K-State team wins for tiny tractors

By The Mercury

A K-State delegation had the top tractors in a recent international competition.

Kansas State University’s quarter-scale tractor design teams won the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers’ 16th annual International Quarter-Scale Tractor Student Design Competition, earlier this month in Peoria, Ill.

The teams and their Powercat tractors won their ninth international championship title at the event. It’s the 15th time in the last 16 years that Kansas State University has won or placed in the top three at the competition.

The competition requires teams to build a 31-horsepower engine quarter-scale tractor and document the market research, testing and development of their design. Tractor designs, oral presentations and a written report are presented to a corporate management team for evaluation. Each tractor also competes in a live tractor pull to test its performance capabilities.

Kansas State University’s A Team beat 28 other universities from the U.S. and Canada to claim top honors, receiving first place for maneuverability, third place in oral presentation and second place in written report and in tractor performance pulls. The University of Kentucky, Modesto (Calif.) Junior College, Universite Laval in Canada, and Pennsylvania State University rounded out the top five in the A team competition.

Kansas State University’s X Team received first place out of 11 teams in the X Team competition, winning both the oral presentation and pulling performance categories. X Team members are freshmen, sophomores and students who are new to the competition.

Joe Harner, head of the university’s department of biological and agricultural engineering, said the teams’ strong performances at the competition reflect the quality of academic programs and activities available to students at Kansas State University, as well as the strides the university has made toward its goal of becoming a Top 50 public research university by 2025.

“The 2013 ASABE International quarter-scale tractor competition highlights the quality of extracurricular activities available to students at Kansas State University,” Harner said. “They are the cumulative application of students’ classroom and internship experiences. As such, they provide undergraduates the opportunity to contribute toward the goals and scholarly activities of Vision 2025.”

Harner says participating in this competition helps equip students with the skills needed to solve the problems and confront issues they will face in their future careers.

“Nearly 200 industry professionals volunteer their time as part of the intensive review process of the undergraduate teams’ design, product manufacturability and serviceability, ergonomics and safety, written and oral communication skills, as well as tractor pulling performance,” he said. “The cumulative outcome is preparing today’s K-State students to address tomorrow’s global challenges.”

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