DART-ing ahead on the race track

5th November 2019
Alex Lynn

Thirty-five Technical University Darmstadt students from various disciplines, including computer science and mechanical, electrical, and industrial engineering, worked together to form the impressive TU Darmstadt Racing Team e.V. Their goal? To build a formula racing car that not only emits a low carbon footprint but also outraces the competition. 

Combine that brainpower with the right equipment and professional expertise from Amada Miyachi Europe and a formidable racing machine was born.

A mission-driven partnership

The student team, also known as DART-Racing, is dedicated to promoting science, research, and education in the field of electric vehicle manufacturing. By deepening their knowledge of STEM in realistic working conditions, members simultaneously pursue their academic interests and actively prepare themselves for future careers. Each year, the team aims to design, manufacture, commission, validate, and operate two racing cars to compete in Formula Student car races in Germany and beyond.

The energetic student-led team had designed its first all-electric racing bolide by 2011. The team only picked up steam from there. In the 2017 season, the team committed itself to autonomous driving and was able to present the first fully autonomous racing car in the club’s history: the ‘myD2017’. 

The dedication of DART-Racing to engaging with current issues and trends in the automotive industry aligns with Amada Miyachi Europe’s ability to provide cutting-edge technology. Students from DART-Racing were introduced to Amada Miyachi Europe’s offerings in technology and expertise at the ENERGY STORAGE EUROPE fair in Düsseldorf, Germany. Amada Miyachi Europe extended its support in the field of battery conditioning, and so the partnership began.

Custom battery pack vital for meeting project goals

Amada Miyachi Europe and the DART-Racing team enjoy a close relationship. In addition to being a major sponsor of the team, Amada Miyachi Europe supplies battery pack manufacturing expertise and laser welding technology. Students utilised the equipment and Amada Miyachi Europe manufacturing facilities to weld battery packs for the high-voltage battery pack in the team’s latest FS Class 1 electric racing car.

For this vehicle’s battery, the welding connection needed to be strong enough to absorb the corresponding power load as well as accommodate stresses during racing, such as G-forces and vibration. Here, Amada Miyachi Europe’s expertise was paramount to ensuring that the welding performs properly. 

As the world’s only supplier of solutions in four different welding process technologies, Amada Miyachi Europe was able to determine the most suitable technology in their welding laboratory to meet the students’ specific needs for a high-performing vehicle with the least possible weight gain.

Drawing power from a specially assembled and custom-engineered battery pack, the racing vehicle outputs a maximum power of 85 kW at 1500 rpm. The students have kept the car design in line with their dedication to sustainability and low emission, a goal Amada Miyachi Europe was proud to support.

Working together to produce the packs

Previously, Amada Miyachi Europe supplied battery pack manufacturing expertise with laser and resistance welding technology to another student-led endeavour, STORM Eindhoven, a quest to circumnavigate the globe in 80 days on the world’s first electric touring motorcycle. During the design and development of the DART-Racing batteries, Amada Miyachi Europe again leveraged its market leadership with battery pack welding solutions for electric vehicles. 

Before supplying technology, Amada Miyachi Europe carefully assessed DART-Racing’s needs. The company conducted a preliminary trial in order to determine the best possible technology for the needs at hand. Then, the student team and experts from the business carried out further trials together. Finally, the students spent several days in Amada Miyachi Europe’s laboratory. After a short training period, the students were able to start welding the battery modules independently, thanks to the user-friendly flexibility of Amada Miyachi lasers.

Working on packs for the vehicle’s high-voltage accumulator, the students use Amada Miyachi Europe’s high-power ML-2550 400W Pulsed YAG laser welder, which features flexible pulse shaping technology to optimise welding profiles for more challenging materials. This connects pouch cells with the vehicle’s battery electronics board. The power feedback mode on the laser welder allows progress to be checked in real time. This technology made the students’ design a reality by enabling quadruple-overlap attachment of nickel-coated copper tabs to the copper terminal on the electronics board.

Dreaming big

High-performance laser welding technology is essential for high-performance, environmentally friendly racing car battery assembly. The high-speed welder the students used features plug-and-play lasers for fast system integration and offers pulse rates from 1 to 500 PPS. Its compact design minimises the space it requires, making the machine user-friendly. 

The bi-frequency power supply also makes it easy to use worldwide, for a variety of applications. This technology allowed the DART-Racing team and their Amada Miyachi Europe partners to quickly and easily configure the equipment for their specific needs as they built their Class 1 formula-racing car. 

Were the students, after racing successfully, to mass-produce their race car, the ML-25 Series of Nd:YAG laser welders from Amada Miyachi Europe are a superior option for larger-scale operations as well. These welders offer an integrated beam splitter with multiple laser outputs for increased productivity. They also enable a time-share configuration to make possible the operation of several workstations at once.

Heading to the starting line

The race car, sporting the logo of Amada Miyachi Europe, has competed throughout Europe. The car qualified for several races including FS Austria, from July 28th to August 1st at Spielberg-Ring; FS Germany, from August 5th to 11th at Hockenheimring; and FS Spain, August 20th to 25th at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

While not victorious at Hockenheimring, the race car is still an impressive display of the students’ ingenuity and Amada Miyachi Europe’s cutting-edge products.

“We are immensely appreciative of Amada Miyachi Europe’s expert technical support,” said Mr. Cornelius Mosch, member of the TU Darmstadt Student Team. “Their equipment and application knowledge allowed us to push our design to new levels. Amada Miyachi Europe added a great deal to the project and our education.”

Amada Miyachi Europe is proud to support the next generation of engineers on their quest for sustainable, high-performing, and cutting-edge innovation.

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