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Thread: My first year of Automotive Engineering

  1. #1
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    My first year of Automotive Engineering

    Introduction

    Since I have started my studies about a year ago I have learned so much about cars. I have also had several questions from you guys about what it is like. Therefor I decided to write a small report about it.

    The school and it's surroundings

    I study at the Hogeschool Rotterdam also known as Rotterdam University in English. They have a large Technical department located in the Northwest of Rotterdam, at one of the many departments. It is also very nicely situated near the river and a park, not too far from the city center. It basically is a bunch of classrooms in a very old building (estimated 1920's or 30's) with a new part attached to it, large cafetaria,pub (alcohol on school ) and plenty of computers to work on.

    The Engineering Cluster features Automotive Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Electronics Engineering and Industrial Product Design. It has a large place with all kinds of machines to do practical things like welding and metal working, but also testing equipment for metals, for example the Rockwell hardness test.

    Automotive Engineering: Introduction

    As you can guess Automotive Engineering (I will name it AE from here on) learns you everything about cars. It focuses on the technical design of the components. It is a combination of all the other Engineering studies of the Cluster, we get a lot of all subjects. That is basically what makes it so much harder then other studies.

    The study comprises about 15 classes of 20 people and about 15 specifical AE teachers. The first year starts with 6 classes and all the other years are about 2 or three classes.

    Quote Originally Posted by school
    The focus is on the student’s individual development and ambition. The part of student-driven programmes increases towards the completion of the study, enabling optimal preparation the personal ambitions in the professional practice

    Each 10 week period (quarter 1, 2, 3 and 4) the study programme consists of two courses, one training and one project.
    Student coaching runs parallel to that.
    Theoretical skills are integrated in the courses.
    Free choice courses, have a share of 5-10% of the study programme




    Year 1 focuses on the introduction in Automotive engineering, with specific emphasis on acquiring the basic knowledge of the technical packaging and design (engine technology, drive trains, passive and active safety, chassis design, suspension systems, vehicle electronics and complete vehicle thinking). Practical skills like measuring techniques, programming (i.e. Matlab/Simulink, C) and Computer Aided Design (Inventor) are developed. In projects the student achieves on-hand-knowledge by de-assembling, analysing, preparing and assembling cars and the first experiences in design of new vehicles.


    What I learned


    I learned so much it is impossible to write it down in a few lines.However i'll do my best.
    I have had classes covering the following subjects.




    - Basic practical working on a car
    - Basic metal working skills, welding, cutting and working on a Lathe. Also some sheet metal work.
    - Introduction to formal meetings, including everything involved.

    - Learning how to present in front of a crowd



    - Basic diagnosis and repair of a car's electrical system
    - 3D-CAD drawing in Autodesk Inventor.
    - Basics of Matlab / Simulink
    - (Thermo) dynamics of the engine
    - Basics of strength calculations

    - Mathematics

    - Designing and calculating the drivetrain
    - Basics of the vehicle design phases
    - Safety systems, calculating the neccesary equipment and analyzing crashes using videos and images of crash tests.
    - Advanced strength calculations
    - Analog&Digital Technology. Advanced Electrics, designing computer chips and learning (to calculate) the kinds of electric systems you find in a car.

    - Designing and calculating the suspension
    - Programming, using the C++ language
    - Engine Management Systems. Analyzing ECU's and learning the basics of their design.

    And most important, learning how the coffee machine works !

    Projects

    The projects form an integral part of the study. You learn valuable practical skills and develop a network of contacts. In practice you spend about 40% of your time on them.

    #1: Start 'n Go

    The first projct was basically to get used to everything. As it was new to almost all of us it was quite welcome in the end. We had to develop a kind of checklist for the Dutch APK Annual Vehicle Check. Together with that we had to make a checklist for valueing cars. The purpose of them was to save costs for the dealership. We worked in groups of 4 people.

    My part in it was to interview dealerships and think of ways to save time on the APK. The first attachment is a PDF-copy of the presentation we did.

    #2: Techniek Voelen

    The goal of this project was to learn more about how companies are run. We had to write a company plan for a car recycling plant (junkyard). We were in a group of five this time.

    My tasks were to manage the financials, quite the challenge as there were all kinds of wild plans that had to be finished of by me. I also tried to do some interviews again, which miserably failed. The f**kers simply didn't want to talk to me and give me sensible answers.

    Anyway others were more lucky so it was no problem. Attached is my Financial report including all the balances and stuff. Quite a challenge to do, because I had no experience in this field AT ALL. Not even from economics in high school. Exactly why I chose this field.

    #3: A Kitcar was born

    Basically we had to design a new part or something for the Kitcar we were building. We were divided into couples for this. I chose another field I had no experience at all in, for the challenge and the learning experience. As it turned out the other guy was lazy as f**k and I had to do almost everything.

    We got the measurements from the Tiger R6 and based on that I drawed the frame of it in 3D-CAD. Based on that we did a quick analysis of options and drawed a simple double wishbone on a napkin, having a beer in the in-school-pub Based on that I drawed the entire thing and did some calculations (big time pressure). The other guy wrote a crappy report, screenshots and the report are attached too.

    #4: African Kangoo

    For this project I'd like to refer to the thread I made about it earlier.

    Looking back

    In this year I feel I have learned a huge amount of stuff. Even though it makes high school look like a piece of cake, it's level is do-able if you are really motivated and paying attention !

    I got 42 / 60 points I could get maximum. This means I have just passed this year as the minimum is 42 !

    This year I have made some great friends, learned many good jokes and have matured A LOT ! My passion for cars has also increased a lot and I found out what I want to do in the future for a living. Suspension design is really one of my favorite things and I'd really like to keep going in that field.

