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Students compete to create applications for new drive product

Charles, IL -- Students from the Infinity Math & Science Academy and Glenbrook South High School have presented their Illinois Innovation and Technology Challenge solutions to Bison Gear and Engineering. The two schools proposed their...


Charles, IL — Students from the Infinity Math & Science Academy and Glenbrook South High School have presented their Illinois Innovation and Technology Challenge solutions to Bison Gear and Engineering. The two schools proposed their unique ideas, identifying potential applications for Bison’s new ServoNOW motor, a recently patented servomotor that provides easy-to-use motion control integration.

 

The students were exposed to the real-world problems that mechanical and electrical engineers face on a daily basis, helping to prepare them for potential careers down the road.

Bison worked closely with associates from the Illinois Math and Science Academy (IMSA), as well as teachers from the participating high schools, to bring this year’s ILIT challenge to life. Each school was given a $250 stipend, a ServoNOW motor and the task of producing a working prototype solution to a real-world application.

 

Bison further supported the students by assigning Mike O’Donnell, Bison’s ServoNOW expert, as a technical adviser. While the students took the lead on the project, O’Donnell was able to troubleshoot any issues the schools faced during the design process.

 

“Working with the students and faculty of our partnered schools provided an excellent opportunity for Bison and me personally, to witness our new product at the centre of a very youthful and energetic coalition,” said O’Donnell. “Seeing the level of enthusiasm and technical ability was a constant affirmation that the partnership with these particular schools was an excellent match.”

 

With only a few weeks to create a finished product, the students had to work fast to take their designs from initial concepts to working prototypes — both of which were inherently different. Using the ServoNOW to control the rotation of an extended output shaft equipped with special tooling for cutting, the students from Infinity Math, Science and Technology High School created a flavoured-ice maker where users could control not only the flavour of the ice, but also the size of drinks made.

 

The students from Glenbrook South took a different approach. They created a fun and unique gumball machine. Their design uses single and multi-axis movement, driven by the ServoNOW, to kick a gumball towards a predetermined point into a waiting cup that was also driven by ServoNOW, adding a bit of entertainment while customers wait for their candy to be dispensed.

 

Both schools proposed their design in a creative, multimedia presentation, where they highlighted what factors led to their idea, the challenges each school faced, the data they collected to test and refine their design and finally listed suggestions on how to market the product.

 

Bison’s vice-president of business development, Matt Hanson, who also served as a technical adviser on the project, remarked: “Since we wanted to introduce the ServoNOW as an easy way to integrate motion control into an application, it seemed like the perfect design challenge opportunity for the students. They came up with great ideas and even had suggestions for improvements to the product. All in all, it was a great experience for everyone involved.”

The ServoNOW motor features a closed-loop brushless servomotor with built-in-drivers, controllers and feed-back devices. The all-in-one design makes ServoNOW easy-to-specify, install and program. Set-up time takes only minutes, rather than hours, and it can be programmed and monitored through a standard PC via a built-in USB port. It is suitable for lighter load conveying and packaging applications.

 

For more information, or visit www.bisongear.com.