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Presenting Orion - Ch. 1: Mechanical

The mechanical story of Orion revolves around three key pillars: Optimization,  Innovation, and Simulation.

Optimization has been a central focus in designing and building a more reliable and efficient car each year. Last year’s car, Artemis, incorporated many redesigned components, providing a strong foundation for Orion. A standout example is our fully in-house developed planetary gearboxes, which efficiently transfer power from the electric motors to the wheels. Last year, we switched to this design and thoroughly tested the gearboxes with one of our partners. Based on the test results and additional insights from our drivetrain team, we made significant improvements. Utilizing specialized gear design software, we extended the gearbox lifespan by up to 120 times compared to the previous generation. Moreover, we achieved a 25% weight reduction while simplifying production and implementation in Orion.

Continuous research and innovation are crucial for our team’s success. This  commitment is evident in the development of Orion’s suspension system, a collaborative effort with Ghent University and one of our partners. We created a roll-heave interlinked suspension system based on a Porsche patent, a first in the Formula Student world. Our vehicle dynamics team started with the decoupled roll-heave suspension system, addressing its main drawback: the lack of communication between the front and rear suspension systems. By incorporating an aluminium tube running from the front to the rear of the car, loaded under torsion during pitch, we ensured seamless communication between all four wheels.

Simulation played a pivotal role during Orion’s design phase. We extensively used specialized software programs to enhance our designs. Our gearboxes and  suspension system are an example of this approach. The suspension team developed a fully detailed dynamic model in Simulink, collaborating closely with other subteams. The aerodynamics team conducted detailed simulations of airflow during acceleration, cornering, and a full track tour. This data refined the suspension team’s dynamic model, resulting in highly accurate simulations. The high-performance computer at Ghent University enabled us to achieve these detailed simulations.


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