Local seventh and eighth grade students from area North Central Indiana schools are invited to participate in the annual Fluid Power Challenge hosted by Daman Products Company, a manifold manufacturing facility based in Mishawaka, Indiana. The 2013 final competition event was held at Stepan Center on the campus of the University of Notre Dame on Friday, December 6 from 9 am to 2 pm.

"The Challenge offers area middle school students the opportunity to experience a hands-on education concerning fluid power and mechanical engineering concepts," says Larry Davis, president of Daman. "Students are required to demonstrate teamwork in the midst of material constraints, a required division of labor, clear planning practices and the ability to work toward a common goal."

The program also gives support and resources to teachers for a science and technology curriculum in a learning environment where math and science are fun. All students use the same tools and an identical kit of supplies to recreate their unique mechanisms, which they use in the competition to pick up weighted objects and place them on a platform.



Prior to the final Challenge competition event, in October, middle school students attend onsite Workshop Days at Daman. Students start the workshops with a breakfast and a hydraulic assessment which tests their current understanding about fluid power. Daman's president, Larry Davis, facilitates two sessions presenting how to build a pneumatic lifter and the basic fundamentals about fluid power. 

Afterward, the Fluid Power Challenge assignment is given: design and build a machine that will rotate, lift and grip per the Challenge guidelines, along with the judging criteria, thus launching the teams to create their solutions for Challenge Day in December. Student teams are graded in a number of areas, including portfolio ideas, design, hydraulic and mechanical knowledge gained and teamwork.



The winners for each category were:

  • Overall Champion - LaSalle Academy Team 2
  • Challenge Category - South Bend Career Academy Team 3
  • Portfolio Category - Greene Intermediate Center Team 2
  • Design Category - LaSalle Academy Team 1
  • Teamwork Category - Clay Intermediate Center Team 1



This engineering learning experience is practiced by various sponsored groups around the country. The Michiana group, hosted by Daman Products, was generously sponsored by, Tuesley, Hall, Konopa LLP; Imagineering; the University of Notre Dame; Womack Machine Supply; Sapa Group; Machinery Systems Inc.; Einstein Bagels; Marcos Pizza; and Optimization Consulting. Individual sponsors include, Jack Davis, Daman Products; Stan Wood, Daman Products; and Robert J.Urbanski.



Since 2008, the NFPA (National Fluid Power Association) Fluid Power Challenge has offered middle school students the opportunity to experience a hands-on education concerning fluid power and mechanical engineering concepts. Through The Challenge, NFPA hopes to encourage students to select more mathematics and science courses in their high school curricula and to keep their options open for technology-based, post-secondary studies.



2013 Fluid Power Challenge Winners Press Release 




>>Click here to learn about the 2017 Fluid Power Action Challenge

>>Click here to learn about the 2015 Fluid Power Challenge

>>Click here to learn about the 2014 Fluid Power Challenge