https://cdn.mtdcnc.global/cnc/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/10144228/52-57-Absolute-Arm-7-axis-with-RS6_AMRBR1-640x360.jpg
    Measurement

    The race against time

    • By Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence
    • November 22, 2020
    • 16 minute read

    During the Covid-19 pandemic, Hexagon treated engineers to an insight into the company’s longstanding relationship with Aston Martin Red Bull Racing via a series of webinars. MTD magazine tuned-in and subsequently interviewed engineers from Aston Martin Red Bull Racing’s Engineering & Quality Teams to discuss everything from how the relationship and technology have evolved to benefit both parties, through to how state-of-the-art measurement technology is now woven into the very fabric of the leading F1 Team to compress the most valuable commodity – time. By Rhys Williams

    SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA – JULY 02: during previews for the F1 Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on July 02, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images)

    Mike Hughes, Head of Quality Assurance and Manufacturing Engineering at Aston Martin Red Bull Racing says: “Hexagon has played a part in every F1 car we have put on the track, from our very first RB1 car to the latest RB15. The results of our efforts are there for the world to see every race weekend and this makes us hugely proud. But as engineers, we strive to gain a deeper understanding of the technology available and how we can exploit this technology, driving our partners to deliver more. Our challenge is to design, manufacture and operate the world’s highest-performing F1 cars to win both the Constructors and Drivers World Championship.”

    “To achieve this, we have to design the best cars – but this isn’t enough. Our supply chain has to produce an accurate car so that we can race the car that we designed, and producing this car isn’t enough. We have to manufacture the car as quickly as possible to enable as many designs, manufacture and operational feedback cycles as possible.”

    The car begins in the technical offices with designers applying as much innovation as possible to create the theoretical best racing car. “Our innovation and design are led by F1 guru Adrian Newey. Based on a thorough and deep understanding of the regulations, the fundamental design concepts are created with designs taking shape on Adrian’s drawing board. From here, the 2D design concepts are transferred into CAD models on Siemens NX. Adding to the fundamental design concept, the aerodynamicists will create the most optimised aerodynamic performance by generating as much downforce as possible with minimum drag. This allows for high cornering speed and high straight-line speed,” continues Mr Hughes.

    “The aerodynamicists will take detailed design models and put them through Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) to understand the aero performance. Through this process, we digitally test multiple aero components and configurations with the result being infinite concepts that are narrowed down to a finite number with a handful of best-case solutions. These best-case solutions undergo a physical validation in the wind tunnel. We operate in a world of marginal gains with less and less opportunity to gain a competitive edge from major design differentiation. Therefore, the challenge is to maximise the small opportunities we can. This results in an increased accuracy requirement from our wind tunnel models, as we improve the correlation between aero design and the physical wind tunnel models. As soon as the parts enter the physical world, we have our digital twin. We produce parts at 60% scale for testing in the wind tunnel, and as soon as they are produced, we scan them with our 85 Series Absolute Arm and an RS6 scanner from Hexagon to confirm the shape of our parts is correct.”

    Where Hexagon Plays its Role…

    When all the parts are assembled to a full 60% model, the search for an accurate model continues to evolve. The volume and flexibility of the model are tested in the wind tunnel with a Hexagon laser tracker. Referring to this, Mike Hughes says: “We use the Hexagon tracker to confirm the model to be tested. The tracker is an integral part of the wind tunnel and is part of the building structure. For Star Wars fans, we call it R2D2, as it raises from the floor in front of the car. It is used for the verification process to confirm parts are in the correct orientation and position to each other as well as to the wind tunnel. We need to see the correlation between the results of our CFD virtual wind tunnel and the actual wind tunnel. Our wind tunnel takes the best probable solutions from the virtual wind tunnel to give us the single best solution. This is our best understanding of the car and aerodynamics – the single best solution at that time.”

    “Once we confirm the design and shape of the car, our design team design the full-scale car, creating installations where the aero surfaces can be realised on the actual race car. In addition to aero performance, further stress analysis is done to understand structure performance to make parts as light as possible, yet still delivering the required vehicle dynamics. Once this is done, we have the best digital F1 car given our current understanding.”

