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BEST Teams Take Flight on a Robot Odyssey with the Help of Donated Plastic Machinery Components from igus

POSTED 12/18/2007


The 2007 BEST Robotics Competition comes to a close in Ala., Ark. and Texas

EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. – December 18, 2007 – The 15th annual BEST™ (Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology) Robotics Competition wrapped up this month, marking the third year for igus® Inc., the leading developer of Energy Chain Systems®, Chainflex® continuous-flex cables and iglide® plastic bearings, as a nation-wide product supplier for the event.  BEST teams took flight this season while embarking on a ‘‘Robot Odyssey’‘, this year’s official game theme and challenge.  The game, set in futuristic 2021, took place on a simulated Martian base.  BEST teams were challenged to design and build a robot to: (1) exit the base and drive across the Martian surface; (2) drive up onto automated supply vehicles (ASVs) to load supplies; and (3) drive off the ASV and store the supplies in a storage bin on the base.

 To aid the students in accomplishing these tasks, igus donated various plastic machinery components through its Y.E.S. (Young Engineers Support) Program, designed to foster the mechanical design aspirations of students.  For more information about Y.E.S., visit www.igus.com/yesprogram.  The igus kit of parts, which students used on their BEST robots, included Energy Chain® cable carrier, a DryLin® N linear guide system, DryLin S aluminum shafting and igubal® spherical bearings.  Product kits were distributed to more than 800 BEST teams throughout the country.

Igus announced it would continue to support BEST Inc., the non-profit organization that not only sponsors BEST Robotics, but also shares a common goal with igus—to inspire students to pursue careers in engineering, science and technology.  Each year, igus has seen returns from the donation that are two-fold: the company not only helps create a buzz about the merits of careers in engineering-focused fields, but also educates the potential engineers of tomorrow about the benefits of plastic machinery components.

‘‘Donating products to BEST has become a tradition at igus,’‘ said Carsten Blase, vice president of igus.  ‘‘As the years have passed, the question is no longer will we donate products to BEST this time around, but what products will we donate this time around?  The students are always thankful and excited to see the igus kit and we are pleased to lend support to such a positive program as BEST Robotics.’‘

One thankful team from Pelican Rapids High School in Minn. used a DryLin N linear guide system, igubal spherical bearings and DryLin S aluminum shafting on its robot.  The team of eleven created a forklift design capable of picking up six Martian fuel cells at one time.  The retractable forklift used the donated DryLin N linear guide system, which was a vital part of the contraption.  Igubal spherical bearings and DryLin S shafting also were used in the robot’s wheel and trigger-hinge systems.

The Pelican Rapids team took first place at the North Dakota State University Regional and delivered a notable eighth-place finish at the Fort Smith, Ark. Regional competition.  The team reported that without DryLin N, its retractable forklift mechanism would not have been possible and that igus’ plastic bearings were lightweight, easy to use and delivered low friction—all essential features the team looked for when choosing parts.

At the regionals, for the second year in a row, Wichita Homeschool took home top honors at Frontier Trails BEST in Ark., with second and third going to Tulsa Engineering Academy and Circle High School, respectively.  Briarwood Christian and W.P. Davidson High School placed at the top of the pack at South’s BEST in Ala., while the Liberal Arts and Sciences Academy of Austin, The Texoma Home Educators and A&M Consolidated High School, placed in the top three at Texas BEST.

To learn more about the BEST Robotics Competition or to see a full list of competition results, visit www.bestinc.org.  Students, teachers and mentors are invited to learn more about the Y.E.S. Program by contacting Courtney Toomey, Y.E.S. Program administrator, via e-mail at [email protected].

About igus
Igus Inc., founded in 1985 and based in East Providence, R.I., develops and manufactures industry-leading plastic cable carriers, continuous-flex cables, plastic bearings and linear guide systems.  With more than 28,000 products available from stock, the company meets the motion control and machinery component needs of customers worldwide.  Product lines include Energy Chain Systems to protect and house moving cables, Chainflex continuous-flex cables, iglide self-lubricating, oil-free, plastic bearings, DryLin linear guide systems and igubal spherical bearings.  For more information, contact igus at (800) 521-2747 or visit www.igus.com.

igus, Energy Chain System, Chainflex, iglide, DryLin and igubal are registered trademarks of igus Inc.  All other company names and products are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.