Every year, students from all over the world come to compete in the National Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge. Previously named the "Parker Chainless Challenge," this competition has grown to include additional universities and a wide range of engineering students since its launch in 2006. This year’s teams include Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Cleveland State University, Colorado State University, Iowa State University, Kennesaw State University, Milwaukee School of Engineering, Montana State University, Murry State University, Purdue NW University, Purdue University, University of Akron, University of Cincinnati, University of Denver, University of Utah, Western Michigan University, and West Virginia University Institute of Technology. Out of the 13 schools that participated, six are Parker Lab Schools.
Setting the foundation
The competition is designed in five phases starting in the fall, which allows students to design, build, test, present and race their finished bikes. The purpose of the event is to expand students’ knowledge of fluid power components, circuits and systems along with participating in a team atmosphere during their senior design capstone project. By March, students are prepared for the final competition, which was held in Denver, Colorado this year. During the final competition, teams presented their design process and demonstrated the function of their bikes. The final competition also includes judging for three races: a sprint race, an efficiency race and an endurance race.
To gain additional knowledge, each team is able to reach out to several industry partners to help design their innovative vehicles. Parker worked alongside Western Michigan University, University of Akron and Cleveland State University. Involved with each team, was a dedicated Parker mentor who provided technical support, guidance on best practices and many other rewarding exchanges. Parker has been an ongoing sponsor of this event since it was transitioned to the National Fluid Power Association in 2016 and hopes to continue to participate and inspire students in engineering.
Although it was a tight race, Cleveland State University (CSU) was the overall winner of the competition. CSU placed first in the sprint race, and won the best presentation and best design competitions. Jen, Jason, Matt, Markus, Patrick and Sean spent countless hours designing the winning bike with the help of Parker mentor Nate Settlemire and CSU Advisor Bogdan Kozul. According to the team, they learned many valuable lessons along the way which consisted of things like function loss in fittings and mechanical issues when it pertained to their gear ratios. The team overcame many obstacles and stuck it out to take home the gold. Great job CSU!
Congratulations to all the winners
- Overall Champion – Cleveland State University
- 2nd Place - California Polytechnic State University
- 3rd Place - Western Michigan University
- Sprint Race - Cleveland State University
- Efficiency Challenge - Western Michigan University
- Endurance Challenge - California Polytechnic State University
- Best Presentation – Cleveland State University
- Best Design – Cleveland State University
- Best Teamwork – Iowa State University
- Rookie of the Year – Montana State University
- Best Reliability and Safety – University of Cincinnati
- Best Workmanship – Purdue Northwest