MacDon Visit

Today we visited MacDon Industries, one of our biggest sponsors. Here are some pictures from todays event.

Competition 2016 – Maneuverability, Durability, and Competition Results

Once again, the day began bright and early; we were at the Peoria fairgrounds since our maneuverability time slot set for 8:15 am. Unfortunately, maneuverability did not go too well as one of the hoses in our hydraulic steering system popped off, and we were forced to stop–it turned out the fitting was not tight enough. We were given one hour to find and fix the problem and return for durability.

After we fixed the steering problem, we proceeded to the durability track. Unfortunately, we were unable to get passed the first turn; the bumps proved to be too much for our front axle as it was bouncing over the bumps and preventing steering functions.

Following our defeat, we cheered ourselves up by eating brunch at Perkins.

Later in the day, we packed up our trailer and cleaned up for the awards banquet. At the banquet, we had some past competition participants talk about their experiences, ate food, listened to an experienced engineer give stories and career advice, congratulated the award winners, and took group photos. Design judging and presentation feedback were given to us at the end of the ceremony. In addition, competition results were posted later in the night.

To summarize our results:

  • We placed 9th overall
  • We placed 6th in Written Design
  • We placed 5th in Team Presentation
  • We placed 11th in Design Judging
  • We placed 13th in Tractor Pulls
  • We tied for last in both Durability and Maneuverability
  • Amazingly, we also placed 8th in Safety and 3rd in Sound

The full competition results can be found on the 2016 Master Score Spreadsheet

When we got back to the hotel, there was a competition and tractor-year debriefing. We read through the judge’s comments and also talked about what we did, why we did it, and what we can do better. Tomorrow we will return home with great memories and great aspirations for next year’s tractor. It was another great year for this organization and the future is looking even brighter.

This being my final year, I will be stepping down from my electrical and administrative duties to allow new members to rise up to the challenge. It’s been an interesting 4 years (to say the least). I’ve met a lot of people, learned a lot about engineering design and project management, and had a lot of fun doing it. I will definitely keep a watchful eye on this team as an alumni member; I look forward to seeing what they come up with and wish them all the best in the future.

Alex, AA

Competition 2016 – Presentations & Tractor Pulls

The day began bright and early at the CAT plant with presentations starting at 8:40 am. Our presenters (Ray and Megan) delivered a solid presentation to the panel of judges within the allotted time. In addition, questions were answered clearly and promptly. Overall the judges liked our presentation and gave valuable verbal feedback for future years.

Later, we returned to the fairgrounds to try doing some practice pulls. However, we were not able to do any practice pulls as there were a series of problems associated with the transmission alignment and engagement. We were able to fix up what we could to make the tractor drive properly again but it was nearly time for the main pulling event. The main pulling event started at around 5:30 pm.

There were three pulls with the following weight classes: 1000 lb., 1000 lb., and 1500 lb. We were 11th in line for the first pull. We hooked up to the sled, throttled up, waited a few seconds for the engine to calm down, and then hammered the lever down to get a top speed of 7.4 mph. Penelope was going strong but suddenly the engine died out and our result was 92.61 ft. For our second pull, we were 17th in line. This time we knew what we had to do to go farther. We throttled up, hammered down the lever, and backed off when the engine was bogging down. With this technique, we were able to go 218.39 ft! We used a similar technique for the 1500 lb pull and got 164.9 ft.

In summary, our pull results were as follows:

11 – 1000 lb. – 92.61 ft – 7.4 mph – 18/22

17 – 1000 lb. – 218.39 ft. – 7.4 mph – 9/21

25 – 1500 lb. – 164.9 ft. – 7.6 mph – 15/20

During the final pull, the announcer mentioned how our tractor looked like a Minion and then played the banana song; the crowd had a good laugh about that.

Tomorrow is the final day of competition. We are second in line for the maneuverability/durability event. It will be an all or nothing event which is equivalent in points to a pull. Hopefully, we can do more than one lap this year with our new design. Finally, we will attend the awards banquet at Embassy Suites to end the day. We will let you know what happens in our next update either tomorrow or Monday.

Alex, AA

Competition 2016 – Design Judging

Today was productive for UMATT. We quickly patched up the problems from yesterday’s technical inspection and passed teching before lunch. After completing teching, we watched some X team pulls. Later, at 3:00 pm, we went through design judging. First we talked to the Ergonomics judges, second was Testing & Development, third was Safety–they really liked the Bruce-linkage, fourth was Serviceability, fifth was Manufacturability. Overall we did well in showing off Penelope 16’s fine features. After design judging, we took our team photo. Then we watched some practice durability runs. At 6:00 pm we took a large group photo and at 6:30 pm we packed up our camp and went to the pork fry. Tomorrow we have our presentations at 8:40 am, some practice pulls during the day and the main pulling events in the evening around 5:30 pm.

Alex, AA

Competition 2016 – Technical Inspections

It was a rough day for UMATT today. We left the hotel at around 7:45 am to set up our camp at the fairgrounds and put on the required competition decals. Sign-in and initial weigh-in was at 12:30 pm and our tech. slot was at 4:30 pm. At the initial weigh-in, the scale showed our tractor to be 794 lbs. After weighing our tractor, we heard an unusual noise from our drive-train; the CVT was scraping our guard and so we adjusted the position of the CVT to prevent further damage. We then noticed a leak in our brake system. After many attempts at closing up leaks, we managed to stop all leaks before teching and pass the brake test–a video of the brake test will be available on the website at a later time. During Technig, a number of small problems were found with the tractor; the temperature at the top of the exhaust, a non-standard bolt in our steering, a problem with the fender gussets being a little too close to the tires, an non-robust throttle cable, and fragile looking wheelie bars. Throughout the rest of the day, we were able to tackle these problems one by one. However, we did not complete the tasks before the teching barn closed (6:00 pm). But worry not! We still have another chance tomorrow. With that said, tomorrow we will finish up teching and present in the design judging event.

Alex, AA

Competition 2016 – The Trip to Peoria

We departed from rainy Winnipeg around 5:15 am. After a 16 hour long journey through Manitoba, North Dakota, Minnesota, and getting off track in Iowa, we arrived in Peoria, Illinois at around 9:00 pm–sound familiar? At around 9:10 pm, we checked into the Econo Lodge which we had made reservations. After that, we had a brief dinner before bed at some local restaurants. Finally, small squadron of members went to pick up Bruce from the airport. With the addition of one more member will be joining us tomorrow evening, our team will be assembled and ready for competition. The plan for tomorrow is to be at the fairgrounds by 8:00 am and prepare for sign-in and technical inspections which are required before we can compete in the performance events. Friday is sound teching, design judging, group photo, and pork fry; Saturday will have presentations in the morning and pulls in the evening;  Sunday is the maneuverability, durability, and banquet; and Monday is the return home. That’s all for now; check back again later for other possible updates (internet connection pending).

Alex, AA

Countdown to 2016 Competition (~36 hours)

It’s the last night in Winnipeg before the 2016 ASABE International 1/4 Scale Tractor Student Design Competition in Peoria, Illinois. In the last week we finished painting, put the tractor back together and added a few final touches. Currently we are packing the trailer with spare items and tools we may need should something go wrong. At 5:30 am we will leave Winnipeg and start our 16 hour journey to Peoria. Stay tuned for daily competition updates!

Alex, AA