Team Interviews: Bob Verschueren
--Bob Verschueren: Motor & Logistics--
Bob Verschueren is in his final year of his Master of Electromechanical Engineering Technology and is responsible for the Motor of the Solar Car together with his colleague Thomas Mertens. Apart from this, he is also responsible for the logistics department of the team.
What motivated you to take part in Punch Powertrain Solar Team?
“After high school I wanted to study a programme that had a strong focus on mathematics and I found Engineering Technology the most logical choice for this. The Solar Team is something you hear people talk about all the time on the faculty and you also see a lot of advertising for on Campus Group T. It is a project that is truly alive here in the faculty. For me, it seemed a great project to work on and also ideal to link to my master’s dissertation. So I applied, went through the entire procedure and got accepted. With a master’s dissertation you are usually stuck with one employer in one company. Here you have your own company in which you get a large amount of responsibility. However, still in a team connection, which is helpful to discuss some ideas with my team members to get to better insights.”
What does your function on the Motor department contain?
“As the name already mentions, Thomas and I are responsible for the motor in the car. This is an electromotor that is in the wheels. We also had to test if the motor was optimal in terms of weight and efficiency. Because of this we made the decision to buy an electromotor instead of building it ourselves. This year we tested the bought motor together with the motor the team made last year and the one we were going to make and there was no real difference in efficiency between the one we made and the one we were going to buy. Therefore we decided, as a team, that it would be better to buy an electromotor and win some time. This way Thomas and I can be more multifunctional for the rest of the team, such as being in charge of the logistics department."
And what does that logistic function contain?
“This comprises all things relating to the transport of the car itself and the different parts. As most of our parts are made externally, these have to get transported back to us. In the same way we have a lot of team members to work at those firms. They also have to get there so we have to make sure that there are enough cars available. The most important task is of course the transport of the car to Australia for the race. For this, I was in charge of negotiations with a major international transportation agency. The car is very fragile so has to be transported carefully. We always pay attention to the cost as well. This is why we are sending a large portion of our equipment to Australia in June already, since we saw the freight charges were lower. These are things we have to take into account. It teaches you to balance the budget you haven been given. Something that will prove useful in my later career no doubt.”
What is the most important thing you have learned?
“The thing that I will remember most is striving for a goal. Australia is the moment we have to show our worth. That’s why we really work as a team. This way you can test your ideas with colleagues and get more input and insights. Apart from this I have learned a lot with regard to arranging things. I used to dislike picking up the phone to call a supplier or a company, while now this has become normal for me. By calling all these different companies, I have also been able to build up my network for my later career.”