CUTTING THROUGH TERRAINS: BAJA SAE INDIA 2017
Mar 16, 2017 | Gyan Prakash Sahoo
Gone are the days when vehicles used to be just a mode of transport. Now, they have also become a field of research where enthusiasts keep exploring the various mechanisms that keep them running and how efficiently they can work with the changing conditions. Team Black Mamba Racing (BMR) consists of few such dedicated individuals who work throughout the year to fabricate a single seater off-road vehicle that works at maximum efficiency and represents the NITR banner at BAJA SAE INDIA, a national level competition organized by Society of Automotive Engineers, India in collaboration with Mahindra.
Like the previous years, BMR participated in BAJA SAE India held at Pithampur, Indore, Madhya Pradesh from 16th to 19th March. The track was of an open ground type of 5.7 km with rocky terrain. The event had a series of rounds throughout the span of four days. Prior to the event, the team participated in a Virtual round held at Christ University, Bangalore in mid-June where it secured 4th position out of 414 participating teams and qualified for manufacturing and fabricating the vehicle for the main event.
On 16th March i.e. the first day of the event, vehicle registration was done followed by engine inspection, sales presentation, and cost evaluation. The sales presentation involved a business plan of setting up an All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) company and convincing the judges regarding how the team’s product is better than the other existing products in the market. The cost evaluation involved the detailed report of the total cost of fabrication of a prototype of the vehicle.
On the second day of the event, technical inspection of the vehicle was done by renowned judges, which included safety scrutiny and brake test, followed by a design evaluation involving the presentation of the design report of the vehicle.
On the third day, dynamic events were held which consisted of acceleration tests, maneuverability tests, suspension and traction tests and sled pull tests, where a given weight was tied to the vehicle and it had to pull it up to a certain distance in the least possible time. However, as the event was held for four days this year, BMR could not get sufficient time to participate in all the dynamic events and ended up participating in only the acceleration event.
On the final day, the endurance running was organized for 4 hours and the teams had to cover certain laps in the least possible time. BMR cleared the technical inspection, brake test, safety scrutiny and acceleration event. However, during endurance, after completing one lap, a failure in the drive axle of the vehicle occurred and despite temporary solutions, it could not work. Hence, it could not participate in the further laps. Based on all rounds, BMR secured 80th rank out of the 151 teams that participated in the event.
On getting in touch with the team, it replied that the overall experience was great and it would keep participating in such events in the future. It thanked the institute’s alumni network and all its sponsors - NITRAA, GRIDCO, IMFA, Carlisle Tires, Pankaj Potentiometers, SBI, FOX, OPTCL, Sarla Motors, and Area 51 for their kind support and cooperation that helped them in various ways to fabricate the vehicle.
However, as it is said that the road to success is usually a rough one, similarly for BMR it also had its share of glitches and issues. The main issue was the tedious procedure of passing of bills in SAC, which delayed the manufacturing work by a month or two. For instance, due to this tedious process, a component which was ordered from the USA was delayed by 1 month which caused a lot of inconvenience to the team. Second, the manufacturing phase faced some serious issues like injury to the members due to out-dated machinery in the Central Workshop and limited access to certain facilities in the institute, which forced them to look for external sources and added extravagant costs in the fabrication.
On asking Chandan Charchit Panda, Team Captain, about his journey in BMR till date he quoted:
I joined BMR at the end of my second year. My experience till now has been great and it was all due to proper guidance by our seniors like Anshuman Sir, Asit Sir and Prashant Sir. They actually took the lead and set up a base for us. My juniors are also hard working and I expect a lot from them in the upcoming times.
Adding to this, Vrishank Singh, Vice Captain, said
Apart from fabrication of the vehicle, it involves a lot of management skills. It is something which is of utmost importance in industries and helps in building up an industrial instinct. BMR has provided a great exposure to me.
Here is a link to the Team’s Video at this year’s BAJA SAE INDIA 2017, https://youtu.be/Y8OD15DUMjA.