Interview with Johannes Thomé
Johannes Thomé, born in 1984, had accomplished an apprenticeship as an automotive mechatronics engineer before he began to study. After he acquired his Bachelor degree at the Cologne University of Applied Sciences in automotive engineering he decided to deepen his knowledge with a master study. Simultaneously he works as a research assistant at the Institute of vehicle safety, vehicle technology and design.
Johannes Thomé is in charge of the remodeling and preparation of the car for the world trip.
Hi Johannes, thanks for giving this interview. You have been working on the car for weeks now.What parts have you replaced so far?
So far bearings at the brake pedal, control gear, seat bracket, hand-brake lever, starter, throttle valve and all bearings of the convertible top.
You guys already did a lot. I guess there are also challenges and problems occurring when remodeling a car in a way like this. What has been the biggest challenge so far?
It is hard to say what has challenged me most. I kind of like challenges and I´m thinking positively, always following the phrase: “The impossible gets done at once, but miracles take a bit longer.” Seriously I think that the main challenge is the convertible top. It is very difficult and a lot of work to assemble it so that it is working perfectly again. The kinematics has to be very precise so that the convertible top doesn´t jam while moving. To disassemble the top in its smallest fractions was risky as we later have to put it perfectly together again. Nevertheless, the lifting mechanism is already incorporated and working well. In this context I would like to mention Mr. Michael Krug of igus® who is doing a great job in the framework of this project by adjusting bearings and helping us to always choose the perfect product. The cooperation is really good!
Johannes Thomé is replacing an original bearing by an igus® bearing
Which parts make you skeptical and question their durability?
To be honest, the strut bearing gave me headaches. We thought about replacing it by an igus® standard bearing but due to the high dynamic forces it would have to endure we decided against it. It is not that I don´t have confidence in igus® plastic but i think that an around-the-world tour is not the best scenario for a first test. That this bearing works is crucial for the safety of the driver and safety is always the main priority. We don´t want to risk it without testing it before. After the world tour we will come back to this and conduct some tests.
The bearing at the suspension strut which eventually won´t be changed
What modules do you still have left where you will replace parts?
In the upper part of the convertible top are two bearings on each side we will replace.
Furthermore the convertible top is guided by sliding blocks. Currently I´m working out by hand with CAD a new, adjustable version of these parts. The initially planned 3D scan is due to the complexity not feasible. With the help of the CAD-models the parts are then going to be printed with a 3D printer in conventional ABS plastic. Afterwards we test their accuracy of fit. Then after perhaps some further changes we can use the fitting CAD models to cut the new bearings from igus® bulk material.
Last but not least we have the door window mechanism where we will change the guide pulleys that are guiding the cable.
The sliding blocks that are guiding the convertible top
What of the work do you personally like the most?
I really like the work on modules that usually no one is dealing with. For instance the kinematics of the convertible top or the gears-module. As the word already implies is a module a close entity which is not intended to be opened again. Malicious gossip are calling mechanics just “parts-replacer” due to the quantity of modules in a car. I wouldn´t say it as drastically as this but it is really that manufacturer are putting more and more parts together to closed modules, they are rivetting and punching a lot. In conventional workshops is often no technical possibility to put the modules under the microscope and to deal with them. Here I have the chance to do this which is kind of nice and challenging work for me.
Furthermore is the remodeling also a good change to my office work.
The gears module of the car
Thanks for the interview and good luck with your further work.
Thanks, you are welcome.