How adhesives are changing motorsports
An idea that sparks creativity. Experimenting. Assembling. Failure. Finding new ways and trying again. Euphoria when your vision has finally come to life as a functioning prototype. Jonas Lang is familiar with every step of this process. He is a student at Munich University of Applied Sciences, start-up founder and passionate motorsport enthusiast. At the German MakerSpace prototype workshop at the Technical University of Munich, he refines new designs and products, finds inspiration, and exchanges experiences with other members of the workshop.
In this interview, he talks about how adhesives have helped him to optimize and implement changes in racing technology and provide solutions for tricky problems.
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Jonas, could you start by telling us a little bit about yourself? What do you do and how did you come up with the ideas for your products?
Jonas Lang: I have been studying electrical engineering at the Technical University of Munich since March 2020. Before that, I worked in the department of body material development for a car manufacturer. I have been a motorsports enthusiast for a long time. I started tinkering with gearboxes, trying to optimize components so that they can withstand high pressures while reducing their weight at the same time. A hobby and some tuning jobs for friends have quickly turned into a professional business.
What are your current projects?
Jonas Lang: Last year, I opened my own online shop Saltgrain Racing where I sell motorsports parts that I’ve developed myself. People can visit the online shop to, for example, buy hydraulic hand brakes, which I am continuously developing. My goal is to make these parts as light as possible, so that the car can be optimized for speed in the best possible way. For this, I use adhesives in various places, for example, retaining compounds for bonding in ball bearings that cannot be pressed in due to their design. For many different applications adhesives are the best choice for joining parts.
How did you come up with the idea of using adhesives for your applications?
Jonas Lang: My first contact to Henkel goes back to my time at Formula Student. Henkel had a booth at a race where I was able take a look at Henkel’s range of adhesives and sealants. I have to admit that I was sceptical at first because I didn’t believe that adhesions would be able to withstand high pressure. A friend of mine eventually convinced me to give it a try and it turned out to be the best solution. We used mainly Loctite retaining compounds and threadlockers in our Formula Student racing cars. I still use these adhesives for the products I develop today.
All other joining techniques were ruled out due to space limitations, so using adhesives was the only way to securely connect these components.
Jonas Lang, student, start-up founder and passionate motorsport enthusiast
You said that you use adhesives in your products. How did adhesives help you to overcome the challenges that you were faced with?
Jonas Lang: Safety is the most important challenge in connection with the gearbox: the screws must never come loose. That’s why I use high-strength threadlockers. The ball bearings in the gearbox have to be secured in a very tight space. We also have to join different materials in the gearbox – aluminum on the outside, steel on the inside. The joint needs to be reliable, but it’s not possible to press-fit the ball bearing, as it’s an angular ball bearing. As the space available is limited, it was not possible to use other joining techniques. The only useful solution for securing the components to one another was the use of adhesives.
It sounds as if your work involves interesting challenges and exciting solutions. What are your future plans?
Jonas Lang: Well, I have many plans. Recently, I have been developing watches together with a former colleague. That is something I would like to expand on. And of course, expanding my product portfolio in the racing field. I also plan to further develop my online shop for motorsports parts and improve my online presence. Another top priority on my to-do list is, of course, completing my studies. Otherwise, I just want to continue doing what I’m already doing: trying new things, failing, learning from it, and getting better.