Visit the Antique Farm Machinery barn near the Village of Yesteryear, and you’ll see a tractor that stands out from many of the historic pieces. North Carolina State University’s Pack Pullers tractor is on display, and it’s a shining example of modern engineering.
Pack Pullers has developed the tractor to compete in an engineering contest that helps prepare students for workplace challenges by providing real-world engineering practice. Students learn technical and professional skills and gain hands-on design experience through the development of sophisticated pulling technology.
Each team is provided a 31-horsepower Briggs & Stratton engine and a set of Titan tires. There are design constraints and additional rules each tractor must meet. Beyond that, the concept is up to them. Teams are judged on drawbar performance, maneuverability, durability, design and presentation.
Pack Pullers has competed in the design competition, held in Peoria, Ill., almost every year since its inception in 1998. They took fifth place overall in 2015, their most successful win so far. Considering they compete against teams with significantly higher funding levels, this is quite the accomplishment.
As the competition has evolved with more challenging design limitations, the Pack Pullers’ tractors have also evolved through a multitude of changes in design. Students engage with professional engineers, giving them an opportunity to receive feedback and analyze which design features need to be improved or re-engineered.
Pack Pullers’ tractor will be on display throughout the State Fair. Team members and other engineering students will be on hand to discuss the machine and their involvement in the competition.