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ROBOTIC RESOURCES

U.S. Team Captures First Place in International Automation Competition

Phoenix Contact USA

Joey Consoli, Mike Ragan Junior, Andrew Engle, Harrison Katz, Max Ruello, David Willams and Danielle Williams demonstrate the solar-charging electric bike. A team from Central Dauphin High School, Harrisburg, Pa., has won first prize in the “Education” category of Phoenix Contact’s international xplore New Automation Award 2012 in Bad Pyrmont, Germany. The team will return to Germany to demonstrate their electric bike and clean energy charging station at the Hanover Fair.

The team built and designed an electric bike and constructed a charging station for them using the school’s existing wind and solar hybrid facility. Phoenix Contact Nanoline controller acts as the brain of the operation, controlling such actions as charging the bike. It sends messages to the user’s cell phone when charging is complete, along with other important data about the battery’s state.

Purdue University placed third in the “Factory Automation” category for an automated assembly machine.

“This is a great accomplishment by the Central Dauphin team. It is especially impressive that they were the only high school-age team competing in the finals,” said Jack Nehlig, president of Phoenix Contact USA. “We’re proud of all of the teams from the U.S. who competed, and hope that the success of Central Dauphin and Purdue, along with our Nanoline Contest winner Infinity Charter School, will inspire more American students to participate in these engineering education programs next year.” 

The xplore competition challenges students to design and build an automation project in one of five categories (education, buildings, recreation, factory and environment). Other winning teams came from Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden. Each winning team will present their projects in Hall 35 of the Hanover Fair, the world’s largest industrial tradeshow.

Worldwide, 87 teams submitted projects. Twenty-eight teams representing Germany, China, the U.S., Poland, Spain, the Netherlands, Czech Republic, Belgium, India, Sweden, Slovakia, Ukraine and South Africa made the final round and presented their projects for judging on Friday, March 23.

Phoenix Contact provided each team with approximately $4,000 worth of automation equipment for use in the project.  Phoenix Contact has sponsored the xplore competition in Europe since 2008, but this was the first year that American teams participated. A team from Southern Polytechnic State University in Marietta, Ga., and two teams from Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania also participated in the initial round of the competition.

The Central Dauphin team will be one of two American groups of teens traveling to the Hanover Fair with Phoenix Contact. Last month, a team from Infinity Charter School in Penbrook, Pa., won the company’s Nanoline Contest, another initiative intended to promote science and engineering careers.

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