Interview with Cardiff Racing co-team leader Dewi Griffiths. Unable to view this newsletter? Read it online.

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Onwards and Upwards!

Steve and Paul
Steve and Paul at Emkay's new location!

As we are drawing closer to the end of 2013 the Directors of Emkay Plastics Steven King and Paul Meek took a trip down memory lane from when they first started out at Bowthorpe Industrial Estate to where they are now 13 years on at Rackheath Business Park and we would all agree everything just seems to be getting better! If you haven't already seen it Check out our Facebook Page to see the photo album we put together from 2000-2013! large line

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Emkay Plastics Ltd
Composite House
Mission Road
Rackheath Business Park
NR13 6PL

Tel: +44 (0) 1603 746 000
Fax: +44 (0) 1603 746 001

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Advanced Engineering Show NEC Birmingham 2013

Composites Enginerring Show 2013

Once again this year we will be exhibiting at the Birmingham NEC Advanced Engineering Show. This has always been a great networking opportunity for us with our existing and potential new customers. It is also great to see what is going on in this growing industry of ours! If you are exhibiting or just coming along to the show let us know! We are situated in the Composites Engineering section in booth C185! We would love to see as many faces as possible over the two days or even at the Composites UK Industry Awards Dinner which we are also attending! Click on the link below to register for your free entry tickets.

Formula Student

Cardiff Racing

Cardiff Racing are one of the many teams we sponsor for Formula Student. We sponsored Cardiff Racing for last year's Formula Student, for a summer project in August and we are also sponsoring them again for the next Formula Student! We finally caught up with Dewi Griffiths the co-team leader of Cardiff Racing so he could tell us about Formula Student UK, Germany, the summer project and next year's Formula Student plans!

New Sheet Sizes!

We are happy to announce we can now supply our customers with 1/8's (630mm x 630mm) of a standard Rohacell sheet (2600cm x 1350mm) The 1/8's are available to be cut from IG-F and IG-UF

So Dewi, what course did you have to enrol in to be able to get involved in the amazing competition that is Formula Student?

"My involvement in Formula Student began in my first week as an undergraduate studying for a Masters in Mechanical Engineering in 2009. The course is 4 years however a Year in Industry is optional in between 2nd and 3rd years. Formula Student is not compulsory here in Cardiff however in your 3rd year you can complete a dissertation on a certain aspect of the car and in the 4th year, you can be involved in the majority of the design work. I am currently entering my final year and have recently been involved in a research project investigating the feasibility of a carbon fibre monocoque for the FS car."

Other than preparation for the competitions what else do you do throughout the course?

"From a personal point of view most of what I do mid-term is all about the computation! Obviously I have my studies to concentrate on however I often find myself in the University late at night, finishing reports, finishing parts and assemblies and getting work done to aid the car and the team. But it's something I enjoy and am happy completing."

Cardiff Racing
These samples of Rohacell supplied by Emkay underwent punch and three point bend tests and were benchmarked against standard honeycomb Cardiff had used in the past.

How was the year running up to the competition?

"In the run up to the 2013 competition the team worked hard to stay ahead of schedule. We worked hard and efficiently to keep ourselves ahead of schedule to the point where we were 6 weeks ahead compared to the previous year. With the competition a week earlier in comparison it was essential we maintain this gap. In terms of testing pre competition it was always our aim to have a car 100% complete before doing any track testing. From previous experience it's always the small afterthought components that fail during testing and we were proved correct when it was our decision to end testing for the day and not the cars! There was some doubt on the Sunday at competition. CR09 had done endurance distances before, however always required minor work half way through. Also, the track temperatures at Silverstone were approaching 50℃ therefore reaching the design limits of the cooling system."


Now the relocation is complete our PDQ Machine is back up and running again so you have two payment methods available once again. So you can choose whichever suits your company best!

Option 1: Over the phone PDQ system payment on ordering
Option 2: 30 Days at end of month payment account

PDQ System

What sort of hours were you putting in?

"The majority of the team (post exams) were putting in 9 - 10 hour days. Personally I was there at 8am and leaving when the jobs were done. Sometimes 6pm and sometimes 11pm! It's nothing like the all nighters from previous years."

So tell us, what happened at Silverstone?

