Hydraquip is proud to be involved as a sponsor of the National Fluid Power Association (NFPA) Fluid Power Action Challenge. This challenge is a STEM competition designed to introduce science and engineering concepts to middle & high school students, primarily about the basics of hydraulics and pneumatics, in a fun and exciting environment. Students work in teams as they experiment and design their own unique machine and compete against their peers at a timed event! The Action Challenge gives students real experience in hands-on learning, problem-solving, organization and perseverance. It also introduces them to careers in the fluid power industry and creates an environment where they learn it is ok to make mistakes in order to better learn and succeed.
The goal of this challenge is to design and build a device that picks up containers and then deposits them in one of three locations. The containers, represented by wooden cylinders, must be moved without being dropped to a specific location. The task is to transport, within two minutes, as many cylinders as possible between the start position and any one of the three destination locations.
Hydraquip began working with Lonestar College and surrounding schools to complete our first challenge in the Houston area. We kicked off this event with a workshop day. Students were introduced to fluid power and taught how it can be relevant for their future careers. During this time, a variety of tools and materials were given in order to have them build the lifting device prototype that demonstrates movement by pneumatic power. Following the workshop day, the students were provided 6 weeks to work on their design portfolio to determine a solution for their device.
At the competition, students worked together to build a device and use it to meet the Challenge using the plans in the portfolio and from the Challenge kit. Employees from Hydraquip were on hand there to assist students with any complications and observe their work. Once all teams completed building their devices, the challenge began. Teams had the opportunity to test their device and see how well their device performed. In conjunction with other teachers and volunteers, Hydraquip selected an overall winner who executed the design most efficiently. It was a very rewarding experience seeing such great and creative outcomes from each team.
The Fluid Power Action Challenge is an excellent way to promote fluid power in schools and give back to our community. We appreciate the opportunity to be a part of this event and look forward to more challenges. We especially want to thank all the teachers and volunteers who made this event come to life.
Check out this video to see the challenge in action.