Interview team propulsion

Team propulsion has been designing and producing, surprise, the propulsion system this year. So they ensure that our boat can move forward. The time for assembly and testing has arrived. Yaela Amsing is part of this sub team and in this interview she explains in detail what it is actually like to work within this sub team, but also within Solar Boat Twente.

First of all, it is nice for people to know what your tasks are within the team. 

I work with Marjolijn on the design and production of the electric motor. In addition, I am the contact person for most companies that we work with as the propulsion team. So in addition to the technical part, I am also very busy with communication and good cooperation with companies. I am responsible for making the propeller that eventually pulls the boat forward. I also participate in the design of a cooling system to ensure that all electronic devices in the boat do not overheat.

Recently I have been mainly busy with the smooth running of the production of the electric motor and propeller. This requires close cooperation with the companies that produce parts for us.

What is it like to work with all kinds of companies?

Especially in the beginning I really needed time to get used to it. You find out that sometimes it may take some time before clear agreements are made. I learn a lot from it, it is nice to know how it works in the “real world”. At the University you can always assume that you have access to the right materials and equipment, and that you have enough time to make something. It is good to realize that this is not always the case.

What needs to be done now?

At this moment, all designs are already completely finished and most parts are out of production. So they are “ready”. What we are working on now is bringing those parts to a working whole. That means making sure that all parts fit together, correcting small mistakes we have made in the design, and making everything waterproof.

In the coming period I will mainly focus on (preparing for) the next phase in the process; the assembly. When we have all the parts inside, everything has to be mounted in the boat. We can think of glue, tape, bearings, loctite, bolts and nuts, cables etc.

A large part of the year is already over, how have you experienced this year?

The last few months  I have experienced as a whole new, exciting, educational, but above all fun period. We have worked hard, here and there also had a bit of stress, but because we do it together it feels right. It feels good because we got to know each other and because all that hard work is not only for the boat, but also for each other.

Normally you mainly work with people from your own study, what is it like to work with all people from other studies for a year now?

Very nice! Even though we all have the same enthusiasm for this project, I really notice that everyone has learned differently to deal with problems. For example, where some prefer to start building right away, others prefer to think about it first. It’s nice to have people with different approaches in one team. This way we can put everything into perspective and always choose from several options.

Not only do you work with the same people for a year, you also work on the same project for a year. How is that?

If you are working on one project, that gives you the opportunity to get completely involved. You can spend a lot of time on it, which often leads to smart and creative solutions. I really like that we do this project from start to finish. From the first drawings and “hey, maybe this is a nice idea” to the final testing and perfectioning of the boat. Of course things sometimes go wrong, and then you sometimes don’t feel like working it any longer and you just want to do something else. Fortunately, the big project of building a boat is divided into many small projects, so you can always do something else to get your mind off things. 

Of course we now all work at home as much as possible, how is that for you?

Boring. It is difficult to work together when you are not in the same room. It is more difficult to discuss or have someone check something. It is nice to be able to determine your own rhythm tho, which helps me personally for my concentration. Of course I miss the nice Friday afternoon drinks at the office.

What was a highlight for you this year?

One of the highlights so far has been the concept presentation. This was an opportunity for the team to organize a great event and present all of our ideas. This was the first moment for me that everything got serious. We received a lot of positive feedback and everyone was relieved and motivated to work out all the designs after the presentation.

What are you most looking forward to?

The future of this year is of course uncertain; we do not know if and when races will take place. I very much hope that we can participate in a race this year, to show everyone what our boat can do. I am really looking forward to traveling with the team to Monaco, enjoying the sun and the fun, and seeing our boat fly over the water.

What is the most important thing you have learned so far?

To be patient. I learned that everything takes longer than you think in advance. Working with many people takes time. Making your idea clear takes time. Planning the production of different parts takes time. And now that we are all together at home indefinitely, everyone can use that patience well. We all want to get back to work, but we have to wait and do what we can from home.

Is there anything else you would like to say?

I hope everyone is healthy and I wish everyone good luck, strength or fun for the time to come.

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