Students in Tractor Design Competition

Contact: Carl Nathe

Photo of student team member Grant Wonderlich driving UK's quarter-scale tractor.
Student team member Grant Wonderlich drives UK's 2004 quarter-scale tractor.

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The small, powerful tractors are designed, built and driven in competition by students. The tractors may be either two-wheel or four-wheel drive. All teams must use a Briggs & Stratton Vanguard 16 horsepower engine and specified Firestone tires. UK ’s entry featured a tandem four-wheel hydrostatic drive train and a controller area network (CAN), with a personal digital assistant (PDA) user interface for improved driver control.

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (July 15, 2004) -- Talent, tenacity and teamwork paid off for the students of the University of Kentucky’s Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering Wildcat Pulling Team.

The team earned second place in the International Quarter-Scale Tractor Design Competition held recently in East Moline, Ill. This compares to a third-place finish for the UK squad in 2002 and 2003.

“This is the highest our team has ever placed, and considering that more than 25 universities from the United States and Canada compete in this event, it’s a tremendous accomplishment,” said Scott Shearer, faculty adviser and UK biosystems and agricultural engineering professor.

The small, powerful tractors are designed, built and driven in competition by students. The tractors may be either two-wheel or four-wheel drive. All teams must use a Briggs & Stratton Vanguard 16 horsepower engine and specified Firestone tires.

UK ’s entry featured a tandem four-wheel hydrostatic drive train and a controller area network (CAN), with a personal digital assistant (PDA) user interface for improved driver control.

The competition, which is sponsored by the American Society of Agricultural Engineers, tested entrants in several categories such as design, maneuverability and pulling performance. Performance was measured by the distance each tractor pulled a moveable weight sled.

Teams also were judged on an oral presentation and written report. A judging panel, composed of 80 industry engineers, evaluated and scored the competitors.

“The objective of the competition is for students to be involved in all aspects of developing a product for the marketplace,” said UK team member Brian Luck.

Team members are Luck, Will Adams, Katherine Christian, Benjamin Clark, Evan Conrad, Blair Duguid, Ryan Figgins, Courtney Fisk, Spencer Guinn, Justin Jackson, Michael Kennedy, Reynold Knasel, Brandon McDonald, Laura Meszaros, Charlie Sorrell, Tyler Mark, Matt Veal, Jonathan Waits, Jason Ward and Grant Wonderlich. Faculty advisers are Rich Gates, Scott Shearer, Tim Smith, Tim Stombaugh and Larry Wells.

Sponsors for the UK tractor design competition project include the UK College of Agriculture, UK College of Engineering, Kentucky Corn Growers Association, Central Equipment Company, Cummins Diesel, Billy Joe Miles, Altec, White Hydraulics, Conway Transportation, and Touchstone Energy.

First place this year went to Oklahoma State University, and Kansas State University placed third.


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