Frequently called upon for manufacturing solutions to challenging projects, HARBEC serves the most discerning customers within the aerospace/defense and security, medical device, electronics, automotive/transportation, and consumer product markets.
HARBEC takes great pride in delivering high performance precision parts to ALL of its customers. “Value indicators” such as speed, quality, performance and cost are top priority to HARBEC’s design, engineering, project management, quality, manufacturing, logistics and marketing teams’ members. In doing so, HARBEC views its role not just as a supply chain vendor – but as an integral member of our customers’ teams, converging capabilities to achieve better products and solutions.
From Robots to Racing
HARBEC never compromises on its integrity or value. Whether our customers are launching rockets to space, exploring the vastness of the deep-sea, or transporting goods across the interstate, HARBEC’s manufactured solutions are delivering unparalleled performance.
HARBEC extends this ethic to the “NOW Generation” – high school, college and university, and trade program students who represent America’s future innovators, engineers, and technologists.
In the past year HARBEC proudly served students of three regional technology design and development teams just as we would any customer: with 100% commitment to quality, performance and satisfaction. These included:
- TAN[X], Canandaigua’s FIRST Robotics Team
- Rensselaer Motorsport, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s (RPI) Formula SAE Team
- RIT Clean Snowmobile, Rochester Institute of Technology’s (RIT) SAE Clean Snowmobile Team
In each instance the student-led teams sought out HARBEC for its ability to provide high-value technical expertise, precision manufacturing, agile innovation support, and very fast turnaround time.
For example, RIT’s SAE Clean Snowmobile Team sought a way to redesign their air intake system which would eliminate flow restrictions and improve overall engine performance. Project Manager Anthony NaDell shared his experience: “From the moment we contacted HARBEC about potentially helping us out, everyone was very helpful. They guided us with things like figuring out the best way to make our product and what material we should use to handle the rigorous operating conditions. HARBEC’s customer service was excellent and we would love to work with the company again in the future. For a single part prototype the small lead time was very impressive.”
TAN[X] designs and builds robots to meet demanding challenges established by the FIRST Robotics competition each year. Launched in 2008, TAN[X] teams’ now average about 35 students per year representing grades 9-12. Further, TAN[X] has brought together dozens of local sponsors and team mentors to support their annual challenges. HARBEC supported the team with quick turnaround parts, as they managed frequent modifications depending upon the needs of each design challenge. Specifically, TAN[X] had complications with their robot’s tank treads falling off. In response, the team designed a new pulley using CAD that was cogged with teeth, enabling the treaded track to stay in place. HARBEC 3D-printed the pulley for TAN[X]. Steve Schlegel, one of the mentors of TAN[X] stated, “HARBEC’s ability to quickly respond with a 3D printed part made a HUGE difference, and took our team up a couple notches in how well we could compete.”
Each year more than 30 student members of Rensselaer Motorsport, the official name of RPI’s Formula SAE team, design and build an open-wheeled formula race car from the ground up. The competition is regarded as one of the world’s largest intercollegiate design series. The experience enables students to take what they learned in the classroom and apply it to real-world hands-on high-technology applications. The process expands upon students’ knowledge and continued development of career-critical skills including team building and communication, engineering and systems design, data analytics and problem-solving.
HARBEC has supported Rensselaer Motorsport for many years of competition, particularly in the areas of 3-D design and analysis, materials evaluation, and production of custom precision parts.
Nicholas Debono of Rensselaer Motorsport reflects, “Rensselaer Motorsport depends on the generosity of sponsor donations to complete our yearly goal. For years, HARBEC has been one of the teams most generous and critical sponsors. Working with HARBEC has always been a great experience. Parts are always provided with the shortest possible lead times, and professionals are always willing to help our students when advice is needed. Simply put, without HARBEC, Rensselaer Motorsport would not be able to achieve our design goals.”
For example, HARBEC supported RPI’s team with their intake assembly. Formula SAE rules require that the engine’s design teams, like Rensselaer Motorsport intake pull air through a circular restrictor 20mm in diameter. This design constraint greatly affected the power and performance of the engine. In order to compensate for the restrictor, RPI FSAE has, over the years, developed the intake assembly pictured below. It is one of the most developed systems on their racecar, earning them valuable design points during competition.
Figure 1: Solidworks Rendering of Intake Assembly
Figure 2: Sectioned View of Intake Assembly
Prior to working with HARBEC, leveraging its in-house 3-D design and printing capabilities, RPI’s SAE Formula Team relied upon much simpler designs, limiting the range of materials and performance of the intake. Many of the features of RPI’s current design were not able to be used with the older carbon design. For example, the rifling seen in figure 3, and the spike in the center of figure 4, would be almost impossible to recreate without 3D printing technology.
Figure 3: Section view Throttle Body
Figure 4: View of Runners
Because the intake is exposed to very harsh environments, material selection is also crucial. Fuel is continuously injected into the intake assembly, requiring materials to be chemically resistant. Further, the intake assembly needed to be strong, compliant, and heat resistant to ensure high performance in a combustion environment. HARBEC engineers worked with RPI’s designers to select a glass filled polyamide material that performed extremely well in their unique application. The end result was an extremely efficient, lightweight intake assembly that added technical performance on the track and brought unique design points from the judges.
Why investing in the NOW Generation is So Critical to Business Success
The future is NOW. And in HARBEC’s experience, investing in students is critical to business sustainability and success. Just like the three examples described, every customer of HARBEC comes to us with unique technical requirements, design, engineering and manufacturing challenges. In our experience, overcoming technical challenges requires teamwork, problem-solving, and ingenuity.
It’s been a pleasure for HARBEC to have been a part of these three student design and competition teams. The students are the NOW Generation, focused, eager, competitive, creative, and willing to learn. They displayed technical prowess and grace under pressure as they functioned as a team, and collaborated professionally with mentors and technical solutions providers. The individuals of these teams represent the future of design, engineering, product development, and innovation for HARBEC as well as our global customers in the aerospace, defense, security, automotive and transportation, medical device, consumer products and goods industries.
We congratulate TAN[X], Rensselaer Motorsport, and RIT Clean Snowmobile on their accomplishments, and stand ready to serve them and all of our customers with continued excellence.