Another Year on Top

June 17, 2010 07:00 PM

James Bruening, AgWeb Contributing Editor 
Determination and commitment helped lead the University of Illinois’ student design team, The Illini Pullers, to their second consecutive first place finish in the Annual International Quarter-Scale Tractor Student Design Competition.

Teams traveled from colleges all over the U.S. and Canada to compete in this 13th annual event, which is sponsored by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers.
The objective of the competition is to build a tractor around a provided engine and set of tires. Although a lot of emphasis is put on the tractor pulls that take place on Saturday and Sunday of the competition, the tractor is also judged on other key aspects, including craftsmanship, safety, maneuverability and ergonomics.
U of I ended up taking top spots in all four tractor pulls, which helped boost them to a first place finish overall.
“A lot of them were over 200 feet. Generally they were about 10 feet ahead of any of the other teams in all 4 pulls. They really did well in the pulls,” says Alan Hansen, team advisor and professor in agricultural and biological engineering at the University of Illinois.
While the team did not place in the top three during the design judging, Hansen says they had to have been close.
“They must have just been knocking on the door, but didn’t quite get into the top three for the report and the presentation. We haven’t seen the final results yet, but I would anticipate they must have been fourth or fifth in those events as well.”
It Takes Team Effort
Ten to 15 student team members, ranging in degrees from mechanical and electrical engineering to technical systems management and agricultural communications all join together to create the workings of a great design team.
Hansen explains that it helps having these different disciplines. While engineers are working on the physical layout of the tractor, communications major will be creating the design reports.
A lot of commitment and dedication went into this project. Students spent countless hours and even all nighters as the competition neared closer. Hansen understands what an integral part of the students’ lives the competition is and has high hopes for future events.
“As a department we know the value of this activity, and its impact on the students. There is no doubt we will want to support it as much as possible in the future,” Hansen says.


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