    Expanding upon how the Hexagon technology has evolved in the wind tunnel, Hexagon’s Jon Kimber says: “Over the years we have evolved our technology massively, especially regarding how it is used in the wind tunnel. As the FIA have clamped down on design, we have honed the process. Even the use of the tracker coming out of the ground in the wind tunnel has been optimised. This is an effort to get more iterations and more tests done in a shorter period.”

    “One of the main and most fundamental changes we have made over the years is the introduction of PowerLock, on Hexagon’s Leica Absolute Tracker. This gives the ability to simply pick up a target with a reflector or a hand-held probe or scanner – and if there is a beam interruption when it is being tracked around the tunnel, the Tracker just re-acquires the target, and just carries on. In the old days, it used to be a 20-minute turnaround between settings on the wing and now this is down to just minutes. This allows you to do more iterations in the tunnel to apply to the real car.”

    With six degrees of freedom, the Leica Absolute Tracker AT960 model provides probing, scanning and automated inspection, as well as reflector measurement whilst the PowerLock, ensures any beam interruption is instantly re-established without user intervention.

    Expending huge effort and resource into creating the best digital car available, Aston Martin Red Bull Racing then takes the next step, manufacturing its digital twin. “The supply chain needs to manufacture components and a car that is as near as possible to our digital twin. We cannot do this by guessing or hoping, we have to collect data along the way. When we are finished, the physical model must match our digital car, so we have a digital car on the track. From here, we have the confidence that our performance on track will correlate with the simulated CFD and wind tunnel data,” confirms Mike.

    A Race Against Time

    “We often say that our team are masters of time engineering, being able to achieve the seemingly impossible. We believe the more time we have, the closer we can get to building the perfect car. The car cannot stay in the digital world forever, so we have to pause development and release the drawings to our supply chain to make the car. We have to release drawings to the supply chain as early as possible, so we can get to the finished car. We are always striving to close the gap from our current manufacturing lead time to our ideal manufacturing lead time.”

    “If we can reduce our manufacturing time and resource impact, we can optimise the resources and time in the design phase, leading us to a more optimised digital car. So, we must continually strive to achieve our ideal manufacturing lead time. To achieve this, we must be as productive as possible. I said that our biggest challenge is time and one of the biggest wastes of time is poor quality. There are obvious issues of scrap and rework that most industries suffer from. If we barely have enough time to make it once, we certainly don’t have time for rework or starting over. Even more important is the accuracy – if we can’t replicate the digital car exactly, then all our design efforts will have been compromised. Given all of this, you can understand the impact and importance of quality assurance. We have to be confident we will produce the right quality of parts and confirm our digital twin is the same as the physical twin.”

    “The quality assurance team are ultimately responsible for accepting the right structural integrity and dimensionally accurate parts into the stock. We must eliminate the risk of incorrect quality parts from impacting our performance. We can understand the accuracy of our parts and must ensure that information is shared with the team, so we can gain a common understanding and reliability to maximise car performance. Quality control is one tool within our quality assurance toolkit. The inspection doesn’t change the shape or form of the part and as such, it is non-value adding. So, the process must be as quick and productive as possible. It must be quick, deliver accurate results and be easy to understand; Hexagon has provided inspection equipment that has enabled us to achieve this without compromising our time or ability to get parts to the track,” states Mike.

    “The value we get from the data is that we can send the right quality parts into stock, ready for the race car. Whilst we are responsible for accepting the right quality of parts, the manufacture and procurement functions are responsible for manufacturing the correct quality and quantity of parts. We hold vendors to account for this, but we also need to support them before production commences to ensure their manufacturing function will create the right quality of parts. Again, we use data collected throughout each of the steps to understand and gain confidence in our processes and look to support manufacturers with their process improvement.”

    The Story of a Nosecone

    The nosecone is undoubtedly one of the most critical features on a racing car, claiming a significant role in vehicle performance, handling and downforce – all before getting to the fact that it is an impact structure. Taking a closer look at the nosecone, its impact on the car and how Hexagon and its metrology equipment play a role, we spoke with Mark Foden, External Quality Assurance Group Leader at Red Bull Technology.

