Iowa State University
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News Service

News Service:

Annette Hacker, director,
(515) 294-3720

Office: (515) 294-4777

06-12-06

Contacts:

Rameshwar Kanwar, Faculty advisor, (515) 294-1434, rskanwar@iastate.edu

Jacob Bolson, Cyclone Power Pullers, (563) 379-2337, jmbolson@iastate.edu

Dan Kuester, News Service, (515) 294-0704, kuester@iastate.edu

Iowa State finishes sixth in tractor design competition

AMES, Iowa -- The Iowa State Cyclone Power Pullers finished sixth at the recent 2006 International 1/4 Scale Tractor Student Design Competition in Peoria, Ill.

The competition is sponsored by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, which welcomed 27 teams from around the United States and Canada.

Matt Creswick of Newton aboard Cykotic pulls
the weight sled at the competition.

Matt Creswick of Newton aboard Cykotic pulls the weight sled at the competition.

Iowa State Power Puller's 2006 entry in the
tractor design competition.

Iowa State Power Puller's 2006 entry in the tractor design competition.

All student teams are required to design and build a one-fourth scale tractor using a standard engine that all teams get from a designated company. Teams are judged on several criteria. The most important factor is how far the tractors can pull a weight sled.

"This student design project is a real application of engineering," said Rameshwar Kanwar, a faculty advisor and chair of the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering who accompanied the group on the trip to Illinois. "It is the best example of how students enhance the engineering learning process in a team setting."

While the 10-person Iowa State University team works on the tractor almost year round, work intensifies in the weeks leading up to the June competition. Although the club is open to anyone, most members are studying agricultural engineering, others are are majoring in mechanical engineering, industrial technology and systems technology.

Kansas State University won the top prize followed by Laval Universite from Quebec, Canada; University of Wisconsin-Madison; University of Nebraska; University of Kentucky; and Iowa State.

While pulling performance is the most important aspect of the tractor, it is not the only one that is judged.

Scores are also given for the design, safety, creativity, maneuverability, ergonomics and ease of manufacturing and servicing of the tractor. Students also make an oral presentation to the judges.

Iowa State scored highest among all teams in the ergonomic category.

"We spent a lot of time developing a user-friendly machine," said Jacob Bolson a Decorah senior majoring in agricultural engineering.

The Iowa State team has done well in the nine-year-old competition in recent years placing eighth last year and seventh the year before that.

"We hope to keep moving up the charts," said Bolson. "A top-five finish next year is our goal. Winning it all would be great."

Designing and building the tractor is the purpose of the Power Pullers, but the payoffs run deeper than the competition.

"There are employers at the competition wanting to interview people," said Bolson. "This year there were Caterpillar recruiters walking around. I just got an e-mail from Caterpillar Tuesday requesting my resume after getting my name at the competition. I didn't even contact them, they contacted me."

Funding for Iowa State's tractor comes primarily from private companies who donate time, materials and money to the project.

"Without them, we wouldn't have a team," said Bolson.

More information on the club can be found at http://www.abe.iastate.edu/cyclonepowerpullers.

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Quote

"We hope to keep moving up the charts. A top-five finish next year is our goal. Winning it all would be great."

Jacob Bolson