At this year’s Australian Freight Industry Awards, Rachel Michaud and the Knorr-Bremse team won the Application of Technology Award for their iMass On-board weighing system. Graduating from Monash University in 2010 with a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering with Honours, Rachel has made many significant impacts on the transport industry during her successful career.
Before her graduation, Rachel spent some time at Monash’s Formula SAE Team, where she led it through several global and local competitions. This is where Rachel found her love for all things vehicles and moving, which she explains then opened doors for other opportunities.
“I was quite fortunate to be team leader there and we competed at SilverStone, coming third in the world and first in Australia as well,” she says. “From that team I got a job offer to work for Thales in Bendigo. I worked for them for two years on the Bushmaster and on survivability project upgrades, which was very exciting. I got to redesign the seating frame, which meant that when soldiers were in a mine blast in a Bushmaster, they would no longer suffer severe damage to their legs, and they could basically walk away from those incidents.”
Following Rachel’s work with Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicles, she applied for a position at Knorr-Bremse, where she worked as an Applications Engineer on the electronic safety systems for trucks and trailers and then transitioning into a Technical Account Manager and projects role.
During Rachel’s time at Knorr-Bremse, she has been heavily involved with the company’s iMass product, which is its On-Board Mass (OBM) offering produced for truck and trailer. According to her, it’s the first certified OBM system globally to tap into the ISO connection between the truck and trailer for Electronic Braking System (EBS) modules, and it’s the one that won the team the big award.
“We’ve just recently won an award for iMass at the Australian Freight Industry Awards,” Rachel says. “It’s also a global first for us as we’re the first company in the world to use the mass measurement from the trailer EBS and have it certified. We think it’s the future of onboard weighing technology.
“It was a pretty big deal as this is the first product that we’ve locally designed, developed and released in Australia,” she says. “It’s been five years in the making, it’s had its ups and downs and I think the whole team was just astonished to finally release it and then to win an award. It’s really brought our entire team here together.”
While being a female in the transport industry may provide some challenges to some, Rachel says that she is currently in a very supportive environment that has allowed her to further catapult in her aspirations and projects.
“I’m in a very supportive environment here, being a female in the industry,” she says. “In the earlier days it was a little bit daunting being in a male-dominated profession, but Knorr-Bremse has proven to be a diverse and inclusive employer and really supportive of all its people. I’ve never been treated any differently and I have been given all the same opportunities as anyone. I’m just very lucky to be in such a great industry.”
Made possible by Smedley’s Engineers, Industry Innovators is a series dedicated to honouring the individuals who are transforming the commercial road transport industry.