Purpose of the ASABE National 1/4 Scale Tractor Competition

The 1/4 Scale Tractor Design Competition is sponsored by the ASABE, the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. The competition is held each spring and is organized to provide students with professional experience, education, and fun. Team members gain practical experience in the design of drivetrain systems, tractor performance, manufacturing processes, traction force analysis, weight transfer, strength of materials, safety, and testing. Throughout the year, team members also develop competencies in leadership, communication, teamwork, initiative, and safety awareness. Our competition objective is to design a machine to be used in an emerging specialty market. This market is aimed towards people that would purchase a performance machine to be used as a garden pulling tractor. The machine is intended to be used as a durable hobby machine. The goal of the competition is to develop a machine, which is compact in size, relatively inexpensive, and can harness the power of a specific engine to achieve the maximum pulling performance for short periods of time. Each team must act as a company, manufacturing an estimated 3,000 units per year. As a company, the teams must make engineering decisions, and produce reports documenting the decisions to be presented to upper-level management. The competition allows students to become more prepared as they enter industry after completing college. The competition simulates the aspects of working within a company. For example, students are required to meet deadlines set forth by the ASABE 1/4 Scale Design Committee, similar to deadlines set forth by upper management to become a successful and leading company. The team also experiences the engineering design process, similar to that used in the engineering workplace. Participating in the 1/4 Scale Tractor Design Competition, students are challenged to harness the power and torque of a specified stock engine to maximize the performance in a tractor pull. Although the pull performance competition is considered the highlight of the event, it only consists of 41% of the total score. The percentages of the other categories are listed with their description. The competition consists of four categories: Pull Performance, Written Design Report, Team Presentation, and Design Judging. These are explained below. Teams must also pass a technical inspection to compete in the Pull Performance.

Pull Performance 41%

Each team is given a 31 horsepower engine (only for first year competitors), and a set of tires donated by Briggs & Stratton and Titan. Using these two items, the team is responsible for designing and building the entire tractor. The rules limit engine modifications, require safety devices, and general size constraints. Other than rule limitations, every team can design the tractor in any fashion. The pull performance section consists of each tractor pulling a progressive sled in two weight classes: 1000 and 1500 lbs. Each tractor must also complete a graded maneuverability course.

Written Design Report 23%

The design report describes the team's design from the conceptual stage, through fabrication, testing and development. The written report consists of a design report, cost estimate report, and a design log. A cost analysis of each year's tractor design is needed to estimate the "manufacturing" costs based on a sales volume of 3,000 units per year. The median cost of a tractor is set to be $8,750. Thus the production cost goal for the schools is $3,500 per unit, providing the company a 60% profit margin. This allows the students to design a profitable machine, while still maintaining a potential in the market.

Team Presentation 23%

A 15-minute team presentation is given at the competition and is used to describe the development and advantages of their team's tractor. Representatives of the corporate sponsors are the judges and will be reviewing the team's design from an industry standpoint.

Design Judging 13%

The design judging is based upon the safety, manufacturability, and ergonomics of each tractor. Professional engineers, technicians, and operators from industry judge this portion of the competition.

2017 A-Team Rules

2017 X-Team Rules

2017 Competition Handbook
1209 Sukup Hall  |  Ames, Iowa 50011
Copyright© 2017, Iowa State University of Science and Technology. All rights reserved.