"The Silverstone competition was quite a success for us. We passed scrutineering at the first attempt, taking half a day. The rest of the pre racing inspections such as tilt and noise test were then completed. The tilt test angles the car at 45 degrees and then 60 degrees to simulate 1g and 2g or cornering. This ensures that the car won't tip over and that fluids do not leak from the engine and ancillaries. Noise test ensures that each vehicle is under 110db as per the FSAE rules. Our car completed this with a noise of 109.9 therefore perfectly engineered!
Next were the static events Business, Cost and Design. These events carry 300 points, 30% of the competition therefore are essential if you want to do well at competition. With our best ever results in all three we were very satisfied with our performance. Business resulted in 19th out of 88 teams (61/75 points), Design 30th (110/150 points) and cost 2nd out of 88 teams (87/100 points). Overall after the static events we were 2nd of the UK teams and 6th overall.
Going into Acceleration and Skid pad on Saturday morning we had one driver fall ill therefore had to call on reserves who had never driven those events in this car before. Following some decent times considering driver's inexperience we prepared for Autocross (qualifying). We went out early to ensure we got our runs in and sent our quickest driver out first. He (me) set a 63s lap which was three seconds faster than anyone who had been out at that point however the final 150m were coasted since the engine cut out for the final corner and slalom. It was an easy problem to fix and we went back out. Unfortunately I drove too aggressively and out braked myself halfway through the lap. This resulted in an off course however pushing till the end proved there was about 6 seconds to come out of the lap time. Our second driver got in the car and proceeded to the start line. Unfortunately due to an on track incident we weren't able to start our lap however even with the slow first lap we were still 33rd of 88 teams and looking to be very competitive relative to other cars around us in the endurance.
On the Sunday we were on track at 1pm therefore the hottest part of the day. Our first driver, under strict instruction to conserve fuel, save the car and to keep the engine cool set out and set fastest lap times of the day whilst driving at 60% speed. Following a spin and a stall the car was on lap 7 of 11 of the first stint when an oil line fell off and dropped oil onto the circuit. Unfortunately we had to pull out of the endurance to attempt to save the engine. It was a disappointing end to the competition however we know how to make the car quicker and more reliable for the next competition and looking ahead to next year. Overall we came 26th out of 88 teams."

Steve and Dewi
Emkay's managing Director Steven King with Dewi at Silverstone!

What was the Overall experience like?

"The overall experience is like no other I've had. The work that we put into designing, building, running and driving these cars is huge and to see them out on track setting competitive times is the most rewarding feeling I've ever had. I've learnt how to run an efficient successful race team, how to work in a team and project management. I feel so proud to have been a part of Cardiff Racing this last year and am positive we can make next year, my final year, the most successful yet."

Now you didn't have much of a break before you went onto Formula Student Germany. How was the atmosphere in Germany compared to that of the UK competition? Were there new teams you hadn't come across as yet?

"FSG (FS Germany) is a completely different atmosphere to the UK event. It's regarded worldwide and the premier FSAE event and is the one with the best teams competing. There are a number of new teams at Germany. Numerous American teams fly over and stay and test with German teams but don’t travel to the UK event."

F3 Germany

Did you make any adjustments on the car for this competition?

"We made a few adjustments to the car for Germany. Scrutineering in the UK pointed out an issue with our headrest which was quickly rectified in the scrutineering area. This was tidied up before going to Germany to ensure we passed scrutineering quickly without trouble. Due to the higher expected temperatures a new radiator and oil cooler arrangement was fitted also."

How did it go?

