Helping save lives to bringing products alive

Silverstone Technology Cluster

4th March 2021

From high speed (200mph IndyCar racing) to standing still (medical devices and energy-efficient street lighting), STC member Chris Beatty Design has had some interesting projects of late.

When the US-based IndyCar single-seater motor racing category commences its 2021 season next month (April), all cars will sport a distinctive ‘canopy’ (clear shield) that surrounds the driver’s cockpit.

This is IndyCar’s response to F1’s ‘halo’ driver protection device and is thanks to Red Bull Advanced Technologies – and Chris, who had a significant say in the canopy’s design.

“The canopy was put into action in 2020 and quickly proved its worth,” reflected Chris, a consultant to IndyCar.

“In one incident, one car went over another close to the driver’s head; in another, debris from an exploding brake disc was deflected.

“You have to remember that a lot of IndyCar races are on enclosed oval circuits where the barriers are right at the edge of the circuit; debris can’t ‘escape’ and is therefore in the path of on-coming cars…”

Working with project leader Red Bull Advanced Technologies, as well as Dallara which designs the IndyCar, Chris put his expertise of 3D modelling/CAD to use.

“IndyCar wanted to maintain an attractive look without, of course, compromising on driver protection,” he said.

“Ensuring structural integrity, of both canopy and car, was paramount, as was ensuring the final design did not adversely affect the car’s aerodynamics – it’s been a big challenge given the space constraints of the cockpit.

“Seeing it in action, though, and doing the job it is designed to do is as satisfying as it is a relief.”

Chris’ skills in design and illustration solutions have meant his Buckinghamshire studio has been busy in sectors totally unrelated to motorsport.

 He continued: “I’ve also been working for a scientific company in Nottingham to demonstrate how their medical instrument measures drug particle dispersion into a human lung – effectively measuring how a compound of powder or gas, such as those in asthma inhalers, penetrates inside a body.

“And then there’s been something completely different again – creating all the 3D product marketing collateral for Holophane, a manufacturer of exterior streetlights using LED high efficiency bulbs. This has involved them sending me the CAD files and then me coming up with a virtual photoshoot and animation of the product so it’s ready to show on social media when the product is launched.

“My work is split between actual design work on a product to coming up with visual solutions that show how people’s products work.

“I enjoy the variety and freedom it involves and applying the thinking I’ve used in one sector to solve a puzzle in another.”

 

 

 

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