The University of Nebraska-Lincoln quarter-scale tractor A team took top honors at the International Quarter-Scale Tractor Student Design Competition in Peoria, Illinois, June 2-5. Twenty-seven teams from the United States, Canada and Israel tested their skills at the event hosted by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers.
The competition is unique among student engineering-design contests, providing a realistic 360-degree workplace experience. Teams are given a 31-horsepower Briggs and Stratton engine and a set of Titan tires. The design of the tractor is up to them and is perfected over the course of a year. Industry leaders judge each design for innovation, manufacturability, serviceability, maneuverability, safety, sound level and ergonomics. Teams also submit a written design report before the competition. At the event, they 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 tractor pulls, a maneuverability course and a durability course.
The competition gave team members an opportunity to experiment with complex technology that’s becoming increasingly common in the industry. That experience is helpful to tractor team members, many of whom are agricultural engineering majors, according to Roger Hoy, professor in biological systems engineering and tractor team adviser.
“In addition to learning a lot about communication, leadership, teamwork fundraising, testing and development, the team members got a glimpse into future career opportunities in agricultural engineering,” Hoy said.
The UNL agricultural engineering program is one of the nation’s top programs and emphasizes hands-on applications.
Team captain and recent graduate Ryan Hanousek of Cairo incorporated his efforts on the team into his agricultural engineering senior capstone project. He said it was rewarding to see the long hours and hard work result in the win.
“Our tractor was built in record time, so we were able to spend all spring, including spring break, testing and trying to prevent any failures that could happen at competition,” he said. “It was great to be rewarded for our hard work with a win and establishing the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as one of the top tractor teams in the world.”
Kansas State, the University of Kentucky, Modesto Junior College and Université Laval rounded out the top five in the competition. All four have won or finished among the top five in previous competitions.
UNL has enjoyed numerous top-10 and top-five finishes since the event’s inception in 1998. The team finished out of the top 15 in 2015, but UNL earned most-improved honors in 2016.
This is the first win for the A team, which is made up of juniors and seniors. The UNL X team, made up of freshmen and sophomores, also fared well at the competition. The team won the design category and placed third overall in the X team division.
The performance gives team members momentum for the 2017 competition, Hoy said.
“They were already sketching new designs for next year on the drive back to Lincoln,” he said.
Along with Hoy, Joe Luck, assistant professor in biological systems engineering, is a team adviser.
Team members, listed by hometown are:
Cairo: Ryan Hanousek (captain)
Eagle: Micah Bolin (captain)
Humphrey: Travis Classen
Lindsay: Caleb Lindhorst
Neligh: Ethan Mosel
Omaha: Sydney Gard (captain)
St. Edward: Evey Choat
Weeping Water: Greg Frenzel
Peoria, Illinois: Rachel Noe
Lexington, Kentucky: John Evans
Dannebrog: Jason Shultis (captain)
Eagle: Jonah Bolin, Noah Bolin
Fullerton: Seth Wetovick
Glenvil: Josh Murman (captain)
Grand Island: Anna Siebe
Grant: Zak Kurkowski
Lincoln: Jack Moore
Ord: Devon Vancura
Shelby: Colton Rathman (captain)
York: Keith Kopcho
Fayetteville, North Carolina: Jordan Bothern