    Mark told MTD magazine: “The nosecone is the first component that hits the air, so it has a massive impact on the aerodynamic performance of the vehicle. Add in the fact that it is in impact structure and the event of an accident must absorb load and protect the driver – it’s something we must get right.”
    Over 70% of components are manufactured in-house, but some components such as inserts and the jigging are supplied externally to Red Bull through a very large supply base. “Our quality assurance department sees over half a million parts per year supplied, this ranges from washers to highly complex components manufactured at multiple locations worldwide. Following the QA risk analysis of our external suppliers, we use Hexagon products like protable measuring arms, laser trackers and CMMs to validate the processes.”

    “Quality assurance and quality control are integral at all stages of the nosecone. Whilst our internal manufacturing facilities still operate within a QA environment, we still undertake quality control functions to mitigate the risks of the process. This takes place through multiple stages of production. Nosecone production starts with a pattern and mould, and parts manufactured at this stage conform to the main shape of the nose – inspection is undertaken with a Hexagon Absolute Arm with an RS6 Scanner,” Mark confirms.

    The Absolute Arm is a 7-Axis system that delivers tactile probing and laser scanning in an ergonomic package, ideal for high-end portable measurement applications. As Mark says: “This combination gives us the ability to conform free-form surfaces back to a CAD model with fast and repeatable results that can be fed back to the design department. We can also create advanced inspection plans to increase our productivity in these areas. Once produced, we move on to the laminating stage and here we also use the Absolute Arm with ‘hard probing’ to check the structural and positional inserts whilst the RS6 checks the geometry of the laminate surfaces.”

    “Once the moulding is complete, we rely on the RS6 Scanner and the Absolute Arm for fast and accurate data regarding conformance to its shape. From here, we machine key features on the moulding such as simple threaded holes for holding brackets right up to tight tolerance machined features to ensure the nose fits the car and the wing fits the nose correctly. Again, the Absolute Arm is integral, as it is used to make sure we get the most accurate parts possible. Post machining, parts are checked with the GLOBAL Advantage CMM, as machined features can have tolerances as low as 10µm. Here, we use advanced programming options within PC-DMIS to maintain and improve our productivity. Once parts are approved, they are ready to go to the ‘bonded level’, which is what race fans will be more familiar with seeing at the circuit. As for the nosecone, it has to undergo safety validation and a series of deflection and stiffness tests. These are normally certified by the Hexagon Tracker with laser scanning as an option. This allows us to reach all areas of the car and look for the deformity of any aero surfaces as they pass through our tests. Hexagon is a vastly used resource that plays an integral part in our success here.”

    Working with the F1 team for a number of years and adding some of the technical benefits to the conversation with Red Bull, Hexagon’s Technical Sales Manager, Mr Jon Kimber says: “On the RS6 and the Absolute Arm there are three or four main technologies that have come to the forefront over the last few years. The Absolute Arm obtains its name from using absolute encoders and these encoders allow anybody to ‘just pick the arm up’ and start using it. Likewise, with the RS6 Scanners, the idea is to make them as user-friendly as possible. We have a technology that we call ‘Shine’ – Systematic High Intelligence Noise Elimination. What this does in real-world terms is it enables operators to pick up the arm and just scan without any concerns about the surface composition, whether it be metallic, composite or even one of the many crazy colour schemes and pearlescent finishes that can be used on an F1 car. It has a projected ‘letterbox’ where we have the laser line that scans as well as the periphery that gives users a great visual guide.”

    “We have also increased the frame rate of the RS6 scanner from 100Hz to 300Hz. This is a threefold increase in the speed that data can arrive, and this allows the operators to scan quite literally as fast as the arms can move, rather than taking their time. Each of these improvements may only account for a couple of seconds on each process, but if you can reduce production time by just one minute on a component, this may not be a massive difference in the real world; but in F1, it makes a huge difference, especially if you are checking the same component multiple times as well as checking tens of thousands of parts. Whilst we have not calculated the potential time savings for the team, they will be huge. This is something where Red Bull has driven Hexagon to evolve our developments and innovations – and it is something that will help all of our customers. Without our relationship, we may not be quite as driven by some of these developments. So, I give huge gratitude to Red Bull for helping us to develop another great product.”

