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Wednesday 19 July 2017

How do you move a block of wood just using some plastic syringes, tubing and MDF?

By building a hydraulically operated robot arm of course!

This was the task given to fourteen year olds from secondary schools in Leicestershire recently as part of the Fluid Power Challenge developed by the charity Primary Engineer and presented at PlantWorx ( ). What a great idea and a perfect example of demonstrating hydraulic principles in a safe environment right next to oil-hydraulic powered excavators!

Credit for the origins of the idea should go to the NFPA who have run a Fluid Power Challenge in the USA (  ) for many years and Webtec have been proud to sponsor the event held at MSOE. Now in the UK, Primary Engineer have adapted the programme, running industry led training days for Primary and Secondary school teachers who in turn run the programme in their schools. The training is all curriculum based ensuring all learning is linked to Maths, Physics and CDT. The pupils are given free reign to design their own robot arm and source their own MDF materials but must use plastic syringes to provide pneumatic, or if filled with water, hydraulic actuation.

As Primary Engineer rolls the programme out county by county around the UK, they are looking for industry sponsors to help fund the training days. The train the trainer approach has a lot going for it as their aim is to engage with teachers from 10-20 schools at a time. If every school has at least one class of 30 pupils who take part, then one training day can influence 600 pupils! To find out more about the Fluid Power Challenge see .

We think this programme is just what’s need to help raise awareness of Engineering and Fluid Power in UK schools. Webtec have pledged their support for Cambridgeshire, and the programme is backed by the BFPA and CEA. So, if you would be interested in joining a group of like-minded companies to sponsor Primary Engineer in your region, please contact Regional Director, Chris Rochester .


Posted by Webtec

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