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Annual Canadian Fluid Power Challenge exposes middle school students technology careers

Toronto, ON -- The eighth annual Canadian Fluid Power Challenge, being held on May 8, 2008, in Etobicoke, ON, is bu...


Toronto, ON — The eighth annual Canadian Fluid Power Challenge, being held on May 8, 2008, in Etobicoke, ON, is building on the success of its predecessors.

Students will be asked to design and build fluid-power mechanisms for placing an object into a hopper and removing it from a chute. The materials they use will have costs associated with them and the total cost of each team’s machine will be calculated. The number of pick-and-place cycles a school’s machine completes in the demonstration time will be divided by the total cost to calculate a dollars-per-cycle measure that will weigh heavily in the final evaluation.

“We’re really starting to see a marked improvement in the understanding that teachers have of fluid power and mechanical design principles,” says Steve Rogers of Kidder Technology Teaching Systems, who acts as facilitator for the Challenge.

“It’s obvious from the diversity of the machines that the teachers involved still allow the students to develop their own designs. But, with the knowledge and skills they have learned through previous Challenges, they are now better able to bring to the students’ attention potential problem areas and to offer general suggestions for dealing with them.”
The Challenge, which is a partnership of the Canadian Fluid Power Association, Kidder TTS and the Toronto District School Board, is intended to provide Grade 8 students with hands-on experience building a mechanism with real world applicability and to open their eyes to the world of technology careers.

The 2008 Challenge involves gender-balanced teams from 18 west Toronto middle schools.

John Bachmann of Wainbee Ltd., Toronto, is the CFPA’s education co-chair.