1/4-Scale Tractor Competition Ready to Roll

Friday, May 17, 2019
1/4-Scale Tractor Competition Ready to Roll

St Joseph, Michigan, and Peoria, Illinois--Twenty-four collegiate teams from the US, Canada, and Israel will be heading to Peoria, Illinois, later this month to compete in the 2019 International 1/4-Scale Tractor Student Design Competition. The competition will take place May 30–June 2, at the Peoria Expo Gardens. The event is free and open to the public.

Sponsored by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, the provides a realistic 360-degree workplace experience. It is a popular recruiting event for many sponsors, who find among the participants practiced, high-achieving prospects with strong technical, communication, and leadership skills honed by competition experience.

Teams are given a 31-hp Briggs & Stratton engine and a set of Titan tires; the tractor is theirs to design and create. A panel of industry experts judges each machine for innovation, manufacturability, serviceability, safety, sound level, and ergonomics. Teams also submit a written design report in advance of the competition. 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 three performance events—three tractor pulls, a maneuverability course, and a durability course. 

“Our goal with the ¼-scale competition is to continually find ways to challenge and prepare students for their careers outside of college,” says competition chair Kent Thoreson. “In 2019, we are enhancing the durability event with a dynamic load cart as a new way to measure a design’s performance.”

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. They also sharpen critical “soft” skills--communication, leadership, teamwork—as well as gain experience in fundraising and test and development.

“These students learn throughout the year to balance full course loads with a complete design, fabrication and test cycle,” adds Thoreson. “After the completion of the awards banquet Sunday night, many will transition in the coming days or weeks into internships or full-time careers where they will directly apply the skills they’ve learned”

Sponsors of the 2019 competition include: AGCO Corporation - Jackson, Briggs & Stratton, Campbell Scientific, Case IH, Caterpillar, Danfoss, Deere & Company, Kubota, New Holland North America, SolidWorks, Thomson, Titan International, and Applied Industries. Also, Claas, GSI Grain Systems, Katie McDonald Photography, MacDon, and AGCO Corporation - Hesston, as well as Igus, Miller Electric Manufacturing Co., and RCI Engineering. Other supporting sponsors include AC McCartney Farm Equipment, HarvestMaster, Kelly Sauder Rupiper LLC, Kondex Corp, Martin Sullivan Inc., Precision Planting, SJ Smith Co, Star Equipment, and Walz Scale.

ASABE is an international scientific and educational organization dedicated to the advancement of engineering applicable to agricultural, food, and biological systems.