Four years ago, Price Engineering launched its first Fluid Power Action Challenge in Waukesha, Wisconsin with nine teams. This year, 52 teams made up of over 200 local middle school students worked to design and build a fluid power mechanism in three hours before competing against each other in a timed event. The goal was to see how many objects each team’s fluid power mechanism could pick up from one platform, rotate, and place on another platform in a two-minute period.
Event sponsors Eaton Corporation, FORCE America, Price Engineering, and Waukesha County Technical College (WCTC) also provided six teams of engineers to evaluate the students’ mechanisms and present awards in five categories.
Starting this year, the Action Challenge is also part of a new, larger education pathway that the NFPA debuted in Waukesha, the Fluid Power and Applied Mechatronics Training and Employment Network (FAMTEN). FAMTEN creates strong connections between local technical colleges, industry partners, and teachers by engaging multiple education levels in the community, beginning with the Fluid Power Action Challenge for middle school students.
This program recently brought Festo Mec Labs and Amatrol training equipment to many Waukesha County high schools and provided teachers with training on how to teach using this equipment. In this way, students who want to continue to learn more about fluid power can choose to enroll in classes in high school such as principles of engineering, automation, and systems and controls. Finally, with the support of local NFPA members, WCTC has had their fluid power curriculum validated to fit the needs of the industry. A local network of engineers mentor the students, help them learn the basics, and will eventually recruit them when they graduate. Industry representatives engaged in this program are from FORCE America, Husco, Poclain Hydraulics, Price Engineering, and SunSource.
The goal of these programs is to provide resources to teachers for science and technology curriculum, create a learning environment where math and science are fun, and encourage students to practice teamwork and problem-solving skills while introducing them to careers in the fluid power industry. Many thanks to the NFPA members that are driving this program forward!
For more information about how to get involved with FAMTEN, contact Lynn Beyer at firstname.lastname@example.org.