    Adding to this Red Bull’s Mike Hughes says: “The RS6 Scanner, from the first time we were able to see it, it was a noticeable step-change in performance. The rate of data exchange is huge and what this means, is rather than going over the surface of the car relatively slowly, we can do it a lot faster with fewer passes. It is a fantastic evolution of the technology that Hexagon has provided for us. We use all of the Hexagon products across a complete range of applications, materials and environments. This no doubt provides Hexagon with a stern testing ground for new product development.”

    Digital Twins

    ‘Industry 4.0’ and ‘Digital Twins’ are buzzwords in the manufacturing arena, but in the fast-paced world of F1, it’s an established technology that has been a foundation block of Red Bull’s drive to compress time. As Mike Hughes states: “By the time the nosecone is fitted to the car, it confirms the actual car represents the digital car, giving us a digital twin. Hexagon technology is critical in helping us to develop our car and increase the information we can obtain to compare and confirm our data with the digital twin to ensure they are as identical as possible. The more data we collect, the quicker we can do it and add safe, reliable and high-performing parts to our car.”

    “Having confidence in the digital twin on the track gives us correlation and the data we receive from the track can feedback into our design cycle. This feedback loop enables us to improve reliability and performance even further. We make more than 30,000 design changes a year and they get manufactured in multiples of each component. We are producing thousands and thousands of components each week and only by having the speed of application and speed of data collection and technologies, can we implement as many inspection processes as we do. Maximising our productivity through quality improvements is a huge part of our success, and it is why we use Hexagon’s technology,” concludes the Head of Quality Assurance and Manufacturing Engineering at Red Bull Technology.

    In the next instalment of this two-part feature, we’ll be giving readers an insight into ‘race week’ and how Hexagon and metrology are playing an ever-increasingly important role in the pit-lane.

    https://cdn.mtdcnc.global/cnc/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/10144228/52-57-Absolute-Arm-7-axis-with-RS6_AMRBR1-640x360.jpg

    The race against time

    During the Covid-19 pandemic, Hexagon treated engineers to an insight into the company’s longstanding relationship with Aston Martin Red Bull Racing via a series of webinars. MTD magazine tuned-in and subsequently interviewed engineers from Aston Martin Red Bull Racing’s Engineering & Quality Teams to discuss everything from how the relationship and technology have evolved to benefit both parties, through to how state-of-the-art measurement technology is now woven into the very fabric of the leading F1 Team to compress the most valuable commodity – time. By Rhys Williams

    SPIELBERG, AUSTRIA – JULY 02: during previews for the F1 Grand Prix of Austria at Red Bull Ring on July 02, 2020 in Spielberg, Austria. (Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images)

    Mike Hughes, Head of Quality Assurance and Manufacturing Engineering at Aston Martin Red Bull Racing says: “Hexagon has played a part in every F1 car we have put on the track, from our very first RB1 car to the latest RB15. The results of our efforts are there for the world to see every race weekend and this makes us hugely proud. But as engineers, we strive to gain a deeper understanding of the technology available and how we can exploit this technology, driving our partners to deliver more. Our challenge is to design, manufacture and operate the world’s highest-performing F1 cars to win both the Constructors and Drivers World Championship.”

    “To achieve this, we have to design the best cars – but this isn’t enough. Our supply chain has to produce an accurate car so that we can race the car that we designed, and producing this car isn’t enough. We have to manufacture the car as quickly as possible to enable as many designs, manufacture and operational feedback cycles as possible.”

    The car begins in the technical offices with designers applying as much innovation as possible to create the theoretical best racing car. “Our innovation and design are led by F1 guru Adrian Newey. Based on a thorough and deep understanding of the regulations, the fundamental design concepts are created with designs taking shape on Adrian’s drawing board. From here, the 2D design concepts are transferred into CAD models on Siemens NX. Adding to the fundamental design concept, the aerodynamicists will create the most optimised aerodynamic performance by generating as much downforce as possible with minimum drag. This allows for high cornering speed and high straight-line speed,” continues Mr Hughes.

