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Screenshot_Robot Video.JPGESCO Supports Local Robotics Team with Custom-Built Parts

by Kevin Stangeland | April 4, 2018

In recognition of National Science Week and the USA Science & Engineering Festival taking place in Washington, D.C. this week, I’d like to highlight a group of high school students right here in our own backyard who sought new opportunities in S​cience, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).

Last year students of Liberty High School in Hillsboro, with a shared interest in engineering, design, and computer programming, formed the school’s first robotics team, called AEMBOT (Advancement in Engineering and Mathematics BOT).

Working through the FIRST Robotics league, the students formed their team, sought mentors, and designed and programmed their robot to compete in the FIRST Robotics Competition. In their rookie year, AEMBOT received the 2017 All Star Rookie Team award at the regional and district levels. They also made it to the world championship in Houston, TX, where they placed in the top third.

Get Microsoft SilverlightAEMBOT Robot in action 1

ESCO invited the robotics team to visit our Portland world headquarters in December to give a presentation on the teams 2017 AEMBOT. As ESCO’s team of engineers learned more about the students’ project, they saw an opportunity to offer support to make some customer parts for this year’s robot.

To give you an idea of the requirements for competition season, the students are tasked with designing and building a robot using a standard “kit of parts,” then programming the robot to complete certain field challenges at the competition. If a team sees value in designing additional parts to make their robot more effective, they can create unique parts for their robots.  

​This year they needed a forklift-like accessory to make a robot that no other team could match.

Get Microsoft SilverlightAEMBOT Robot in action 2

ESCO provided two parts to Liberty’s 2018 AEMBOT. The first was a steel support piece used for the robot’s rack. The second was an original design-bar guide that was requested to be made from steel. After attempting to machine the component, it was quickly realized that something in the design would need to be revised.  ESCO’s access to a variety of materials quickly led engineers to suggest a different material for the part that was easier to drill and top, called RedBoard.  

Part ESCO made for robot_2.jpg

The RedBoard is a Polyurethane plastic that is wear-resistant, durable and light weight. Because the team was unfamiliar with Redboard, it provided a unique learning opportunity for the students and the team’s mentors to learn from ESCO’s experienced engineers. They departed ESCO not only excited to try out their custom-built part, but eager to share the new material with the other FIRST robotics teams in the area. 

We were pleased to hear that AEMBOT qualified for regionals this past weekend using the new parts. The robot was fully-functioning for most of the event (a unique challenge at a FIRST Robotics competition!) and the team will compete once more to see if they qualify for the world championships.

ESCO enjoys the opportunity to share our STEM resources with local students and wishes the Liberty High School team good luck with the remainder of the 2018 competition season!​

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