June 11, 2012
Built to succeed: Quarter-scale tractor team earns second place in international competition
Small tractors led to big success for Kansas State University's Powercat Tractors Quarter-Scale Design Team in a recent international competition.
The university's A Team took second place in the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers' 15th annual International Quarter-Scale Tractor Student Design Competition. The competition was May 31-June 4 in Peoria, Ill. It is the 13th time in the past 14 years that the team has finished in the top three at the competition.
"This year's team used more computer-generated designs of critical power transmission components than any past tractors," said Joe Harner, head of the department of biological and agricultural engineering. "The computer-generated designs helped the students test for failures in their designs before being fabricated into steel parts."
Twenty-six student teams from universities across the U.S. and Canada competed in the event. Each team built its own 31 horsepower quarter-scale tractor and documented the market research, testing and development that went into the design. Tractor designs, oral presentations and documented written material were presented to a corporate management team for evaluation. Additionally, each tractor competed in a live tractor pull to test performance capabilities.
In total, the university's A Team won first in the Campbell Scientific category for its use of electronics; second place for oral presentation; first place for written report; and second place for tractor pull performance, which was based on four pulls.
The university's X-Team also took first place in the competition for the oral presentation and tractor pull performance categories. The X-Team is composed of freshmen and sophomores who are new to the contest.
"The development of the tractor by the team gives our students real-world experience with engineering design and manufacturing techniques," said J. Pat Murphy, professor of agriculture and natural resources and one of the six advisers for Powercat Tractors. "It also gives valuable experience in project time scheduling, written and oral presentations and budget management."
In addition to Murphy, team advisers are Ed Brokesh, instructor of biological and agricultural engineering; Lou Ann Claassen, senior administrative specialist for the department of biological and agricultural engineering; John Kramer, adviser for biological and agricultural engineering; Darrell Oard, research assistant in biological and agricultural engineering; and Jim Schmidt, a K-State biological and agricultural engineering alumnus and the senior mechanical engineering manager for the Dell Corporation.
Members of K-State's Quarter-Scale Tractor Team and leadership position, if applies, include:
Darren Falk, sophomore in agricultural technology management, Atchison; Andrew Koch, junior in biological systems engineering, Auburn; Bradley Ellenz, junior in agricultural technology management, Beloit; Dillon Thompson, senior in biological systems engineering, Burdett; Tanner Peroutek, senior in biological systems engineering, Esbon; Bradley McVey, senior in biological systems engineering, Fredonia; Douglas Niehues, senior in biological systems engineering, Goff; Jordan Reisinger, sophomore in biological systems engineering, Havensville; Devin Mangus, senior in biological systems engineering, Kanorado, A Team secretary; Nicholas Depenbusch, May 2012 bachelor's graduate in biological systems engineering, Nashville, A Team vice president; Jonathan Zeller, senior in biological systems engineering, Overbrook, A Team shop foreman; Brett McClain, senior in biological systems engineering, Phillipsburg, A Team captain; Cody Hommertzheim, junior in agricultural technology management, Pratt; Aaron Spare, junior in biological systems engineering, St. John, fundraising chair; Peter Masters, sophomore in biological systems engineering Troy, X-Team captain; and Justin Sales, junior in agricultural technology management, Valley Falls, shop foreman.
From out of state: Tyler Siebels, sophomore in biological systems engineering, Council Bluffs, Iowa; and Joshua Ogle, May 2012 bachelor's graduate in biological systems engineering Hopkins, Mo., A Team treasurer.