    “The aerodynamicists will take detailed design models and put them through Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) to understand the aero performance. Through this process, we digitally test multiple aero components and configurations with the result being infinite concepts that are narrowed down to a finite number with a handful of best-case solutions. These best-case solutions undergo a physical validation in the wind tunnel. We operate in a world of marginal gains with less and less opportunity to gain a competitive edge from major design differentiation. Therefore, the challenge is to maximise the small opportunities we can. This results in an increased accuracy requirement from our wind tunnel models, as we improve the correlation between aero design and the physical wind tunnel models. As soon as the parts enter the physical world, we have our digital twin. We produce parts at 60% scale for testing in the wind tunnel, and as soon as they are produced, we scan them with our 85 Series Absolute Arm and an RS6 scanner from Hexagon to confirm the shape of our parts is correct.”

    Where Hexagon Plays its Role…

    When all the parts are assembled to a full 60% model, the search for an accurate model continues to evolve. The volume and flexibility of the model are tested in the wind tunnel with a Hexagon laser tracker. Referring to this, Mike Hughes says: “We use the Hexagon tracker to confirm the model to be tested. The tracker is an integral part of the wind tunnel and is part of the building structure. For Star Wars fans, we call it R2D2, as it raises from the floor in front of the car. It is used for the verification process to confirm parts are in the correct orientation and position to each other as well as to the wind tunnel. We need to see the correlation between the results of our CFD virtual wind tunnel and the actual wind tunnel. Our wind tunnel takes the best probable solutions from the virtual wind tunnel to give us the single best solution. This is our best understanding of the car and aerodynamics – the single best solution at that time.”

    “Once we confirm the design and shape of the car, our design team design the full-scale car, creating installations where the aero surfaces can be realised on the actual race car. In addition to aero performance, further stress analysis is done to understand structure performance to make parts as light as possible, yet still delivering the required vehicle dynamics. Once this is done, we have the best digital F1 car given our current understanding.”

    Expanding upon how the Hexagon technology has evolved in the wind tunnel, Hexagon’s Jon Kimber says: “Over the years we have evolved our technology massively, especially regarding how it is used in the wind tunnel. As the FIA have clamped down on design, we have honed the process. Even the use of the tracker coming out of the ground in the wind tunnel has been optimised. This is an effort to get more iterations and more tests done in a shorter period.”

    “One of the main and most fundamental changes we have made over the years is the introduction of PowerLock, on Hexagon’s Leica Absolute Tracker. This gives the ability to simply pick up a target with a reflector or a hand-held probe or scanner – and if there is a beam interruption when it is being tracked around the tunnel, the Tracker just re-acquires the target, and just carries on. In the old days, it used to be a 20-minute turnaround between settings on the wing and now this is down to just minutes. This allows you to do more iterations in the tunnel to apply to the real car.”

    With six degrees of freedom, the Leica Absolute Tracker AT960 model provides probing, scanning and automated inspection, as well as reflector measurement whilst the PowerLock, ensures any beam interruption is instantly re-established without user intervention.

    Expending huge effort and resource into creating the best digital car available, Aston Martin Red Bull Racing then takes the next step, manufacturing its digital twin. “The supply chain needs to manufacture components and a car that is as near as possible to our digital twin. We cannot do this by guessing or hoping, we have to collect data along the way. When we are finished, the physical model must match our digital car, so we have a digital car on the track. From here, we have the confidence that our performance on track will correlate with the simulated CFD and wind tunnel data,” confirms Mike.

    A Race Against Time

    “We often say that our team are masters of time engineering, being able to achieve the seemingly impossible. We believe the more time we have, the closer we can get to building the perfect car. The car cannot stay in the digital world forever, so we have to pause development and release the drawings to our supply chain to make the car. We have to release drawings to the supply chain as early as possible, so we can get to the finished car. We are always striving to close the gap from our current manufacturing lead time to our ideal manufacturing lead time.”

