The Pack Pullers placed in the top 5 in the 2019 American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) International 1/4 Scale Tractor Student Design Competition. The Pack pullers, advised by Dr. Grant Ellington and Ed Godfrey, were also named the most improved team.
The International 1/4 Scale Tractor Student Design Competition is unique among student engineering-design contests in that it provides a realistic workplace experience. Teams of students are given a 31 hp Briggs & Stratton engine and a set of tires. From there, the students must design everything else.
A panel of industry experts judge each design for innovation, manufacturability, serviceability, safety, sound level, and ergonomics. Teams submit a written design report in advance of the competition, and on-site, they must 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 performance events – three tractor pulls, a maneuverability course, and a durability course.
The Durability Course is a timed event through an oval course of bumps and loose soil while towing a weighted cart. Teams will compete in the timed event by individually completing a quantity of 8 laps on an approximately 250 ft (76 m) course in less than 12 minutes. A single lap consists of 80 ft (24 m) of rough conditions, and 80 ft of loose soil conditions. The remainder of the course is flat dirt. The rough track is created using a random array of bumps no taller than 2.5 in (64 mm), and the loose track is created using 8 inches (203 mm) of sand depth.
Through involvement in the competition, students gain practical experience in the design of drive train systems, tractor performance, manufacturing processes, analysis of tractive forces, weight transfer and strength of materials. In addition, they also develop skills in communication, leadership, teamwork, fundraising and test & development.