Significant breakthroughs in engineering are often the result of efforts develop a solution to a unique problem. Nontraditional challenges require an innovative approach; for example, how do you move a bicycle without using a chain? Such was the basis of Parker’s 6th annual Chainless Challenge, a competition among student teams from various universities to design and build a human assisted, fluid power vehicle traveling on two, three, or four wheels.
The Parker sponsored Chainless Challenge prompted students to invent an economical and powerful hybrid transportation system with minimal environmental impact. The event included 49 students and 11 professors from 10 universities, whose entries were judged on various aspects of their design, manufacture and performance.
Previously held in Cleveland, Ohio, near Parker's Global Headquarters, this year's Chainless Challenge competition event took place on April 10-12th at the former El Toro Marine Base in Irvine, California. Participants included:
- University of Cincinnati
- University of Minnesota
- Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
- Western Michigan University
- Illinois Institute of Technology
- University of Illinois – Urbana/Champaign
- Murray State
- University of Akron,
- Cleveland State
- Purdue University
“Through this program, Parker was able to motivate entire departments from these outstanding universities while identifying and engaging dozens of the most promising engineering students. They now have more knowledge of Parker's capabilities and culture and a solid understanding of a realistic approach to innovation. In turn, Parker has gained fresh perspectives on the technology and access to an elite pool of talent."
~ Sandy Harper, Corporate Technology Liaison Manager.
Parker provided expert assistance, funding and Parker products to assist the student teams in preparing their vehicles, including two hydraulic pumps, hydraulic motors, one to two accumulators, valves, hoses, fittings and biodegradable fluid. Additionally, a financial prize was awarded among each engineering department based on performance in the final demonstration with a percentage being distributed to students. With the prize money split between the top four places, the first place teams for each category were:
- Overall Winner - University of Illinois - Urbana Champaign
- Best Paper, Presentation, Midway Review - University of Illinois - Urbana/Champaign
- Best Sprint Race Time - Murray State
- Best Time Trial - Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
- Cost Analysis - Illinois Institute of Technology
- Efficiency Challenge - Murray State
- Ingenuity and Novelty - Illinois Institute of Technology
- Manufacturability - Illinois Institute of Technology
- Marketability - Illinois Institute of Technology
- Reliability and Safety - Illinois Institute of Technology
- Workmanship - Illinois Institute of Technology
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