"Germany's competition was lots tougher than the UK. With less team members and longer days it was also more work on each team member.
Being in 68th position to enter scrutineering was not an ideal start to the competition. Despite getting an initial inspection at the end of the first day it took a further day to pass technical inspection therefore tilt, noise and brake must be done before 5pm on the Friday to give us enough time to attempt the Skid pad. This was done despite some issues with starting and idling. The brake test was attempted at 3pm when air temperature was 38℃ and track temperature approaching 50℃. With the rubber laid down from previous brake tests it was very difficult to get all four wheels to lock at once and bring the car to a stop. With some setup changes if was completed on the 4th attempt and we were off to Skid pad. This brought some more issues into the driver line up. One driver was suffering of heat stroke and the other had never driven CR09 before, hadn't driven on wet tires before and also hadn't driven a Skid pad before! Despite all these setbacks, Mike put in a competitive time in his last ever FS event as a competitor.
Saturday morning was the acceleration event. Again Mike was driving in his first attempt at acceleration at competition! Despite some shifting issues Mike set another good solid time. We debated sending a second driver out when it started raining and we thought it best to diagnose the shifting issues. It was found that the alternator was not putting out enough power to the battery. Our electronic shifter therefore wasn't having enough power to shift, requiring our drivers to lift fully off the throttle causing long shifts.
With the car fixed we went to the sprint with the same attitude as the UK event. Get a time in early and go from there. Our first lap was red flagged due to a car stopping on track therefore we were eligible for a re run. We opted for more setup work on the car before since the brake bias was too far rearward and the car was locking the rear axle before the front causing the engine to stall going into a corner. With this rectified, we got back out on track and finished 22nd after some pretty good laps from me (even if I do say so myself!). We had some issues with the differential and its setup relating to the front suspension which we know will give us in the order of 2 - 3 seconds per lap which is very promising going into next year.
The endurance came and after a full bolt check, the car was taken for a warm up, tank of fuel and in line for the start. Andy went out for the first stint and was told once again to save the car, keep it cool and save fuel. Coming into the driver change area, Dewi was strapped in the car and a check over the vehicle completed. The temperature of the engine coming into the area was 120 degrees therefore the fan was running and taking power from the battery. We waited for the temperature to drop below 85 degrees before attempting a start but we were running out of time. The scrutinisers stopped us starting since we waited for too long. A very disappointing end to the endurance since we knew the car would restart. A check of the telemetry showed an air leak in the engine intake which resulted in a lean mixture. This caused the engine to get hotter than expected explaining the excessive temperatures when the car entered the driver change area."

The teams cooling down at Formula Student Germany!
The teams cooling down at Formula Student Germany!

Did you learn anything from your experience in Germany?

"The experience is one I'll never forget however it was far from easy! Having a party on the Sunday night helped the team chill out after a very busy week. We learnt that it is important to pay closer attention to the rules. Whereas scrutineering was quick and easy in the UK, in Germany the scrutineers were a lot more thorough and spotted some areas that were a little close to the rules and some which were just under. The time spent rectifying these issues was time we could have spent doing a thorough bolt check of the car or preparing for static events."

We also sponsored you for a project you carried out with Dr Rhys Pullin after Formula Student which you have used our Rohacell in, what was the project all about?

"Our new project using materials supplied by Emkay Plastics is a Carbon Rohacell monocoque chassis. Test components and a mock chassis have completed a feasibility study that has shown the benefits of this material and how it can improve the performance of an FS vehicle. Initially we benchmarked some samples with the Aluminium Honeycomb we currently use as a chassis material. After initial testing we were within 90% of the required strength necessary whilst a 50% reduction in mass was apparent. With some additional variation in carbon layup, cure time and number of plies, this was shown to be a viable replacement to aluminium honeycomb. Using prepreg carbon fibre donated to the University through a sponsor, the decision was taken to make a chassis as a demonstration of the material and manufacturing technique. This then will be used as a demonstration of what we can manufacture in the facilities we have in the University and will be shown to future students, current students, possible sponsors and future partners."

Cardiff Racing On Track
Cardiff Racing on the track!

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Finally next year's Formula Student which again we are proud to say we have sponsored you for! Where will you be using our Rohacell this year?

"The Rohacell sponsored for the 2014 season will be used to prove the strength of the carbon/Rohacell panels and attain all the data to complete the structural equivalency spreadsheet necessary for competing with a Monocoque at competition. Also, additional Rohacell will be purchased for the manufacture of aerodynamic components and side pods. These will be manufactured with a Flax prepreg fibre which will aid the teams green credentials and our performance in the Cost and Renewability event at competition."

Do you have any advice for future students who are about to embark on the journey you have?

"My advice for students starting out on my course would be to get as hands on and practical as you can be. If you have an opportunity to get involved with Formula Student grab it with both hands and make sure you get as much out of it as possible! Work hard in your first couple of years and get yourself to a position where you can apply to do a placement year. This is invaluable in gaining real world engineering experience and will boost your employability when you come to starting your career. When you return to University try to organise projects to suit your interests. Not only will you have a keen interest in your design, work and research but it will aid your understanding and help you realise what career path you would like to take. It sounds like I'm saying work, work, work but it's important to enjoy your time in Uni too. Find a hobby which is completely different to your course and try to escape to it a couple of times a week. I find gym, go karting or something adrenaline filled is ideal!"

Impartial Independent Confidential

Check out Cardiff Racing's progress from their website, Facebook and Twitter!