Singapore - What does Bilstein - a world leading manufacturer of automotive suspension systems - have in common with our island’s post-secondary education system; or to be more precise - the Institute of Technical Education (ITE)?
A lot actually, as 9tro was invited by the German-based suspension maker to ITE College West to experience a one day seminar conducted by Bilstein for the School of Automotive Engineering (Nitec Automotive) students.
Planned, organised and setup by Goldenlink Auto, the objective of the Bilstein seminar is to give engineering students here a taste of what the industry’s practices and standards are like; applying what they have learnt into the real world and hopefully inspiring them to carve out a career in the automotive sector.
Held for the first time in ITE, the presentation was split into two segments; a theory lesson fronted by Mr. Rainer Popiol, Bilstein’s Global Training Manager and a practical demonstration presented by Mr. Marco Kunert, Bilstein’s Workshop Manager, Sales and Marketing.
Kicking off the seminar was Mr. Popiol’s presentation on Bilstein, which included the company’s origins, a brief history, milestones as well as the various products and services offered worldwide.
Upping the interactivity, Mr. Popiol also brought along various samples of Bilstein automotive suspension parts and passed them on to the class, allowing the students to see for themselves how they functioned.
The second segment was even more hands-on as the students were ushered out of the lecture hall and into a practical workshop where a demo vehicle, a Mercedes-Benz S-Class had been hoisted up. Mr. Kurnet was in-charge of this session and invited the students to view the undercarriage and various parts that make up the car’s suspension system.
This was followed by a live demonstration of how the car’s original air-suspension system would be removed and replaced by a Bilstein unit carried out by the students under the professional guidance of Mr. Kurnet. The numerous processes and steps were exhaustive but the students were meticulous and worked on the Merc with an equal amount of tenacity.
9tro spoke to Mr. Rainer Popiol and Mr. Philip Cheong, Senior Lecturer-Mentor Section Head for Nitec Automotive Technology, School of Engineering at ITE College West on their thoughts about the Bilstein Seminar.
9tro: What was the purpose of this seminar and what are your future plans?
Mr. Popiol: For us it was a very good training, the students and mechanics are very open to having more new information about new technology from Bilstein and also different technologies from the different car brands like BMW, Mercedes, Porsche and all the others. Everybody was open to discussions, there were many questions, it was one of the best trainings we ever had.
It was a training with a theoretical part and of course a practical part. In the future we would want to give more technical information about active systems that comprise of the shock absorbers with electronic parts inside and of course shock absorbers with air springs that adjust the car level and are very comfortable while driving and for safety as well.
9tro: How did you find the Bilstein Seminar for the students?
Mr. Cheong: It is very beneficial for our students, Bilstein uses current technologies on a high-end vehicle for the demonstration and I find that it is very useful especially with the hands-on segment and the theory lesson too; it’s really very practical. Our students were able to adapt and understand the seminar as the Bilstein representatives were very systematic and showed all the various details setting up the vehicle and so on.
It was very useful for our students because its all very systematic with step-by-step instructions. The students would understand the various types of shock absorbers besides what we have been teaching, which is the normal types of shock absorbers. The students now have a better understanding of high-end vehicles using air suspension.
It was heart-warming to see the next generation of automotive engineers being groomed and seeing their passion for the industry even more rewarding. Bilstein conducts such seminars worldwide for tertiary institutions as well as for their distributors and dealers to keep everyone updated and informed on the latest technological breakthroughs in the industry.
We look forward to the next Bilstein Seminar where the suspension giant will have even more new technologies and information to share with the students and dealers alike!