this! Together with the steering colleagues Adrian Liensberger and Jonas Lübbig. As part of Formula Student, they steered ETH Zurich's sports car "Mythen" to success!

Successful cooperation over the years

thyssenkrupp has been part of Formula Student for over 10 years. It is well known that this competition not only helps young race car developers but also our automotive professionals, who support the students with their know-how and expertise. Those who think that this competition is – just like other car races – about accomplishing the best time are wrong. Because the winner is not necessarily the team with the fastest car. Here, the entire package has to be right: the design, the provided performance, good financial planning and convincing sales arguments. Just like last year, thyssenkrupp experts shared their knowledge with talented students in the areas of engineering and business skills as well as manufacturing. But the fresh ideas of the student developers also had an enormous learning effect on our employees. To give you a concrete example: CNC miller Jonas Lübbig and apprentice Adrian Liensberger helped to implement new developments for the steering system in the AMZ Racing Team racing car. We asked them what the participation in the Formula Student 2019 meant for both of them.

Titans work

Adrian was in his third year of training as a polymechanic when he decided to take part in Formula Student at our training centre. His love for cars and working with metal was one of the reasons for choosing to participate. Adrian prepared himself thoroughly for the exclusive production. When it was clear that he was going to be responsible for the steering shaft, he spoke to his predecessors: “Some of the apprentices had already gained a lot of experience within this project and had some useful tips for me. For example, how to brace a part so that it doesn’t bend like a banana,” the apprentice laughs.

Together with his coach Jonas Lübbig, Adrian made the young engineers’ dream of building their own racing car come true. This required a lot of tact and concentration: “The parts we produced for this speedster were long, thin and were made of titanium, which is a very challenging material”, says Lübbig. “Here we had to be very careful not to oversupply. Because if you get a crack, you can start all over again,” Adrian remembers. Perfection takes up valuable time. Our experts spent several evenings in the workshop with the aim of delivering the perfect result: “It was an intensive but also very precious time,” emphasises Lübbig.

From trainee to express production expert

But even if you work with the highest precision, certain things can happen which nobody could have foreseen: “The AMZ Racing team discovered, after already installing the finished parts, that the car had too little steering angle. So we were approached with an express production of some components”, Adrian remembers. The unbeatable team achieved the impossible: In less than three weeks, the new spare parts were manufactured – including grinding, gear cutting, cylindrical grinding and of course coating by an external company. By comparison: this process usually takes six to seven weeks. “I am very proud of the fact that we were able to achieve such a feat with so much power and in such a short time. After all, you always face new challenges,” says the supervisor. Adrian also confirms his point: At the beginning, titanium machining, which was done for the first time that way, was a completely new experience for the young polymechanic. A few grindings and drillings later, he became a professional in the area of titanium production. He could prove this with the steering shafts he produced. After all, one of them broke during reworking in the external company. For Adrian it was time to get back to work. “I was able to quickly remanufacture the broken part. I already had a knack for it,” says Adrian. This unbelievable feeling of building your own racing car unites everyone involved in Formula Student.

In this project, experts and students learn from each other and above all with each other. The next season in 2020 is already in full swing. Jonas Lübbig is very happy about this: “It’s great to see the finished car and to know that I’m a part of it.”

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