    “If we can reduce our manufacturing time and resource impact, we can optimise the resources and time in the design phase, leading us to a more optimised digital car. So, we must continually strive to achieve our ideal manufacturing lead time. To achieve this, we must be as productive as possible. I said that our biggest challenge is time and one of the biggest wastes of time is poor quality. There are obvious issues of scrap and rework that most industries suffer from. If we barely have enough time to make it once, we certainly don’t have time for rework or starting over. Even more important is the accuracy – if we can’t replicate the digital car exactly, then all our design efforts will have been compromised. Given all of this, you can understand the impact and importance of quality assurance. We have to be confident we will produce the right quality of parts and confirm our digital twin is the same as the physical twin.”

    “The quality assurance team are ultimately responsible for accepting the right structural integrity and dimensionally accurate parts into the stock. We must eliminate the risk of incorrect quality parts from impacting our performance. We can understand the accuracy of our parts and must ensure that information is shared with the team, so we can gain a common understanding and reliability to maximise car performance. Quality control is one tool within our quality assurance toolkit. The inspection doesn’t change the shape or form of the part and as such, it is non-value adding. So, the process must be as quick and productive as possible. It must be quick, deliver accurate results and be easy to understand; Hexagon has provided inspection equipment that has enabled us to achieve this without compromising our time or ability to get parts to the track,” states Mike.

    “The value we get from the data is that we can send the right quality parts into stock, ready for the race car. Whilst we are responsible for accepting the right quality of parts, the manufacture and procurement functions are responsible for manufacturing the correct quality and quantity of parts. We hold vendors to account for this, but we also need to support them before production commences to ensure their manufacturing function will create the right quality of parts. Again, we use data collected throughout each of the steps to understand and gain confidence in our processes and look to support manufacturers with their process improvement.”

    The Story of a Nosecone

    The nosecone is undoubtedly one of the most critical features on a racing car, claiming a significant role in vehicle performance, handling and downforce – all before getting to the fact that it is an impact structure. Taking a closer look at the nosecone, its impact on the car and how Hexagon and its metrology equipment play a role, we spoke with Mark Foden, External Quality Assurance Group Leader at Red Bull Technology.

    Mark told MTD magazine: “The nosecone is the first component that hits the air, so it has a massive impact on the aerodynamic performance of the vehicle. Add in the fact that it is in impact structure and the event of an accident must absorb load and protect the driver – it’s something we must get right.”
    Over 70% of components are manufactured in-house, but some components such as inserts and the jigging are supplied externally to Red Bull through a very large supply base. “Our quality assurance department sees over half a million parts per year supplied, this ranges from washers to highly complex components manufactured at multiple locations worldwide. Following the QA risk analysis of our external suppliers, we use Hexagon products like protable measuring arms, laser trackers and CMMs to validate the processes.”

    “Quality assurance and quality control are integral at all stages of the nosecone. Whilst our internal manufacturing facilities still operate within a QA environment, we still undertake quality control functions to mitigate the risks of the process. This takes place through multiple stages of production. Nosecone production starts with a pattern and mould, and parts manufactured at this stage conform to the main shape of the nose – inspection is undertaken with a Hexagon Absolute Arm with an RS6 Scanner,” Mark confirms.

    The Absolute Arm is a 7-Axis system that delivers tactile probing and laser scanning in an ergonomic package, ideal for high-end portable measurement applications. As Mark says: “This combination gives us the ability to conform free-form surfaces back to a CAD model with fast and repeatable results that can be fed back to the design department. We can also create advanced inspection plans to increase our productivity in these areas. Once produced, we move on to the laminating stage and here we also use the Absolute Arm with ‘hard probing’ to check the structural and positional inserts whilst the RS6 checks the geometry of the laminate surfaces.”

