The Corona year has cost many lives, caused upheavals and bankruptcies in the economy, and has caused indescribable social suffering and personal emptiness. However, as the only positive aspect, it has trained us to be masters of remote contact via internet computer vision. This will make many a business trip unnecessary in the future.
Modern telecom made possible the enterprise of Traction‑X @ TH Köln as a team project of students under my leadership. We are doing preliminary development, partly for a fictitious customer and a not yet consolidated specification, partly for the Italian Piaggio market leader as potential new customer. In bi-weekly virtual meetings we discuss organizational and technical issues in an efficient and pleasant way, although we are mostly far away from each other in the northwestern parts of Germany. This has enabled us to build up a good, almost friendly scientific and technical relationship, which would have been impossible if face-to-face meetings had to be held on site in Cologne. The patron and mentor of all this is Prof. Betzler, to whom I am very much indebted for this, but with whom I am also connected by a manifold technical-scientific agreement, an engineering-scientific-technical intuition, so to speak, which we share in a similar way.
Specifically, a team of two students from the Far East worked on a project entitled “Benchmarking Motor Scooters” to investigate the advantages of an electric scooter equipped with Traction‑X in terms of accommodation space, vehicle geometry, mass, center of gravity and resulting driving dynamics. For this purpose, a two-wheeler from BMW was used as a reference. Tam-An and Thanusaan were a good team and provided valuable insight for the project. Thank you both.
With a similar task and in the context of his individual project work, another student looked at the use of Traction‑X for motorcycles. He developed a comprehensive spreadsheet in which all components of a motorcycle are listed according to mass and partial center of gravity and in which the total center of gravity as well as the related mass moments of inertia of the vehicle are calculated. These characteristic values were calculated for a completely reconfigured vehicle, which in particular has the Traction‑X final drive with integrated wheel suspension, and compared with the same parameters of a conventional motorcycle. This spreadsheet, created with a lot of dedication, has already been reused and cited by some of his fellow students. Nis has done a good job, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank him very much.
One of the most important pieces of work is the development of a scaled model or demonstrator of Traction‑X. This particularly challenging work was chosen by a student from Emsland, Germany, who trained as an additive manufacturing expert in parallel with his studies. In general any thesis involving the creation of hardware is always fraught with multiple practical difficulties, and these are magnified when kinematic animation, i.e. electrically powered and electronically controlled mobility, is added to the mix. This challenge was addressed by combining an individual project work with a bachelor thesis. Andre is also my team partner and valued co-founder of Traction‑X.
Two students of a current team are working in three coupled constructive papers on the design and finite element calculation of Traction‑X for a potent electric scooter. In the first individual project work, a requirements analysis and the preliminary design of the Traction‑X rim have been worked on with great commitment, technical expertise and attention to detail. The same commitment is now being applied to the subsequent bachelor’s thesis. Meanwhile, his colleague is working on the design and calculation of the associated combined drive shaft and swing arm axle. Both are using the project-internal development environment of Fusion 360 and Autodesk, respectively, which has very convincing pre- and post-processors and a very fast FE solver. Yannik and Jonas work together in parallel, but also like a well-rehearsed team