The Fluid Raider Racers, an MSOE mechanical engineering senior design team, designed and built a two-wheeled vehicle for the 2020 NFPA Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge, where they won the Best Presentation Award and a $2,000 cash prize. In addition, MSOE won $1,000 to invest in next year’s competition team.  

Congratulations to Frerich Asmus, Kristof Barantke, Johanna Borschel, Trevor Howard, Luke Ponga, Justin Zielinski and their team advisor, Dr. Luis Rodriguez, assistant professor, Mechanical Engineering Department. They virtually competed against 15 other universities April 15-17. The competition was originally scheduled to take place in Colorado, but was moved online due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The students presented their design to a committee of fluid power industry professionals.

The National Fluid Power Association’s annual Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge consists of designing and constructing a vehicle that utilizes hydraulic components to transfer, store and release the human power input by the rider. Contestants are judged on design, safety, creative use of pneumatics, craftsmanship and team presentation. The competition consists of a 400-600-ft. sprint-race, a 1-mile endurance race,  demonstrating regenerative breaking and an efficiency challenge showcasing how far the vehicle can go with one accumulator discharge. This year’s competition was sponsored by the National Fluid Power Association and Bimba Manufacturing Company.  

MSOE’s Fluid Raider Racers used electronically controlled valves in their design so that only a switch needs to be flipped to change between the various hydraulic circuits (direct drive, regenerative breaking, accumulator charge and discharge). A unique feature of their design was a pneumatic seat suspension.