For the fifth year in a row, students from Mitchell Middle School in Racine, Wis., were the 2015 Overall Winners in the NFPA Fluid Power Challenge. The team was coached by Keith Kohlmann.

The competition is designed to get middle school students excited about fluid power and on Nov. 11, 30 teams competed at MSOE. There were four students on each team, and they worked hard to design and build fluid power mechanisms that pick an object from one platform, rotate and place it on another. In addition to the number of pick-and-place cycles a school’s machine completed, a review of each team’s design approach, teamwork and portfolio was used in the final evaluation.

Team 2 from North Shore Middle School (Hartland, Wis.) was the 2015 Portfolio Award winner and Team 1 won the 2015 Design Award. David Grevenkamp coached both teams.

Team 3 from Lake Country School (Hartland, Wis.) received the 2015 Teamwork Award. Fred Levenhagen was the coach.

Park View Middle School (Milwaukee) was the 2015 Challenge Winner and Jackie Nowak was their coach.

The NFPA Fluid Power Challenge introduced students to the world of engineering and fluid power during an on-campus workshop in October where they built a pneumatic lifter. During the Challenge, they returned to campus to apply their knowledge and compete against other teams and gain more hands-on experience while building a fluid power mechanism with real world applicability.

Through the Challenges, the National Fluid Power Association (NFPA) hopes to encourage students to select more mathematics and science courses in their high school curricula to keep their options open for technology-based post-secondary studies. The program is sponsored by Automation Solutions, Enerpac, FORCE America, Grimstad, GS Robal Resources, HUSCO International, Poclain Hydraulics, Price Engineering, Rexroth Bosch Group, Ritter Technology LLC, Sun Hydraulics and Webtec.

NFPA provides a forum for the fluid power industry’s channel partners—manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, customers and educators. Its 335+ U.S. and multinational members work cooperatively in advancing hydraulic and pneumatic technology through the association’s many programs and initiatives.