If you’re looking for a quick getaway for the top of summer, check out the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers quarter-scale design competition in Peoria, Ill., next week. The event features 26 teams from universities across North America will vie for prizes and global recognition for their design innovations in ASABE's 15th Annual International ¼-Scale Tractor Student Design Competition. Competition is May 31 to June 3, at the Expo Gardens in Peoria. It is free and open to the public.
The teams have spent the 2011-2012 academic year designing and building utility or recreational pulling tractors that they will present and demonstrate at the competition. Each team is supplied one 31-hp Briggs & Stratton Vanguard Big Block Engine and a set of Titan tires; they are responsible for acquiring all other components of their machines. All tractors run on a 10% ethanol fuel blend.
The ¼-Scale Competition is unique among student engineering design contests in that it provides a realistic "360-degree" workplace experience. A panel of industry experts judge each design for innovation, manufacturability, serviceability, maneuverability, safety, sound level and ergonomics. Teams also submit a written design report in advance of the competition, and onsite they must "sell" their design, in a formal presentation to industry experts playing the role of a corporate management team. Finally, machines are put to the test in a performance demonstration comprising a series of tractor pulls. The pulls take place Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning, and spectators are welcome.
“Each year, the organizing committee continues to be amazed with the students and the tractors they build with the challenges we present them,” said 2012 competition co-chair Mike Ciolino. “In 2011 we introduced a new design configuration change with the optional 31-hp engines and front-wheel assist. The configuration has not changed much this year, but we plan to see many new and innovative ideas as teams strive for the best overall design,” he added.
Last year, Kansas State University took home the championship trophy for an unprecedented eighth time. Rounding out the top five spots were, in order: the University of Kentucky, Purdue University, University of Saskatchewan, and the University of Manitoba.
The ¼-Scale Competition is a popular recruiting event for many sponsors. Most of the sponsor companies have hired engineers from among the teams, finding practiced, high-achieving candidates. Top teams will be honored Sunday, June 3, at an awards banquet held at The Grand Hotel in Peoria.
Corporate sponsors for the ASABE 15th Annual International ¼-Scale Tractor Student Design Competition are AGCO, Briggs & Stratton, Case IH, Caterpillar, Deere & Company, New Holland, SolidWorks, and Titan International. Additional support is provided by Campbell Scientific, Inc., GSI Grain Systems, Katie McDonald Photography, Precision Planting, Claas, RCI Engineering, Central City Scale, igus Inc., Miller Electric Manufacturing, and Star Equipment.
Students participating come from these schools:
California Polytechnic State University
Iowa State University
Kansas State University
North Carolina State University
North Dakota State University
The Ohio State University
Oklahoma State University
Penn State University
South Dakota State University
Southern Illinois University
Texas A & M University
University of Florida
University of Illinois
University of Kentucky
University of Manitoba
University of Missouri
University of Nebraska
University of Saskatchewan
University of Tennessee - Knoxville
University of Tennessee - Martin
University of Wisconsin - Madison
University of Wisconsin - Platteville
University of Wisconsin - River Falls