    “Once the moulding is complete, we rely on the RS6 Scanner and the Absolute Arm for fast and accurate data regarding conformance to its shape. From here, we machine key features on the moulding such as simple threaded holes for holding brackets right up to tight tolerance machined features to ensure the nose fits the car and the wing fits the nose correctly. Again, the Absolute Arm is integral, as it is used to make sure we get the most accurate parts possible. Post machining, parts are checked with the GLOBAL Advantage CMM, as machined features can have tolerances as low as 10µm. Here, we use advanced programming options within PC-DMIS to maintain and improve our productivity. Once parts are approved, they are ready to go to the ‘bonded level’, which is what race fans will be more familiar with seeing at the circuit. As for the nosecone, it has to undergo safety validation and a series of deflection and stiffness tests. These are normally certified by the Hexagon Tracker with laser scanning as an option. This allows us to reach all areas of the car and look for the deformity of any aero surfaces as they pass through our tests. Hexagon is a vastly used resource that plays an integral part in our success here.”

    Working with the F1 team for a number of years and adding some of the technical benefits to the conversation with Red Bull, Hexagon’s Technical Sales Manager, Mr Jon Kimber says: “On the RS6 and the Absolute Arm there are three or four main technologies that have come to the forefront over the last few years. The Absolute Arm obtains its name from using absolute encoders and these encoders allow anybody to ‘just pick the arm up’ and start using it. Likewise, with the RS6 Scanners, the idea is to make them as user-friendly as possible. We have a technology that we call ‘Shine’ – Systematic High Intelligence Noise Elimination. What this does in real-world terms is it enables operators to pick up the arm and just scan without any concerns about the surface composition, whether it be metallic, composite or even one of the many crazy colour schemes and pearlescent finishes that can be used on an F1 car. It has a projected ‘letterbox’ where we have the laser line that scans as well as the periphery that gives users a great visual guide.”

    “We have also increased the frame rate of the RS6 scanner from 100Hz to 300Hz. This is a threefold increase in the speed that data can arrive, and this allows the operators to scan quite literally as fast as the arms can move, rather than taking their time. Each of these improvements may only account for a couple of seconds on each process, but if you can reduce production time by just one minute on a component, this may not be a massive difference in the real world; but in F1, it makes a huge difference, especially if you are checking the same component multiple times as well as checking tens of thousands of parts. Whilst we have not calculated the potential time savings for the team, they will be huge. This is something where Red Bull has driven Hexagon to evolve our developments and innovations – and it is something that will help all of our customers. Without our relationship, we may not be quite as driven by some of these developments. So, I give huge gratitude to Red Bull for helping us to develop another great product.”

    Adding to this Red Bull’s Mike Hughes says: “The RS6 Scanner, from the first time we were able to see it, it was a noticeable step-change in performance. The rate of data exchange is huge and what this means, is rather than going over the surface of the car relatively slowly, we can do it a lot faster with fewer passes. It is a fantastic evolution of the technology that Hexagon has provided for us. We use all of the Hexagon products across a complete range of applications, materials and environments. This no doubt provides Hexagon with a stern testing ground for new product development.”

    Digital Twins

    ‘Industry 4.0’ and ‘Digital Twins’ are buzzwords in the manufacturing arena, but in the fast-paced world of F1, it’s an established technology that has been a foundation block of Red Bull’s drive to compress time. As Mike Hughes states: “By the time the nosecone is fitted to the car, it confirms the actual car represents the digital car, giving us a digital twin. Hexagon technology is critical in helping us to develop our car and increase the information we can obtain to compare and confirm our data with the digital twin to ensure they are as identical as possible. The more data we collect, the quicker we can do it and add safe, reliable and high-performing parts to our car.”

    “Having confidence in the digital twin on the track gives us correlation and the data we receive from the track can feedback into our design cycle. This feedback loop enables us to improve reliability and performance even further. We make more than 30,000 design changes a year and they get manufactured in multiples of each component. We are producing thousands and thousands of components each week and only by having the speed of application and speed of data collection and technologies, can we implement as many inspection processes as we do. Maximising our productivity through quality improvements is a huge part of our success, and it is why we use Hexagon’s technology,” concludes the Head of Quality Assurance and Manufacturing Engineering at Red Bull Technology.

    In the next instalment of this two-part feature, we’ll be giving readers an insight into ‘race week’ and how Hexagon and metrology are playing an ever-increasingly important role in the pit-lane.