September 14, 2000 | By: Haven Miller

 A student team from the University of Kentucky's department of biosystems and agricultural engineering recently brought home the top prize for manufacturability in the Quarter-Scale Tractor National Student Design Competition sponsored by the American Society of Agricultural Engineers.

The competition, held in East Moline, Illinois, involved 27 teams from around the country. In addition to the manufacturability award, UK team members also won the sportsmanship and appearance awards, and placed sixth in the overall competition.

"The competition allowed us to not just design something on paper, but to physically build and test it and see how well it performed," said Jeremy Hudson, UK graduate student from Muhlenberg County. "It gave us a sense of pride in our work, and a sense of what we may be doing in our career later on."

The Quarter-Scale Tractor Competition challenges agricultural engineering students to demonstrate their design skills by developing a low- cost, high-performance tractor measuring no more than 60 inches wide and 96 inches long. Each team is provided a 16-horsepower engine and set of tires.

Entries were judged on four elements: a written design report, an oral team presentation, individual design, and a performance competition. For the performance part, the tractors pulled a weight-transfer sled where the load increases with distance pulled.

"This experience ties all our engineering course work together and gives our students a better appreciation of what happens in industry," said Scott Shearer, UK faculty member in biosystems and agricultural engineering. "This is the closest to a real-world experience that most of these students will have before they finish their degrees."

Shearer said he was particularly proud that the UK team ended up with a perfect score for manufacturability, a score no other team equaled.

"That award was especially important to me because the judges were professional engineers from industry who deal with manufacturing situations every day, and that says something about the ability of our students to create practical, workable design solutions," Shearer said.

Team members include Jeremy Hudson, Timothy Greis, Wanda Jones, Jonathon Mirgeaux, Eric Wooldridge and team leader Adam Garrison. Faculty advisors for the UK team include Tim Smith, Larry Wells, Tim Stombaugh, and Scott Shearer.


Scott Shearer 859-257-3000