On a Wednesday in early November, Embedded Electronics was gathered at one of our office rooms, called Kairo. Considering the heat generated by their busy computers, it almost felt like being in the Egyptian capital. Desks were decorated with energy drink towers, the smell of take-away pizza was in the air, and you could sense the stress looming over their shoulders like dark clouds. It was the final day before sending their first batch of printed circuit board (PCB) designs for production at one of our long-time sponsors, Inission.
Just like Revolve NTNU, Inission is synonymous with teamwork and continuous innovation and improvement, and we both like a good challenge. They are the Nordic region’s leading total supplier and have helped companies develop and manufacture electronic and mechanical products of the highest quality for 35 years. Their extensive portfolio includes, amongst others, diagnostic systems for vehicles, medical technology and monitoring systems in aircrafts, boats, trains and forestry machines, as well as subsea products. They also support smaller and innovative companies.
Since the making of our second car, KA Aquilo R, in 2013, we have collaborated with PCB production, and they have held various courses, such as soldering and ESD courses. We are grateful for being able to come to their facilities at Løkken Verk, only an hour drive outside Trondheim. The close proximity contributes to more efficient communication, increased flexibility and shorter transports – it’s simply unbeatable.
Let’s return to our office. In the blink of an eye, the clock had passed midnight, and the group members found themselves alone at the office. With the mobile air conditioners providing a breath of fresh air, the energy fuel of snacks from the office kiosk, and the help and encouragement of each other, they were pushing through to get everything done. There were still designs to double check, issues to fix and files to export. By the time they were finished, the clock had struck 5 in the morning. The rest of the team woke up the next day to a plethora of Slack messages with the group's self-made memes about their stress and frustrations, as well as a final message from their group leader reading “Great job tonight! Don’t worry about showing up early at the office tomorrow. Rather sleep in and meet up in the afternoon.”
A week later, it was time to solder circuit boards for our new inverter. Eskil Mogstad (R&D at Control Systems) and William Moriggi (Inverter Development at Embedded Electronics) make up an inseparable duo, and together, they work on our in-house developed inverter. On a regular day, you would most likely find them at the inverter testbench at our workshop; sketching on a whiteboard, drinking coffee and tea, expressing frustrations about the process and last but not least, testing. If you were to walk into their little corner of the workshop, you might find them a little crazy. But don’t we all get a bit madly obsessed with a project we have a burning passion for?
Eskil and William’s day started bright and early at 5 am. It’s not an easy task to leave the comfort of the bed at this hour when it’s pitch black outside and the morning temperatures are moving closer to 0 Celcius day by day. Fighting through the morning grogginess, they made it to Inission Løkken and had their first cup of coffee at 7 am. After a long day of picking and placing components and several cups of coffee downed, it was time to head back to Trondheim. This was just the beginning of the production phase at Inission Løkken.
Fast forward to the present day, March 2023, Embedded Electronics has gone through system testing & debugging, a second round of schematics and PCB layout reviews and software development. Before going into the PCB production, the group had to count the component reels currently in-house. This would normally take 6-7 hours but with the help of Inission Løkken, the time was reduced to about half an hour.
Now, being well into the production phase of the racecar, the everyday Revolve NTNU life feels different. The smell of fast food in the air has been swapped out by excitement. Flip flops for shuffling around at the office have been replaced with safety shoes and workwear fit for a day at the workshop. The 3D models on the computers have come to life. For each day passing by, the racecar looks more and more like a racecar.
This week, Embedded Electronics is going back to Inission Løkken to solder the PCBs that eventually will be mounted inside the racecar. Just like Eskil and William’s day, this workday will start bright and early. For each panel side, soldering paste will be spread across, components will be placed, and then the panel will be baked in a soldering oven. This is the first of several days at Løkken, and we are thankful for their continuous support and open arms at their facilities.