On the Job: Renault Refines Formula 1 Race Car Using Industrial Measurement

14 May, 2005 By: Cadalyst Staff Cadalyst

Design engineers call on Leica laser tracking and wireless technologies to provide the winning edge

Renault's new R25 race vehicle, designed to compete in the Formula 1 World Championship, got a design boost from laser tracking and wireless technologies from the Metrology Division of Leica Geosystems.

The LTD800 laser tracking system and new wireless T-Products from Leica Geosystems played a key role in the industrial measurement and testing of the new race vehicle. The R25, which was unveiled in Monaco on February 1, lies at the heart of the Mild Seven Renault F1 Team's plans to challenge rivals Ferrari for the 2005-2006 World Championship title.

Renault F1 Team
Drawing on Renault's tradition in top-line motor sport, which includes victories at the Le Mans 24 Hours and six consecutive constructors' world titles as an F1 engine supplier in the 1990s, the Renault F1 Team exists solely to win the Formula 1 World Championship. The team is composed of two central technical hubs, a chassis team based in Oxfordshire, England, and the engine development team based near Paris, France. Together, this group of more than 700 people forms one of the leading teams in modern Formula 1, the most demanding discipline in world motor sports.

The team competes in every round of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship, represented by Spaniard Fernando Alonso and Italian Giancarlo Fisichella. The team finished third in the 2004 World Championship, and enters the 2005 season with even greater ambitions.

Cutting-Edge Technology
The Renault F1 Team purchased two LTD800s with integrated T-Probe and Metrolog XG for Leica software. One laser tracker is used to set up the car in the wind tunnel test facility. The other Leica tracker is primarily used to measure large manufactured components and complete legality checks on the finished R25 race vehicle (figure 1).

Figure 1. Illustration shows how the Leica T-Probe checks components on a finished vehicle.

"In the high demand environment of F1 wind tunnel testing, this system provides the Renault F1 Team with a cutting edge tool for improvements in efficiency and accuracy," states Micky Nolan, Renault F1 Team's wind tunnel facility manager (figure 2). "Conscious of the need for continuing improvements, the Leica laser tracker initial investment will reduce our set-up times by 55%, enabling increased efficiency and precise repeatability.

Figure 2. Micky Nolan, Renault F1 Team's wind tunnel facility manager, says the Leica measurement system was the only one on the market that fulfilled the team's search criteria.

"With commonality of CAD packages and real-time CAD comparisons, our engineers can measure and verify any part in any geometrical position around our model," Nolan adds. "The Leica measurement system was the only one on the market that fulfilled the Renault F1 Team's search criteria. The Leica laser tracker offers the Renault F1 Team an all-in-one solution."

"All F1 racing teams have secret designs, which hopefully makes their car quicker than the competition. These are tested in the wind tunnel, hence the T-Probe requirement," says Leica technical engineer Steve Shickell. "By using the Leica system to measure the first R25 vehicle, the Renault F1 Team is able to measure everything on the car in a single setup, and every minute the team saves installing the model is extra time for performance development."

Leica Metrology Innovations
Leica's LTD800 Laser Tracker and the wireless, ultralight T-Probe and T-Scan products have transformed the way quality professionals perform their industrial measurement tasks, the company reports. This combination of PCMM (portable coordinate measurement) technology enables engineers to capture measurements with unprecedented precision, speed and flexibility in the most demanding industrial environments. Leica Geosystems has more than 1,400 tracker systems installed worldwide in the automotive, aerospace, and general engineering industries, it reports.

The T-Probe and T-Scan devices are reportedly the world's first complete 'Walk-Around CMMs." The T-Probe, which is shock-resistant and insensitive to temperature changes, can be used for hand-held, rapid measurement of small and large objects within a 30m volume. The T-Scan is insensitive to all surface types and does not require surface preparation. It can be used for rapid, noncontact digitization of large objects at a rate of 7,000 points per second.

About the Author: Cadalyst Staff

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