Fraunhofer IPT backing runners-up in the SpaceX Competition
A pod chases through a nearly airless tube at over 1,000 km/h, transporting passengersor goods faster than is currently possible by aircraft. The "Hyperloop" Competition was held in California at the end of July in the quest to make the futuristic vision dreamed up by Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX and Tesla, a reality. During the competition students from all over the world tested their self-designed and manufactured transport pods. The Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT in Aachen produced high-precision components for the power train of the second fastest transport pod.
The team of students from the University of Delft entered the third "Hyperloop Pod Competition" run by the SpaceX company with their self-designed pod. The American space travel company SpaceX set up a 1.2 km track under partial vacuum in Los Angeles specially for the competition. Here the pods travelled along at speeds of up to 467 kilometers per hour. The SpaceX company hopes that the outcome of the competition will be a powerful driver for its innovative "Hyperloop" concept: Terrestrial high-speed capsules known as "Pods" which, at speeds topping 1,000 km/h are faster than airplanes, are transported through tubes forming an extensive rail network. Teams from all over the world took part in this open development competition.
One of the conditions for participating teams was that the powertrain in the prototype pod had to be developed by the team itself. The Fraunhofer IPT provided support to the team of students from the University of Delft in the manufacturing of high-precision components for the power train. The pod from the Netherlands achieved the second highest speed of the competition in the 1.2 km tube. The team from Delft had previous experience in this competition. Having won the overall prize in the last competition, bringing a win to Europe, they achieved the second place in this year´s competition. The fastest pod was developed by the WARR-Hyperloop Team from the Technical University Munich.
The Netherlands with its numerous high-tech companies and sectors of industry, are an important partner of the Fraunhofer IPT in a diverse range of research and development projects. The Fraunhofer Institute has been collaborating with the University of Twente and the Saxion University of Applied Sciences in Enschede since 2017. In the "Fraunhofer Project Center for Design and Production Engineering for Complex High-Tech Systems" at the University of Twente – known as: FPC@UT – these partners pool their expertise acquired from their knowledge in research and industry in a cross-border collaborative venture. Thereby the development of complex and sophisticated technologies and systems for Industry 4.0 in both countries is accelerated. The Fraunhofer IPT draws on expertise accumulated in the course of developing manufacturing technologies and machine engineering for the networked, adaptive production of tomorrow to ensure that research outcomes can be swiftly translated into marketable products and processes.