Fluid Power Journal

Vehicle Challenge Mentors Connect with University Students and Help Them Succeed

The NFPA Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge is a competition that challenges college engineering students to redesign a traditional bicycle using hydraulics as the mode of power transmission. This is NFPA’s third year of organizing this competition, and during this time we have seen students’ discovery, energy, innovation, and frustration. We have seen great advice and great connections. We have seen generosity in the middle of a highly competitive race and team spirit that never dies. All of this while supporting learning and the growth of fluid power industry knowledge.

Each year we look to improve resources, so starting this year, each university Vehicle Challenge team was assigned an NFPA industry member mentor. The teams can get competition points for checking in with their mentor at least four times throughout the program and submitting a summary of their discussion. Mentors can help with things like vehicle bike design and schematics, component selection, assembly questions, and final adjustments before the competition. They can also be judges at the competition. We are seeing that this program is providing much-needed resources and advice to the teams while giving NFPA members access to very creative engineering students.

One of the students participating in the Vehicle Challenge said this about the program: “All in all, we see a lot of benefit in the Mentor Program and the new thoughts it will curate for this year’s competition. We have enjoyed our experience thus far and we look forward to new ones on the horizon.”

NFPA’s workforce strategy is to help increase the number of university students educated in fluid power and connect them to NFPA members and careers in the fluid power industry. Through the Vehicle Challenge, we are increasing the number of students learning about fluid power and connecting those students to our members.

Many thanks to our Vehicle Challenge sponsors: Bimba, Eaton, Lube-Tech, Parker Hannifin, and SunSource. We could not do this without you.

The opportunity to mentor and/or judge a Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge is reserved for Silver and Gold Pascal donors. For more information, please contact Lynn Beyer at lbeyer@nfpa.com or (414) 778-3364.

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