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Ohio State University’s team, which used Thomson Electrak Throttle actuators for CAN bus controls, throttle control, and steering.

Thomson Lends a Hand for Tractor Design Competition

Thomson Industries sponsored the ASABE International Tractor Student Engineering Design Competition - allowing teams to expand designs like never before.

Thomson Industries, Inc. sponsored the 22nd year of the International ¼ Scale Tractor Student Design Competition (IQS) of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE), donating $15,000 worth of motion control products. The event took place May 30 – June 2, 2019, at the Expo Gardens Fairgrounds in Peoria, Illinois.

As a platinum sponsor, Thomson has supported the competition for the past five years by contributing motion control products to participating university teams, providing access to design engineers and having company representatives volunteer as judges at the event.

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Thomson electric linear actuators were incorporated into the students’ tractor designs in various ways.

“Having a sponsor like Thomson involved in the competition has allowed teams to expand into designs that were previously out of reach,” said Competition Co-Chair Kent Thoresen. “Thomson’s comprehensive offering of linear motion products and the technical support they provide make the relationship very beneficial to the students.”

The IQS competition is focused around student teams’ ability to conceptualize, design, fabricate and test their designs, competing in an array of evaluations, including written technical reports and design reports judged by a panel, oral presentations, maneuverability, durability, and a traditional tractor pull. Each year, engineering students submit a new design and compete in a variety of events. This year, teams were given a 31-hp Briggs & Stratton engine and a set of Titan tires.

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The competition is focused around student teams’ ability to conceptualize, design, fabricate and test their tractor designs, competing in an array of evaluations.

Jeremy Gong, Key Account and ROA Regional Sales Manager at Thomson Industries, attended the event. “At this year’s competition, 11 schools used Thomson products in their designs,” he said. “In particular, their favorite was our Electrak HD actuator, which was selected for its balance of compact form, high force rating and integrated CAN bus control. It was used for steering applications as well as transmission belt tensioning, ballast systems and clutch actuation.”

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The University of Nebraska takes a scoring pylon during the maneuverability competition.

Additionally, the Thomson Electrak Throttle actuator was widely selected and incorporated for its space-saving design, rugged housing and CAN bus controls. Overall, Thomson products were designed into more than 75% of the competing tractors.

Amongst the top five overall winners of the competition, Thomson contributed products to South Dakota State University (2nd Place) and Ohio State University (4th Place). Other winning teams incorporating Thomson components included North Dakota State University, Iowa State University, and the University of Manitoba.

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Ohio State University’s center-mounted steering design.

“The event is a valuable educational experience for those involved with design work for the next generation of those types of products,” said Gong. “It’s a good way to give back and support them.”

For more information on the competition, please visit

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