Thomson Lead Screws Drive Team 4 Element Robot Climber in FIRST Robotics Competition's 2013 Game: Ultimate Ascent

Student-designed robot driven by superfast lead screws with the goal of climbing a 10 foot tall pyramid in less than five seconds

WOOD DALE, IL – Team 4 Element, a team of high school students from Van Nuys, California, have designed, manufactured and assembled a robot climber to compete in the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) 2013 Ultimate Ascent game. The robot utilizes Thomson MTS Flange Mount Supernuts® with stainless steel lead screws to drive the entire robot climber, with the goal of climbing a 10 foot tall pyramid in less than five seconds.

"Every year FRC announces a new game, and this year the objective is to score Frisbees in set goals and then climb a 10 foot tall pyramid at the end of the game," says Guy Chrqui, Team 4 Element Mentor. "Our students decided to focus on the climbing aspect of the game and are using linear elevators coupled with arms to climb the pyramid. To achieve this we were looking for a lead screw that was fast enough to support our goal of achieving a sub 5 second climb with a 150 lb. robot, and after a few conversations with Thomson application engineers the team decided Thomson superfast lead screws were the perfect fit to meet that goal."

Thomson MTS flange mount Supernuts provide excellent lubricity and the dimensional stability of proprietary acetal with the convenience of an integral flange. However, even the best lead nut won't perform as needed without a top quality lead screw. Thomson application engineers were able to help Team 4 Element complete the solution and meet their performance goals with complementary high performance lead screws.

"Thomson lead screws are constructed of 300 series stainless steel, offer a high luster surface finish with excellent corrosion resistance, and are available in a range of standard sizes with lead accuracies of up to .003 inch per foot," says Matt Asher, Product Engineer. "We use optimized thread forms on most screw sizes to achieve the best possible performance when used with our polymer nuts. For the majority of customers we also custom configure the ends of the screws to provide exact fit in their machine."

Team 4 Element students work tirelessly from January through May to design, build, wire, program and learn to operate their robot. The robots are both autonomous and human controlled, so once assembled students practice operating to develop their skill and ensure autonomous functions work perfectly. This year the climbing cycle is a completely autonomous canned cycled to leverage the speed of the Thomson lead screws which, according to Chriqui, should secure Team 4 Element as one of the fastest climbers in the 2013 competition. The robot is designed to climb with a breaststroke swimming motion and students can independently control each arm set. "With help from Thomson, students were able to implement an elegant solution to a very difficult problem, and as a result we expect to have great results at competition," explains Chriqui.

"The competition is an incredible opportunity for students to learn to work together toward achieving a common engineering goal. Our students have done an amazing job – they found the screws, did the math and designed and built the robot. I'm so thankful for the sponsorship of Thomson, as it enabled the students to go with the screws they wanted as opposed to the less optimal solution that fit within the team’s budget constraints," says Chriqui. "I really encourage people to check out to learn more. The kids do some amazing work, and some cool stuff with the website, too; I just help them figure out how to build their robots."

About Thomson

With more than 60 years of motion control innovation and quality, Thomson is the industry's premier producer of Linear Ball Bushing® Bearings and Profile Rail Bearings, 60 Case™ Shafting, ground and rolled Ball Screws, Linear Actuators, Gearheads, Clutches, Brakes, Linear Systems, and related accessories. Thomson invented the Linear Ball Bushing Bearing in 1945, and has set the standard ever since with an unsurpassed set of mechanical motion control solutions serving global commercial and aerospace defense markets. Thomson Industries, Inc. has facilities in North America, Europe and Asia with over 2000 distributor locations around the world.

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Company Contact: Rob Gallagher – 630.694.3321

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