Final Chainless Challenge Underscores Growth Potential

Eric Lanke NFPA CEO


by Eric Lanke

Chainless ChallengeMany thanks to the NFPA members who recently joined me to witness and participate in Parker Hannifin’s final Chainless Challenge program. In case you’re not familiar with it, the program challenges college engineering students to redesign a traditional bicycle using hydraulics as the mode of power transmission. Paul Heney of Fluid Power World was one of the NFPA members on-hand, and he wrote-up a nice summary of the event on their Mobile Hydraulic Tips blog.

And as the title of that blog post suggests, NFPA is planning to take over management of this program starting next year. We’re planning to re-brand it as the NFPA Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge and to use our broad industry and university network to significantly grow it in the years ahead. Talking to the students and university advisors at the Chainless Challenge convinced me that it is a unique and powerful way to bring fluid power into the university setting. It easily embeds into the capstone design course most mechanical engineering students take in their senior year, and given that teams are typically required to include an accumulator for storing energy, some sort of electronic control system for the vehicle, and regeneration technology, it gives them deep exposure to our technology.

Our goal will be to get many more NFPA member companies engaged in meeting the students in this exciting program. Please watch for additional announcements soon.

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