ASABE INTERNATIONAL QUARTER
SCALE TRACTOR COMPETITION
The International 1/4 Scale Tractor Student Design Competition is unique among student engineering-design contests in that it provides a realistic 360-degree workplace experience. Teams of students are given a 31 hp Briggs & Stratton engine and a set of Titan tires. The design of their tractor is up to them. A panel of industry experts then 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 on-site, 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 comprised of four tractor pulls.
Through involvement in the competition, students gain practical experience in the design of drive train systems, tractor performance, manufacturing processes, analysis of tractive forces, weight transfer and strength of materials. In addition, they also develop skills in communication, leadership, teamwork, fundraising and test & development.
Design Experience and More
One of the primary concerns of industry today is that many engineering students are entering the workforce with little or no practical knowledge or design experience. Student design competitions and projects are an important key to help prepare students to be effective professional engineers.
In the International 1/4 Scale Tractor Student Design Competition, students are challenged to harness the power and torque of a specified stock engine in order to maximize performance during the tractor pull.
Design fundamentals such as strength of materials, statics and power transfer will be major factors as the students design their frame, drivetrain, hitch, clutch, weight brackets and other parts. Although the size and shape of the 1/4 scale tractor is similar to that of a typical lawn and garden tractor, very few parts will be used directly from a commercial machine.
Not only will students gain practical design experience by participating in this competition, they will also obtain valuable experience as they manufacture and present their own designs.
Many manufacturing departments cringe when design engineers simply throw their designs “over the wall” and assume they can be easily manufactured. Through hands-on experience with numerous manufacturing processes, students will gain an awareness of the capabilities and potential pitfalls in the design for manufacturability and design for assembly.
With a project of this size and magnitude, the students’ skills in communication, teamwork and time management will be greatly challenged and developed through necessity. This project will graduate students who can excel and perform under adverse conditions and pressures, with professional skills valuable to any employer.
(Excerpt from Competition Website)