Need For Speed: Team ZON in Coimbatore
Afif Janjirkar | Mar 25, 2019
Team ZON from ASME participated in the Saur Urja Vehicle Challenge (SUVC) from 26th February to 3rd March in Coimbatore, where it placed 14 out of 22 institutes. Their position might not paint a very flattering picture but what remains unseen to the eyes is the effort and the struggles the team faced with its limited resources to compete with the best in the nation. Today team Monday Morning brings the unseen to the view of its readers by narrating a story of great perseverance and will. But first, let us tell you about SUVC.
The SUVC is a is a National-level solar car racing event organized by RSTE (Refrangible Society of Technophile Engineers). The aim of the event is to promote the commercial production of Solar vehicles to encourage a pollution free environment while endorsing the vision of Green India worldwide.
|Volunteer and Organiser brief||1|
|Captain and driver brief||1|
|Judges and Organizer brief||1|
|Technical Scrutiny, Weight test, Egress Test||2|
|Brake and acceleration test||2|
|Technical Scrutiny, Weight test, Egress Test||3|
|Design Round, Innovation Round||3|
|Brake and acceleration test, Autocross test, Solar efficiency||3|
|Design Round, Innovation Round, Business round||4|
|Brake and acceleration test, Autocross test, Solar efficiency, Suspension and Traction test||4|
|Judges and Organizers brief||4|
|Team Captain Brief||5|
|Dynamic Endurance Driver Brief/ Track Brief||5|
|Build Quality round||5|
|Valedictory ceremony and award distribution||5|
Team ZON comprised of 11 members from the American Society of Mechanical Engineers NITR, who went to Coimbatore to participate in SUVC. Their first task, however, was to design a solar-powered car, which they successfully completed by 21st January, just in time before the mid-semester examinations. Their next problem was transportation- How do you transport a car from Rourkela to Coimbatore about 2185.2 km away? Simple, you load it in a truck. However, things are not often as simple as they seem, especially when it comes to NIT Rourkela.
The quotation required to transport the car in a truck was 1.2 lakhs, which was more than the clubs total budget. The club was thus left with only one choice, to transport it via train. With this came another hindrance, the car could not be transported as it was, and had to be dismantled and packed which in itself cost around Rs 3000 (including transportation from college to the station). It should be noted that this process is not a trivial one and requires strenuous activity, something which the staunch members of ASME did while in the middle of their exams. The train containing the disassembled car finally departed on the evening of the 25th.
Suman Datta Sir really helped us a lot during this process. He called up the RPF at Coimbatore who helped us unload the car at Coimbatore since the car would’ve reached the city before we did. The RPF safeguarded the car till we arrived.
-Ritik Jha, Vice Captain
|1||Aditya Narayan Malla||Captain|
|2||Ritik Jha||Vice Captain|
|5||Gourab Das Mohapatra||Member|
|9||Dibya Jyoti Mohapatra||Member|
|10||Allen John Alex||Member|
Coimbatore Diaries: Team Zon at SUVC
The Captain, Vice-captain and the manager left early on the 27th (the day the exams ended) via a flight to reach Coimbatore first, where they were in for a shock. They realised that all the other teams present had bought their cars already assembled, making team ZON the only participant with an unassembled car. This meant that just reassembling the car (by three students) occupied day one and two of the competition.
All three of us are from Mechanical, so we were not very familiar with the electronics aspect of the car. A first-year, Kamaljeet Sahoo, came on the evening of the second day and he was a tremendous help.
As a result, the team could only clear the Design round on the second day and was not able to attempt the technical Inspection. The technical Inspection round was finally cleared on the evening of the third day after two initial unsuccessful attempts. Day 3 also saw the arrival of the remaining seven members of the team.
Day 4 was the busiest (and also the most efficient) day for team ZON. The team registered the best score amongst all competitors in the Egress test, a test to see how fast the driver can exit the vehicle and also got the second minimum weight in the weight test. In the brake and acceleration test, the team achieved mixed results.
Our brake test went perfectly. People started clapping after our test. Our solar test didn't go as well because we used a solar panel 300 watts due to budget constraints. We were competing with teams which were using solar panels of 750 watts.
Next was the suspension and traction test. The minimum ground clearance required was 1.5 inch whereas the team had a ground clearance of 2 inches. The authorities told the team that they might not be able to clear the test with these specs, however, they were proved wrong when the team not only cleared the round but was also ranked in the top 10 in the test.
The final and most important test was the endurance test. After 1.5 laps, the car encountered problems in its electrical circuit and stopped working. Despite the efforts of the electrical team for the next two hours, the issue could not be solved. This round was what hurt the team the most points wise.
Had the endurance round gone smoothly, we would have achieved a near top 5 rank due to our performances in the other tests.
The endurance round was followed by an awards ceremony where all the teams received a participation certificate.
|Business and Marketing||50|
|250Suspension and Traction||55|
Budget and SAC issues
The entire manufacturing cost of the car went near 3 lakh rupees, and this is adding to the fact that most of the parts were reused from last year, including the chassis, motor and tyres. The solar panel weighted around 27 kg, whereas the flexible solar panel which the team wanted to use weighted around 7 kg. Had they gotten what they wanted, the team would’ve placed first in the weight test. As to why team ZON did not get their flexible solar panel? It was because SAC simply did not allow it.
There was only one vendor available for the flexible solar panel, and SAC wanted an undertaking from the vendor stating that there is no other vendor that supplies that specific part, which no vendor would provide. As a result of which we could not buy the flexible solar panel.
Left with no choice, the team had to purchase the frame solar panel which cost around Rs 11000. This amount was contributed by the Alumni of the club.
SAC initially gave us only 20000 rs for the transportation of the car via train. Had we decided that we wanted to transport the car in a truck, we wouldn’t have received the money.
The only complain I have is regarding the budget. Due to the lack of funds, the parts that we had to build from scratch were of poor quality. We will try to increase the budget next year, because if that happens then our performance and our results will better.
-Aditya Narayan Malla, Captain
Most of the finances of the club are taken up either by the members themselves or the alumni of the club. This does not apply only to ASME but many other technical clubs as well. ASMEs 14th position might paint a misguided picture to the spectator, but with the meagre resources that are offered to the club and the financial backing its competitors receive, it is no small feat to achieve what Team ZON achieved. Team ZON was the smallest team in attendance at the event. They had just 11 members out of which there were only 3 in the first two days. Any other club in similar conditions would probably have not made it this far. It is baffling why SAC refuses to increase the budget for the technical clubs when the potential of the students (and by extension the clubs’) is as clear as daylight. This has become a sad recurrence at NITR in the past few years. The students train hard, put in a lot of effort and reach the top stages only to fall just short due to the monetary constraints imposed by SAC. These impediments, however, should not divert the attention of the students from the monumental effort the clubs put in, day in and day out to achieve their goals. Team Monday Morning congratulates Team ZON for their transcendent showing at SUVC 2019.
Special mention goes to Prof. Suman Dutta, Team Roadrunner and Team BMR for their support.