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Martin Engineering supports FIRST® Robotics Competition teams

World Cement,

For the second year in a row, Martin Engineering is co-sponsoring two teams of high school students taking part in the FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition. The bulk materials handling specialist joins Dust Control Technology, John Deere and Advanced Technology Services in supporting Team Kewanee from Kewanee High School and Team Icarus, which is made up of students from Notre Dame High School and Quest Charter Academy in Peoria, USA.

FIRST is an initiative founded by the inventor of the Segway, Dean Kamen, to encourage students to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). The student teams have to engineer and build a robot to perform specific tasks for each competition, using a common kit of parts supplied by FIRST. They have just six weeks to complete their designs. The programme comprises regional, district and qualifying events, which culminate in an annual championship.

The robot designed and built by Team Icarus for the 2014 competitions is engineered to toss an exercise ball through a goal.

In addition to its aim of helping to solve the shortage of engineers in the US, the contest also equips students with skills such as teamwork. The FIRST programme has grown considerably since it was established, now encompassing almost 0.5 million people worldwide, including over 350 000 students, and around 100 000 mentors advising 32 600 teams.

Global Engineering Manager for Martin Engineering, Paul Harrison, has served as a robotics team advisor and coach for three years. “I feel lucky to have been able to get a good education, and I love working as an engineer,” said Harrison. “This is a great opportunity to share that love of science and technology, and it’s one small way we can give back to our communities, helping young people see how exciting these fields can be.”

The FIRST competitions are specifically set up to encourage teamwork and interaction between people and groups with different strengths.

Team Kewanee has competed at both state and regional events, and seeks its first championship in 2015. Martin Engineering has been involved in the construction of a 1:1 scale ‘playing field’ for testing the team’s robot. This replicates the surface on which the competitions actually take place.

Team Icarus won the 2012 Boilermaker Regional, received the Engineering Inspiration Award at the 2013 Crossroads Regional and at the Milwaukee Regional, as well as picking up the Engineering Excellence Award at the 2014 Wisconsin Regional. As a recipient of the Engineering Inspiration Award, NASA paid for the team to enter the 2014 National Championships in St Louis.

Adapted from press release by

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