Competition Holds Key to Fuel Efficiency
APPLETON, WIThe University of Wisconsin-Madison (UWM) has won the U.S. Department of Energy’s annual FutureTruck competition.
Fifteen schools sent teams of engineering students to the competition, which is designed to develop fuel-efficient, low-emissions sport utility vehicles (SUVs). Each team received an identical 2002 Ford Explorer. The teams then had to modify their vehicles to get the best mileage and performance.
UWM’s Team Paradigm kept the body and threw out the original powertrain. They also lightened the original steel frame by 50 pounds using aluminum crossmembers and bumper beams.
To weld the parts together, Miller Electric donated a Millermatic 251 all-in-one MIG welding system to Team Paradigm. Previously, the university had used Miller’s Syncrowave 350LX. But switching to the MIG system saved the team about 5 hours in welding time. "We used the MIG welder to tack up a lot of parts," says Glenn Bower, faculty advisor for Team Paradigm. "We TIG welded where we needed a cosmetic weld, but the trouble is that tacking everything upside down with a TIG machine becomes a nightmare. Once we had everything tack welded with the MIG, we would unbolt the component and do the final weld with the TIG machine."