Mathieu Leblanc
Senior Manager | Ing., M. Ing., MBB | Tax

University competitions allow students to excel and contribute to research in technological solutions that benefit the industry.

This article was drafted by Guillaume Dalpé, an ETS mechanical engineering graduate, and trainee with Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton’s Innovation and Technical Development Financing group in the winter of 2018.

In engineering, as in many other scientific fields, there are numerous university science and technological student clubs where our future professionals apply their knowledge for the benefit of technological advancement.

In some universities like the École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS), there can be close to 30 student clubs in various technological fields relating to human-powered submarines, wind-powered vehicles, concrete canoe races and many others.

These student teams generally participate in inter-university scientific competitions year after year in order to illustrate their advancements, in the hope of winning prestigious awards. The knowledge acquired during university is therefore showcased in a real project.

The Baja

One of the student clubs present in many Quebec universities is the Baja, designed for participation in a championship organized by the Society of Automotive Engineers with the purpose of developing a single ATV prototype.

To participate, each team must design and make the prototype based on rules established by the organizers to ensure the safety of all. As part of the championship, each team is restricted to using the same motor, a Briggs & Stratton 10 hp, the type usually used in snow blowers. They must build their vehicle around this motor by optimizing the chassis, suspension, powertrain and many other sub-systems.

The championship takes place during the school year from mid-April to mid-June. The teams have about eight months to design and make their vehicle and conduct all the necessary testing.

Every year, three competitions take place in North America, with representatives from more than 200 universities from around the world to compete for the Mike Schmidt Memorial Iron Team Award. This award is given to the team that accumulated the most points in the competitions.

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ÉTS team in first place

In 2017, the ÉTS team placed first in two competitions and second place overall, the best result for a Canadian university this year. Over time, the ÉTS team members have come up with numerous technological advancements to perfect the vehicle.

As these projects are rarely overseen by professors, the most experienced students take the initiative to develop or improve one of the vehicle’s sub-systems. Using literature and their technical experience, new notions are perfected and tested, often retaining more conservative safety features from previous versions.

In previous years, many major projects were developed by the ÉTS team, such as:

  • Complete suspension analysis using strain gauges;
  • Complete optimization of the transmission box;
  • Optimization of data acquisition systems.

Last year, the team made significant improvements thanks to the development of a new application for a Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT), i.e. an Electronic Variable Transmission (EVT).

CVT and EVT technologies

CVTs modify the transmission ratio thanks to a pulley-belt system. The pulley varies in width through a combination of weights and springs that utilize centrifugal acceleration. The weights and springs are determined to optimize transmission in a pre-determined power range.

With an EVT, the benefits stem from the fact that transmission ratios are changed using an actuator controller that optimizes at the ideal power at all times and provides the maximum amount of power possible from the motor, regardless of conditions.

All situations can be optimized using a mechanical CVT. However, it only maximizes one power range, which represents a compromise. EVT technology therefore allows you to handle situations that otherwise would be impossible to control, such as controlled deceleration. The technology is based on the fact that a motor is especially efficient at a given rotation speed. As a result, the transmission ratio can be adjusted to maintain this rotation speed as a target point. Therefore, it’s possible to read fluctuations, understand the situation and predict the vehicle’s behaviour.

From ÉTS to B-Cinq Technologie

After this student project, several members of the Baja team launched B-Cinq Technologie to develop this technology on a larger scale. Such an advancement could easily be incorporated into off-road vehicles in the coming years since most already use a mechanical CVT principle. This is a good example of how far university student club projects can lead.

While one of the premises for designing race cars is being as light as possible and that the built-in electronics are, according to many, not very useful when racing, ÉTS’s Baja team has gone against the current.

For many years, the team has been promoting the idea that technological evolution happens through the acquisition of data, which makes it possible to better understand a vehicle’s behaviour in multiple situations. Improvements can therefore continue to be made and we can continue winning awards!

19 Jun 2018  |  Written by :

Mathieu Leblanc is a senior director at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton. He is your expert in taxation...

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Clara Demers
Senior Advisor | Management consulting

An intergenerational business transfer brings its share of challenges. Finding common ground among the differences is the key to success.

The business successors have a new approach, one developed using a different set of values. There are benefits to be gained from this input provided the transition is properly prepared and there is a gradual changing of the guard.

New market challenges

The successors will have to adopt different approaches and develop specific skills to adapt to new issues:

  • Rapidly changing technology;
  • Need to take account of the environmental impact;
  • Enhanced ethical standards and increased controls;
  • Demographic changes and shifting consumer habits;
  • Increasingly intense competition and need to manage growth.

Characteristics of the new generations

Young entrepreneurs do not have the same expectations as their predecessors, resulting in the need to adapt how things are done. What are some of the characteristics of the next generations?

  • They expect mentoring rather than a hierarchical structure;
  • They are creative and want to be in the thick of things, to interact;
  • Technology and the wide range of communication channels are part of their DNA.

It’s important to call on each party’s strengths and abilities while offsetting gaps and weaknesses.

How to ensure a successful transition

A successful transition should be prepared years in advance. The main steps include:

  • Developing a succession plan;
  • Being attentive to the transferor’s and transferee’s expectations, concerns and motivations;
  • Implementing an efficient internal communication process;
  • Identifying the skills needed and providing for additional training as needed;
  • Clearly defining individual roles;
  • Starting the transfer process early.

You can increase your chances of success by being properly prepared and getting the support of an object expert. Don’t hesitate to contact our renowned professionals to ensure a smooth transition.

14 Jun 2018  |  Written by :

Clara Demers is your expert in management consulting at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton. Contact her...

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Rémi Fortin
Manager | Eng. | Tax

Scientific research and experimental development (SR&ED) tax credits can be a major source of financing for a technological business in the first years of its existence.

However, it can be complex to determine which projects and activities are eligible for claiming SR&ED tax credits.

 

14 Jun 2018  |  Written by :

Rémi Fortin is your tax expert at Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton for the Sherbrooke office. Contact...

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Welcome to IFRS Newsletter – a newsletter that offers a summary of certain developments in International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) along with insights into topical issues.

We begin this second edition of 2018 with the revised Conceptual Framework for Financial Reporting.

We then move on to look at two other recent International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) publications: Amendments to IAS 19 Employee Benefits and the Exposure Draft Accounting Policy Changes (Proposed amendments to IAS 8).

We then consider European  Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA)’s recent report on what European accounting enforcers have been doing during the past year.

Further on in the newsletter, you will find IFRS-related news at Grant Thornton and a general round-up of financial reporting developments.

We finish with a summary of the implementation dates of newer standards that are not yet mandatory and a list of IASB publications that are out for comment.