Always close to the academic world and the motorsport sector, we want to talk about the collaboration that involved us together with the PACE Team of the Polytechnic of Turin for the realization of the PEB prototype, vehicle for the last mile whose cover system was entirely realized in Additive Manufacturing.
Last year PEB received important awards at the PACE Global Annual Forum held at the Tecnòlogico de Monterrey University in Toluca, Mexico, which brought the team to the top of the overall ranking.
We interviewed some of the guys involved in the team, to explain what the PEB vehicle consists of and what advantages the Additive Manufacturing has guaranteed to realize this ambitious project.
We thank the Team Leaders Gianluca Mosiello, Andrea Bongiovanni, Diego Sartirana and the Project Leader A.M. Stefano Di Falco for the time spent and for the interview they have released.
What is the PACE Team and what goals does it set?
(Andrea Bongiovanni) PACE, Partners for the Advancement of Collaborative Engineering Education, is a consortium founded in 1999 by the initiative of several leading companies in the industrial sector.
PACE supports academic institutions all over the world in order to disseminate knowledge and use of tools for the development of industrial products, from design to production. Concretely, the activities carried out consist of university research projects, team competitions, contests reserved for students and joint educational projects.
The competition is organized by General Motors. The aim of the competition is the construction of an electric vehicle designed for the last mile. Each stage of processing is never left to chance: we deal with sector studies, design, marketing and implementation.
The Polytechnic of Turin is the only Italian University to belong to the group of 42 universities participating in the initiative.
Tell us about the PEB project, what is a last mile vehicle?
(Stefano Di Falco) A vehicle for the last mile is a vehicle able to facilitate the user who travels short urban sections within densely populated cities. Our market research and industry studies have been oriented towards the search for a solution that allows people over 65 to move easily, safely and comfortably, within Shanghai, a city taken as a model for high density of the population and the high level of seniority.
Which were the main design and manufacturing phases to which PEB was subjected?
(Stefano Di Falco) The first thing to do was to simulate the work of a real company that, through market research, sector studies and feasibility, develops a product, taking care of every detail. There have been many activities that each engineering area has done to implement the vehicle through software design and simulation. We cite some initiatives central to the success of the project: the introduction of Hubless Wheel, a solution for power transmission, the programming of the electronic control unit that allowed to exploit three modes of operation (Driving mode, Companion mode and Carring mode) and undoubtedly the production of the entire covering system in Additive Manufacturing. These that we have listed are just some of the features of a winning prototype!
So we come to the collaboration with Zare S.r.l., what can you tell us about your relationship with our company and about the advantages of additive manufacturing?
(Stefano Di Falco) We met Zare thanks to professional advice from experts in the sector. The additive technique proved to be fundamental to our project, right from the design phase. In fact, being a prototype, we did not have a specific know-how about the vehicle, but the flexibility of the additive manufacturing turned out to be a winning card that opened interesting prospects of dialogue between the AM department and all the other areas of engineering. involved in the team. This has created a virtuous game of balance that during the design phase has allowed the online modification of the components of the fairing system in addition to the growth of components and internal dimensions that have been implemented and gradually improved.
We have chosen to realize the covering system in HP Multi Jet Fusion. This technology has made possible the realization of different components, giving you quality of isotropy, very high degree of resolution and surface finish. Added to these characteristics are advantages such as construction speed and reduced costs. Through the PA12 material used by HP Multi Jet Fusion, we have obtained the appropriate assembly compliance and structural sealing capabilities required during road tests.
PEB was presented in 2017 at the PACE Global Annual Forum where it has won important awards. What does this event consist of?
(Gianluca Mosiello, Andrea Bongiovanni, Diego Sartirana) The PACE Global Annual Forum is an event organized and managed by General Motors and represents the point of arrival for a whole year-long journey of design, validation and manufacturing activities. During the race the prototypes are presented by the teams and subjected to road tests.
All the universities present themselves at the Global Annual Forum very fierce and well organized, aware that a competition of this caliber represents an opportunity that the team cannot afford to make mistakes. We are very proud of the awards obtained since we followed the prototype from the first draft to the last bolt.
Editor's note: On the occasion of the PACE Global Annual Forum, the Polytechnic of Turin distinguished itself by obtaining: first place in Product Engineering, first place in Industrial Design, second place in Manufacturing, first place for the best paper presented during the forum.
We conclude with a question that closely concerns your personal contribution to the project. How important do you think it is to have on the curriculum an experience of this kind that allows you to face the world of work and, specifically, of engineering innovation?
(Stefano Di Falco) It may be pretentious to try to predict what impact this experience will have on our future careers, however it is clear that the ability to grapple with real problems already during our academic journey allows the student to observe with critical spirit the difficulties that can born in the post-didactic phase.
Having the opportunity to look beyond your studies, measuring yourself with a reality very similar to that of work, is, first of all, a privilege for every student of the team.