    Costs

    This year cost me a lot of money, however not only that. I have been "over-stressed" a lot according to the doctor... But it was worth it.

    2200€ ----- School money
    600€ ----- Coffee (0.50€ a cup)
    200€ ----- Beers after school on Friday, celebrating weekend.
    800€ ----- Paperwork,print-outs (about 2000 pages !),folders, CD's,
    noteblocks, pencils that kinda stuff.
    90€ ----- Petrol for my car, when I needed to carry big stuff.
    2500€ ----- Books (about 55% second-hand).
    Too much ----- Cigarettes to help against the stress associated.
    __________________________________________________ ______
    6390€ in total excluding living costs,insurances and other spenditures.

    And I'm sure some other stuff I spend during the year could be add up, I just can't think of them right now.

    Conclusion

    I finally found a place where I really feel at home. I love this stuff and the atmosphere on school ! I hope I can stand the stress associated and finish the next three years.


    For more info have a look at our departments website (too long not updated unfortunately):


    http://www.hogeschool-rotterdam.nl/rotterdamautomotive/



    Addendum:


    If you have any questions or comments, please fire away ! I wrote this to inform you all of my studies and everything associated with it. Perhaps someone else gets inspired to choose this area of work, even if it is just one person, my goal has been reached ! Enjoy the story !



    To download some files created in the project, open this link.

  2. #2
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    interesting, thanks for sharing.
    autozine.org

  3. #3
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    If you didn't drink so much coffee you probably wouldn't have needed all the smoking and trips to the doctors
    Chief of Secret Police and CFO - Brotherhood of Jelly
    No Mr. Craig, I expect you to die! On the inside. Of heartbreak. You emo bitch

  4. #4
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    Here in Belgium those studies just cost 508 EUR
    thats why dutch people even come to study here
    24/02/2008: my first drive in a corrado 16, life is finally going somewhere...
    1/07/2008: first drive in a corrado vr6, life peaks here

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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by drakkie View Post
    2500€ ----- Books (about 55% second-hand).
    Wow I though $350 for new books was alot.
    John says:
    so i had to dump acid into the block tank today
    i'm afraid to fap
    cause i got it on my hands

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyco View Post
    If you didn't drink so much coffee you probably wouldn't have needed all the smoking and trips to the doctors
    Can you stay awake for 20 hours a day, for multiple weeks long without coffee ?

    Quote Originally Posted by ripper46 View Post
    Here in Belgium those studies just cost 508 EUR
    thats why dutch people even come to study here
    One of my former class mates now studies there too. He does dentistry in Leuven. It seems pretty nice.

    Quote Originally Posted by baddabang View Post
    Wow I though $350 for new books was alot.
    I have some books that cost that amount ! It must be because they are pretty special and don't sell much. Also for these books a lot of research has been done, so that makes the price sky-rocket !

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by drakkie
    Can you stay awake for 20 hours a day, for multiple weeks long without coffee ?
    Yes, what makes you think a Science degree takes less coursework?

    Dealing with international companies also requires long hours...
    Chief of Secret Police and CFO - Brotherhood of Jelly
    No Mr. Craig, I expect you to die! On the inside. Of heartbreak. You emo bitch

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyco View Post
    Yes, what makes you think a Science degree takes less coursework?

    Dealing with international companies also requires long hours...
    Offcourse it is not just AE, did I ever mention otherwise ? From what I ick off the other studies here though it seems to be one of the most demanding though.. But hey, that's what I am learning for / getting experience in. It's absolutely not nice and a 9 to 5 mentality suits me better..

  9. #9
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    Do they speak English there, because ive been thinking of studying abroad...

  10. #10
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    Sounds pretty interesting drakkie thanks a lot for this thread, in a few years time i intend to take a motorsport engineering course here in the UK but it combines a lot of the aspects involved in your course and it sounds ok. i know it sounds like it's been hard work for you but im sure it will be worth it. By the way is the school costs the cost of your course cus over here it's about 4500 euros

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadMax13 View Post
    Do they speak English there, because ive been thinking of studying abroad...
    Even though some of our reports and books are in English and/or German (some French books ) the lessons are almost all given in Dutch. I don't think they accept students that don't talk Dutch, as I had to do a admittance test in Dutch. Also a admittance test in Maths and Physics.

    I myself have been looking to study abroad about two years back. In Germany there are some similar schools and in the UK too. Let me know if you want more specific info about them, I'll have to look it up, but that's no problem.

    Apparently in France there is one too, but it is for employees of the factories specifically, work / learn kind of idea. I heard that from a man that works at PSA as a technical designer.

    Quote Originally Posted by DBR9 View Post
    Sounds pretty interesting drakkie thanks a lot for this thread, in a few years time i intend to take a motorsport engineering course here in the UK but it combines a lot of the aspects involved in your course and it sounds ok. i know it sounds like it's been hard work for you but im sure it will be worth it. By the way is the school costs the cost of your course cus over here it's about 4500 euros
    The school costs I meant with is the money school wants for the courses and services they provide to me. With services think about wirelessLAN or the internal websites and stuff. I now realise though I forgot all the money for the excursions to factories and stuff, but that is voluntary. I estimate it at around 100€.
    Last edited by drakkie; 07-25-2007 at 08:26 AM.

  12. #12
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    Hell yeah, would love to know more. I only ask because they dont really have anything as technical and specific in the US, and i speak English, so the US is out of the question for me...

  13. #13
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    I know there are numerous universities in the UK that run this course and some have extremely strong links within the car industry. i know of a few in europe as well although not in as much detail.

  14. #14
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    Wow, there is nothing that extensive around here...

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