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9th Annual Chainless Challenge Puts Students to the Test

9th Annual Chainless Challenge Puts Students to the TestThe ninth annual Chainless Challenge Competition marks a transitional year with plans to expand the number of participating schools under the leadership of the National Fluid Power Association (NFPA). Parker will remain a large sponsor of the event, but the logistics and coordination will be managed by NFPA going forward.

The challenge began about 2006, when our Parker Hydraulics Group sponsored a competition in which the challenge was to build a bicycle powered by hydraulics instead of a chain drive. The idea was to focus on bicycle design and the competition “The Chainless Challenge” kicked off, with a vision to inspire young engineers in hydraulics and fluid power.

We hope we have done that and we plan to continue to inspire students in engineering with the NFPA.

The winners

The top four teams across all the competitions were:

  • Cleveland State University
  • Cal Poly SLO
  • Purdue University
  • Illinois Institute of Technology 


9th annual chainless challenge puts students to the test - Illinois Technical Institute Winners - Parker HannifinThe team from Illinois Institute of Technology, consisting of Mechanical, Materials, and Aerospace Engineering (MMAE) engineers, won the 2015-’16 overall National Fluid Power Association Chainless Challenge in Irvine, Calif. This was Illinois Tech’s fifth year in the competition and its first overall victory. In addition to winning the overall competition, the students won first place in Reliability and Safety, Cost Analysis, Innovation, and the Time Trial. During the time trial, the students set an all-time record for the fastest average speed. 




2016 Chainless Challenge Breakout Winners

  • ASME Best Overall – Illinois Institute of Technology 
  • Best Paper, Presentation, Midway Review – Purdue University
  • Best Sprint Race Time – Murray State
  • Sprint Team Partner – CalPoly San Luis Obispo
  • Efficiency Challenge – CalPoly San Luis Obispo
  • Best Time Trial – Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Best Design Chosen by Peers – Illinois Institute of Technology & Purdue University 
  • Cost Analysis – Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Innovation – Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Manufacturability & Workmanship – Purdue University
  • Reliability and Safety – Illinois Institute of Technology

Stay in touch with the NFPA for NFPA Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge 2016/2017 challenge at their new website.




9th Annual Chainless Challenge Puts Students to the Test - multiple event photos - Parker Hannifin


Feature image of Illinois Institute of Technology Bike via Peter Buca (Parker Hannifin).

Image of Illinois Institute of Technology Team via IIT Today




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