Competing in the Formula One World Championship is all about timing, team work and technology. From the design and development phase back in the factory, right through to when the cars make it to the circuit and are competing to cross the finish line. At every stage, the time to delivery is crucial, and Citrix technology is helping Aston Martin Red Bull Racing to deliver some of the most time-critical services around both the factory and supply chain.
In the Milton Keynes factory, you might not be surprised to hear about a diverse manufacturing environment; with composites manufacture, an extensive CNC machine shop, various R&D facilities, test rigs, and workshops for final assembly. However there’s something really quite interesting linking all of these environments, which is often overlooked when talking about an F1 factory, but which arguably plays one of the most significant roles in both timing of delivery and performance of the parts for the car. This is quality & inspection, and it lives in 5 different departments located through the factory.
This select group of engineers are often heard to say that their job is to ‘engineer time’ — which sounds pretty serious — but isn’t far from the truth when you look at the breakneck speed that new components have to move through the factory and supply chain, and out to the track. However, in a business where countless hours are spent simulating, testing and iterating the design of those parts (up to 30,000 new designs are released every season just to keep ahead of the competition), it is absolutely crucial that the accuracy of manufacturing reflects the detail of the design. After all, this could mean the difference between a driver having the confidence to go flat out into a corner, trusting his aerodynamics, or feeling that it’s not quite right and losing valuable time.
So, how do 5 small rooms in a large factory keep up with over 1 million manufactured parts per season, all requiring detailed inspection and quality sign-off? Due to the performance and safety-critical nature of the parts, Aston Martin Red Bull Racing operates a tight inspection policy, meaning nothing makes it to the track without the seal of approval from the quality team. To make this possible, the Team employs the help of two key Innovation Partners; Hexagon MI, who provide some of the World’s finest measuring equipment into the factory’s departments, and Citrix, who allows this small team to connect with its supply chain and seek support in this huge task.
The Citrix Workspace story is particularly poignant here, as some of the Team’s key suppliers are trusted to carry out this inspection work on behalf of the team. However, in the interests of completeness the Quality team still requires a full Quality Assurance package just as if they had performed the inspection themselves, especially if there are any concessions requested (potentially acceptable minor imperfections in the manufacture, which need further discussion with the engineering team).
These key suppliers use a Citrix Workspace to log in remotely to the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing secure factory network and upload their inspection documentation for review, which enables the data to be inputted directly into the systems used by the Quality department whilst not compromising on security by allowing wider access to the factory network. The Workspaces have restricted access to ensure that only the relevant applications are available, and Aston Martin Red Bull Racing’s IT security team have the reassurance of being able to see what is being opened and accessed using these VDIs.
How is this ‘engineering time’? Well, the previous approach would have been to deliver an inspection report (in paper copy) along with the parts when they arrived at the factory. Any concessions would be reviewed on arrival, and valuable time could be lost sending rejected parts for rework. Now that conversation can happen remotely, and rework/remanufacture can get started sooner, saving hours and sometimes days. In the context of components that can sometimes only have weeks in their lifespan between the drawing board and the track, these hours really count.
This is just one more subtle, but significant way that Citrix Workspaces are helping Aston Martin Red Bull Racing to work faster, smarter, and in a more collaborative way to deliver business-critical services. And if you ever wondered how difficult it is to inspect an F1 component in a fast but accurate way, just ask Max Verstappen, who recently took a lesson from our Quality & Inspection team.
Chris Charnley is the Quality Manager at Red Bull Technology, his vast engineering experience has been gained by getting his hands dirty and also working at the highest level in the metrology industry! He has previously worked in the automotive business at Borg Warner Turbo Systems for 24 years, where he was Six Sigma Lean Manufacturing Black Belt and also a Manufacturing Consultant for the Worldwide Turbocharger division, where he worked on major projects to deliver World Class Manufacturing.
His role at Red Bull Technology has many challenges and rewards. Chris has been with Red Bull Racing and Red Bull Technology from the beginning in 2004, and has seen and managed growth in technology as well as with the quality team. The Quality department covers many areas, including Metrology, Composite materials and also the NDT functions, not only at the facility in Milton Keynes UK, but also at every race and test.
Red Bull Technology have won eight World Championship Titles in its short history, and they are looking for many more!