Some 15 very eager students from the Centro Educativo Grupo Cedva in Mexico City recently toured the Banks facility in Azusa, California. They were given an up-close and personal look at many of the manufacturing processes: from design and prototyping, through production, right on to the boxing and shipping of the final product.
The young folks were in Los Angeles to participate in the annual “Formula SAE” event sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana. While they were in southern California they took a little time out to show a curious crowd of Banks employees their entry in the formula car competition at the Speedway. Their cool little student-built single-seater featured a modified 600cc Honda motorcycle engine, all-independent suspension, motorcycle disc brakes, wide Hoosier slicks, an open cockpit, and sleek composite bodywork.
The school’s proud president (who’s an automotive engineer himself), Jorge Contreras, accompanied the youngsters. Grupo Cedva includes the College of Automotive Engineering (ESI) and the Automotive Technical Training School.
The mini-tour included something of a special session in Banks’ Automotive Balancing Service department where two of the ABS technicians were able to not only demonstrate the precision art and science of high quality crank, rod, and piston balancing; but to explain the process in the student’s native language, Spanish.
The Banks tube shop crew sizes up the SAE racer.
The tour included the Banks Race Shop (which is usually off-limits to much of the outside world), the twin dyno cells, the prototype shop, the vehicle test bay, the design center, and the engine clean room. The new Banks Top Diesel Dragster, which had arrived at the shop only a week earlier, was a huge hit, as was seeing and taking photos of the record-setting Chevy Banks S-10 Drag Truck, parked right next to it on the shop floor.
At every stop, the highly-attentive students were given a quick explanation of what went on in that particular segment of the Banks facility and what special skills were needed to be working in that area.
Fifteen kids, a translator, a “tour guide”, and Sr. Contreras were a lot of people to get into the engine build room … But we made it!
From the smiles on their faces and the excited chatter as the youngsters got back on their bus a couple of hours after they arrived at Banks, the field trip to Azusa was a “technical” success and well worth the effort.
Everyone on the Banks staff was quite pleased to know that this special group of students, who had traveled so far to take part in a SAE-sponsored event, had a good time as well as an educational trip to Banks.
For more information on the school and its programs: www.grupocedva.com