In our day-to-day lives, we are rarely more than 10 feet away from 3M technology. 3M is a company rooted in scientific exploration and discovery, and they are ever evolving. They believe that science is just science until it is used to solve a problem. And that is exactly what is reflected in their vision: 3M technology advancing every company, 3M products enhancing every home and 3M innovation improving every life.
And for those of us at UM Solar Car, 3M’s unique versatility could not be more evident. For the 2015 race cycle, 2016 American Solar Challenge, and our most recent 2017 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge, 3M provided us with a multitude of equipment including, but not limited to: DP 460 glue, 471 vinyl tape, electrical tape, glass bubbles, duct tape, sandpaper, orbital sanders, full body suits, and respirators for safety.
3M has been an invaluable sponsor to the team, and a quick walk through our workspace will show the absolute ubiquity with which we use 3M’s tape, adhesives, and safety equipment.
The 471 vinyl tape serves a crucial role through its adhesive strength as it holds the fairings to the chassis of the car and eliminates gaps between individual components so as to maximize aerodynamic efficiency.
The full body suits and respirators have proven essential through their reliability and durability as they are staple tools in making sure our team members stay safe and clean when working with components which could potentially pose health risks.
The electrical tape and heat shrink insulate the wires of the vehicle, preserving the functional and structural integrity of our electrical components, and the vinyl car wrap aesthetically topped off Novum, providing her with a sleek, colorful appearance and complementing her already strong aerodynamic efficiency.
In our most recent race, the 2017 Bridgestone World Solar Challenge through the Australian Outback, we were exposed to terrain which challenged us and pushed us to our technical, mental, and physical limits. As a team, we were working with the novel, boundary-pushing design of our smallest vehicle yet, Novum. Along with this came exceedingly rigorous scrutiny, planning, and labor, both internal and external.
However, 3M’s products and support were key in helping us maintain the structural integrity of our vehicle and the well-being of our team members, allowing us to power through with Novum and race to 2nd place, our best yet World Solar Challenge finish.
According to UM Solar Car Operations Director Vignesh Jagathese, "3M has consistently helped the University of Michigan Solar Car Team through our toughest design cycles. 3M products are heavily used in our manufacturing process, and the high quality of their products helps us build the fastest car possible."
It would take pages to fully describe the value that 3M so graciously provides us as a team, but the overarching idea can be summed up in one phrase: 3M holds us together, both literally and figuratively.
Thank you, 3M, for being everything from the shield that protects us to the adhesive that binds us. We look forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in the future!