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Brake technician Ben Devine cannot wait for the automotive manufacturing sector to regain its pre-pandemic pace. He really enjoys the challenge of getting vehicles of all types ready for testing on the proving ground at HORIBA MIRA where he works.
Ben, from Sutton Coldfield, is in the second year of a three-year Level 3 apprenticeship in light vehicle maintenance and repair. Ben works within the braking team at HORIBA MIRA for four days a week, with the other day spent in the classroom and workshops of the nearby MIRA Technology Institute.
Ben said, “I work on all types of braking systems on many different models, making sure that they are ready for testing, adjusting the calibration of all the instrumentation and using my fabrication skills to make brackets as required. Manufacturers need to understand how the brakes perform in different climatic conditions and need to ensure the vehicle complies with current braking regulations. An increase in customer expectations combined with a reduction in noise from electric powertrains means that brake refinement and improving is always moving forward. This requires us to test vehicle brake systems across various driving styles, vehicle load conditions and environmental conditions to fully evaluate the behaviour, boost customer satisfaction and reduce costly recalls.”
Working in collaboration with vehicle manufacturers and suppliers from around the world, HORIBA MIRA provides comprehensive support ranging from technology development and individual product tests through to full-vehicle design, development and build programmes. The unique combination of engineering expertise, advanced testing facilities and prime location of MIRA Technology Park enables customers to develop and validate their vehicles, including electric vehicles, and smart technology at a single location.
Ben continued, “I started in the automotive sector at the age of 16 and completed a Level 2 apprenticeship through Kwik Fit. From an early age I wanted to work with cars and, more importantly to understand how their systems operate to develop my skills further. I have been lucky that HORIBA MIRA has enabled me to progress by following an advanced apprenticeship while I continue to work. I enjoy the off-the-job training at the MTI; the facilities are great, and my tutor is very supportive and encouraging.
“I work on a variety of vehicle types ranging from small passenger vehicles, and light commercial vehicles to HGVs. The braking system makes use of a diverse range of technology from new materials including carbon ceramic or coated discs, to brake actuation methods such as brake-by-wire (BBW). Electric vehicles allow for regenerative braking which charges the battery whilst simultaneously slowing the vehicle, and so braking systems need to be modified to ensure that they can maximise efficiency and still meet the safety standards.”
HORIBA MIRA’s reputation is founded on ensuring that the most pioneering vehicle developments are fully researched and validated, meeting all required safety and security concerns. Its brake teams are skilled in brake system engineering, brake test and development, including assessing changes according to regional differences that affect braking in hot or cold climates.
Ben said, “I am really looking forward to the opening up of travel borders because I am keen to experience vehicle development in new locations and different countries. I am keen to improve my skills in this role, but I want to remain hands-on and work in a practical environment.”