SMC Business Councils (SMC), which recently merged with the Manufacturer & Business Association, hosted the Fluid Power Challenge (FPC) on Friday, March 22, at the Carpenters Training Center in Pittsburgh. It is the fifth year that SMC has hosted the event.
The Fluid Power Challenge was created by the National Fluid Power Association (NFPA) as a way to introduce fluid power engineering into high schools and middle schools. Student participants compete for trophies in six categories, overall first, second and third place in the competition, along with a design winner, portfolio winner and team work winner.
As one of only 18 such competitions across the nation, this event provides seventh and eighth grade students the opportunity to compete as teams using real-life scenarios that apply STEM-related learning, to solve real-world problems and build a machine that solves the challenge given them.
The competition requires students to use math, science, project management and communication to be successful. Williams – a major energy infrastructure company with a regional headquarters in Pittsburgh – provided employee volunteers who lent their engineering and safety expertise to participants, providing advice and guidance, and serving as judges for the competition.
In addition to Williams, the competition was supported by other local companies, including Catalyst Connection, Creekside Springs, Schroeder Industries and the Carpenters Training Center.
This year, 28 teams competed with four students per team.