Firsts: the first time you rode your bike without training wheels, the first time you spoke in front of a large audience, or your first year away from home at college. Many times, these firsts are not completely successful. That is not the case with the inaugural NFPA Fluid Power Challenge hosted at Joliet Junior College by Caterpillar Inc. and Industrial Hard Chrome on November 14, 2014.
This event had 17 teams competing, which is impressive for an inaugural event. Teachers said that this event was “inspiring” and “the best way for them (students) to learn.”
The Fluid Power Challenge is a skills-based competition. Teams consisted of four students that were challenged to solve a real-life engineering problem using fluid power. Awards were given to the winning teams in five categories: Best Portfolio, Teamwork, Best Design, Best Machine Performance, and Overall Champion.
But in the end, all the students who participated were winners. They learned how to problem solve, work in a team, and solve a real-world-type problem. And for many of the students, this was a “first” for them, as well.
Phil McCluskey, Randy Peterson, Ron Shinogle, Mark Landers, and Patrick Crayhon of Caterpillar and Industrial Hard Chrome, and everyone at Joliet Junior College, worked to make this event a reality.