Red Bull factory tour
F1 : Red Bull factory tour - RedBull - F1-Live.com
A look on the inside of the construction process
Hard work pays dividends for Red Bull
Team of the moment Red Bull Renault has opened the virtual doors to their world of Formula One from the Milton-Keynes facility.
Hot on the heels of the stunning display of dominance yesterday at Silverstone where Sebastian Vettel took the chequered flag ahead of team-mate Mark Webber to end the recent run of success from the Brawn Mercedes team, Red Bull opens the doors to the factory with a guided tour!
The tour, led by the team’s Business Development Manager Steve Nevey, can be view in one eight minute virtual tour, or individual one minute segments depending on your areas of interest.
Video Link: The grand tour, the full visit
Over to Mister Nevey...
Composites and autoclaves
This is where we make our carbon fibre parts. Carbon fibre is an amazing material, very strong but very lightweight as well, which is important to us. You find carbon fibre in the aerospace industry, helicopters and particularly fighter aircraft are made of carbon fibre.
The process is interesting as well. The carbon comes to us as a woven sticky cloth in different grades. Our guys will take the cloth, will cut it to shape and then will lay it into moulds, layer upon layer upon layer. Maybe 30 layers maybe 50 layers.
The whole thing then goes into one of our autoclaves, basically a pressure oven, where it is cured at a temperature of about 140Â°C and 7psi. The effect of this curing cycle is to turn that sticky cloth into that very strong and stiff material that we make the racing car from.
Once the carbon components have been in the autoclave and the carbon has been cured, they come into here where they are trimmed and parts are bonded together. In fact you’ll be surprised of how much of a racing car is actually glued together.
Video Link: Composites and autoclaves
This is a fascinating process called 'Stereo Lithography'. These machines are on one side a deep vat of liquid of epoxy-resin, on the other side it is a computer.
Our designers produce 3-dimensional designs, which are then downloaded into this computer. This computer then projects a laser from one side of the machine onto the roof of the machine and down on the surface of the resin. Where the laser touches the resin it solidifies it – layer by layer by layer, until eventually we produce the 3-dimensional object inside the liquid. The whole thing rises up out of the resin and gets cured and onto the wind tunnel model.
Video Link: Rapid prototyping
Model shop and wind tunnel
We produce a scale model of the car, which we test for aerodynamics in our wind tunnel. The Concorde aircraft was tested in that tunnel many years ago, but it’s our tunnel now, where we test.
It’s a constant battle between downforce and drag.
It’s important that we make the cars as aerodynamically slippery as we can, so that it cuts to the air, nice and cleanly with a minimum drag. But we want the downforce, because in some circuits it’s important to get us around corners very, very quickly.
Different circuits require different types of aerodynamic configurations. The two extremes are in fact Monaco where there are lots of tight corners where we need downforce to push the car onto the track to increase grip. The other extreme is in fact the Monza circuit, which has lots of straights and big sweeping corners, where we would reduce the amount of downforce to get the car go faster on a straight line.
We produce many components for the wind tunnel model - far more than we do for the car itself, because this is the experimental stage, this is where we’re trying lots of different ideas. Those that work make it to full size and actually appear on the race car itself.
Video Link: Model shop and wind tunnel
Even though much of car is made in carbon fibre we still make many components in metal: lightweight metals like aluminium or titanium or magnesium for areas of the car like gearbox, hydraulics and suspension.
One of the reasons we use these lightweight metals is because our objective is always to try to reduce the weight of the car as much as possible for competitive reasons. And for that same reason we will machine these components into very fine detail.
Video Link: Machine shop
Five axis milling machines
We use the big '5-Axis Milling Machines' in the manufacturing process for some of the larger items like the chassis.
We also use them for producing the tooling-block patterns which are the basis for the carbon fibre moulds in which we’ll make the composite parts themselves.
Video Link: Five axis milling machines
The car is initially painted here in our paint shop and in fact comes back every time the car runs at a test or Grand Prix.
A stone chip does a lot of damage at 200 mph and I t is really important that the car looks at its very best because of course it is representing our Red Bull brand along with the brands of our partners.
Video Link: Paint shop
Research and design / seven post rig
In our R&D rig test room we are able to test individual systems from the car, for example our braking system. But what we are also able to do on our Â»Seven-Post Hydraulic RigÂ« is to test the entire dynamics of the car.
We are able to put a full size car onto the rig with seven hydraulic actuators. There is one under each wheel, two under the engine and one under the nose.
Now, one of the things we are able to do is to put the car through a whole range of frequencies to see where different parts of the car vibrate.
Just like in a road car when you get to a certain speed and your dashboard starts to vibrate, different parts of our race car would do the same thing. But it’s extremely violent, so we need to know where those points are.
Also, and more interestingly we’ve recorded telemetry, which means that we can simulate any of the circuits that we race on.
Now though we use computer simulation more and more these days for engineering analysis there is still a requirement to make physical tests.
We may put a nose onto this rig and make a fatigue test, push it up and down and side to side. Another test that we have to apply by regulation is to apply hydraulic loads to the chassis. We squeeze it and we put loads onto it.
In fact, the load that we put onto the roll hoop, which is the piece behind the driver's head, is equivalent to putting a double-decker bus full of people onto the top of the car.
Video Link: R&D test group, 7-post rig
Assembly group and race bays
This is where all of those aluminium and titanium and carbon fibre parts come together for hydraulic and electronics and aerodynamics - and of course the three main components being the chassis, the engine and the gear box. This is where they come together.
The car is then transported to the Grand Prix to compete - and afterwards this is where it comes back to be dismantled for parts to be sited in different directions to be quality inspected for hairline cracks and other flaws and in some cases replaced by better parts to make the car go even faster.
Video Link: Assembly group and race bays.
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