For engineers who want to learn more about Industrial Ethernet control, a free 3-day seminar from Wago Corp., Germantown, Wis., may be just the ticket. First you must get to Germantown, but once there, all course materials and meals are covered, and Wago even throws in a free gift.

Attendees will receive: an overview of industrial Ethernet components and protocols; hands on IEC 61131-3 programming with live demo hardware; an introduction to Wago-I/O-System hardware; and the chance to develop applications and HMI screens, plus review and create web services such as alarm e-mails and web pages using the 750-841 Ethernet-based programmable controller. Seminars will be held Sept. 24-26 and Nov. 5-7. For more information, call 1-800-346-7245 or visit www.wago.us.

Twenty-eight teams from colleges and universities across North America recently competed for cash prizes and global recognition during the 10th Annual International 1/4 Scale Tractor Student Design Competition. The event took place May 31-June 3 at the Expo Gardens in Peoria, Ill. and was sponsored by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE).

Each team designed, built, and demonstrated a tractor for home, small farm, or commercial use. Designs were judged by a panel of industry experts on the basis of innovation, maneuverability, sound level, serviceability, ergonomics, safety, and manufacturability. The final test came during the toughest part of the competition — four tractor pulls, free and open for public viewing. Kansas State University took home top honors, as it did in 2006.

According to team captain Bradley Stewart, “Our main objectives this year were to simplify the design and make it more reliable than last year. One thing we did was to eliminate all hydraulic components from the steering system. We went with an electric linear actuator instead, which really cleaned up the look of the tractor — no hydraulic lines, pump, and reservoir, just a simple two-wire system leading to the relays and then to the actuator.”

Rounding out the top five spots for 2007 were, in order, Purdue University, Quebec's Université Laval, University of Kentucky, and University of Illinois. Corporate sponsors for the event included AGCO, Bridgestone/Firestone, Briggs & Stratton, Case, Caterpillar, Deere & Company, Kubota, New Holland, and SolidWorks. The design competition was one of several events taking place this year to mark the 100th anniversary of ASABE, an international educational and scientific organization dedicated to sustainable development, production, and use of agricultural and biologically based products. For more information, visit www.asabe.org.