Benton Central Students Win Trip to Florida

Benton Central wins national automation contest for the second year in a row

Middletown, Pa. – A team of student engineers from Benton Central Jr./Sr. High School in Oxford, Ind., has won a trip to Orlando, Fla., for designing and building an automated Paint Brush Cleaner. This is the second consecutive win and third overall for a Benton Central team in Phoenix Contact’s Nanoline Contest, a national competition that challenges students to design and build a working automation system. Phoenix Contact announced the winner on Saturday, Feb. 16, to kick off its National Engineers Week celebration.

The Paint Brush Cleaner is an automated machine that cleans large quantities of artistic paint brushes in commercial applications. It can clean 20 to 30 brushes at a time in two and a half minutes, while only using four gallons of water. Compared with traditional washing methods, this reduces cleaning time and water consumption dramatically.

Team members are Mitchell Cox, Alex Stout, Connor Flook, and Thomas (Alex) Thurston. Team mentor is John Weitlauf. The group will travel to Orlando, Fla., in June. The trip will incorporate fun and educational activities at area attractions, such as Walt Disney World and Cape Canaveral.

A team from Walker Career Center finished in second place for its Arcade project. Third place went to Lower Dauphin High School in Hummelstown, Pa., for its FLEX – Flexible Learning Experience.

Teams were also honored for excellence in the following categories:

  • Excellence in Craftsmanship: Walker Career Center (Team 1 – Arcade)
  • Excellence in Engineering: Lower Dauphin High School
  • Excellence in Teamwork: Elizabethtown High School
  • Excellence in Communication: Carroll High School
  • Entrepreneurial Excellence: Benton Central

Twenty-nine teams registered for this year’s competition at the regional level, and eight teams from Pennsylvania, Indiana, and South Carolina qualified to compete in Saturday’s national contest.

The contest is part of Phoenix Contact’s initiative to promote STEM and to celebrate National Engineers Week. National Engineers Week (Feb. 17 – 23) recognizes engineers for their contributions to society and also serves as a catalyst for outreach. Phoenix Contact is recognizing its engineers at awards dinners in Pennsylvania and Michigan. In addition, several engineer employees are sharing their love of engineering by teaching sixth-grade science classes at nearby Middletown Area Middle School, Feb. 19 – 22.

For an overview of the Nanoline Contest and a look at previous winning projects, visit

About Phoenix Contact

Phoenix Contact develops and manufactures industrial electrical and electronic technology products that power, protect, connect, and automate systems and equipment for a wide range of industries. Phoenix Contact GmbH & Co. KG, Blomberg, Germany, operates 50 international subsidiaries, including Phoenix Contact USA in Middletown, Pa. Learn more at


Molly McGowan

Public Relations Specialist

P.O. Box 4100

Harrisburg, PA 17111-0100

(717) 944-1300, ext. 3721

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