Team Interviews: Kaylian De Lange
–Kaylian De Lange: Mechanical Systems–
Kaylian De Lange is in his final year of his Master Industrial Engineering, with a specialization in electromechanics. Together with his colleague Brend Sas, he is responsible for the Mechanical Systems of the Solar Car.
What motivated you to join the Punch Powertrain Solar Team?
“From the very beginning of my studies at university, I focused on gaining practical experience. In my first year at the KU Leuven I choose to study civil engineering, but because of the strong emphasis on theory, I quit after only one year. Instead, I decided to study industrial engineering at Campus Group T because of the practical experience that I would gain there. Gaining practical experience was also the reason why I joined the Solar Team. It is one big practical exercise for me. When I started to study industrial engineering I actually did not want to join the team. But once I reached my second and third year and all the adds for the team as well as the presentations caught my attention, I became fascinated and applied for the Mechanical Systems position.”
What does the Mechianical Systems function contain?
“Together with my colleague Brend Sas, I take care of the different mechanic systems in the car: the suspension, the steering column and the brakes, amongst other things. We have divided the different responsibilities. Brend focuses on the steering column and the rear suspension, whilst I concern myself with the front suspension and the brakes. Although we each have our own ‘project’, we work closely together as well. In the first stage, computer simulations of the forces on the car when it takes a turn or travels over a bump are made. Based on these simulations, we develop the mechanical systems.”
What are the most important elements to consider?
“The most important thing is for the parts to be strong enough to bare the forces of the simulations while at the same time being as light as possible to not make the car too heavy. Because of this, we always consider different possible materials. Moreover, there are rules we have to follow. Concerning the brakes, there are rules about the car being able to stop in a certain amount of time over a certain distance. To achieve this, we bought some regular brakes and modified them to be able to brake according to the rules but be much lighter at the same time.”
What is the most important thing you have learned?
“You learn to become really organized. As we only have limited time to design the car, build and test it for the race, we are dealing with a lot of deadlines that are close together. You know that you sometimes have to work overtime, or even through the night. Because of these deadlines, you become stress resistant and know how to plan everything efficiently, using lists and calendars. This experience with planning is an asset for when you start applying for jobs after you graduate. You do not just graduate with a lot of technical experience but with a lot of organizational skills as well. We already have a story to tell our future bosses.”