PBC Linear provides a competitive edge in the First Robotics Competition (FRC)
The FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) is an annually held national competition pitting high school teams against each other to see who can produce the best working robot design. This competition provides hands-on design, mechanical physics and engineering experience to high school students, along with valuable teamwork building and project management skills. PBC Linear has lent product support to the Pittsburgh Central Catholic High School team (the Vikings) for two consecutive years. To get started, each FRC team is given a collection of parts and allotted six weeks of pre-design time to build their robot. While the same collection of parts is given to every team, each team is encouraged to go out and find products that meet their specific needs.
Let The Games Begin
FRC varies their games each year. For the first year of collaboration between the Vikings and PBC Linear, FRC rolled out Breakaway, a game where teams are grouped into alliances (3 teams and 3 robots per alliance). The robots use varied student-made designs to accomplish feats that included tossing soccer balls at targets, or elevating and suspending climbing towers in order to score points.
For the next year, FRC unveiled Logomotion™, a game where an alliance of three teams competed by attempting to place a variety of plastic tubes onto 10-foot scoring pad, or deploy mini-robots designed to climb up the poles.
The Vikings accomplished their goals utilizing our Uni-Guide controlled design. For the robot’s “kicking” mechanism, our Uni-Guide linear slide offered a reliable operation. Once the Uni-Guide was installed into their design, the Vikings were able to compete in events throughout the country, pitting their robot against other high school teams.
During the second year, PBC Linear teamed up with the Vikings again to help with the new game designs. The Vikings decided to install Mini-Rail miniature linear guides in a telescopic lift application. This offered the team reliable linear travel under extreme impact conditions. As the team headed further into the competition, they found further uses for Mini-Rail. For example, linear guides were used as a way to deploy smaller robots to gain points.
Victorious in mind and battle
With the first competition, the team’s innovative design and hard-working Uni-Guide helped the Vikings’ robot excel in its mechanical performance. In addition, the Vikings were recognized for their design, winning an award for Innovation and Control, and then continuing on to win first place at the Long Island Regional.
At the second year’s competition, their re-design cost the team some wins, but they learned valuable lessons regarding the physics of vertical lift and robotics. In spite of some losses, the team was very satisfied with the performance of the Mini-Rail product. Allen Nuttle, the team mentor added, “The Mini-Rail performed very well in both the lifting and mini-robot deployment tasks.”
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