Metal-on-metal mayhem

April 3, 2014

An allied competition for robotic reliability and supremacy

Everybody loves a good robot battle. Here. This is for you. These aren’t actually robots, per se, but it’s the thought that counts.

Ah, that sweet destructive sound of metal on metal. It’s even better when one of the robots is yours. Or it belongs to a team your company sponsors. The National Robotics League ( will hold the 2014 NRL Championships May 16-17 at the Baldwin Wallace University campus in Cleveland. The big event will be a culmination of 14 regional programs in nine states —Arizona, California, Florida, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Utah, and Wisconsin.

The league is comprised of student teams from across the United States. They build robots designed to fight to the death. Mayhem and destruction ensue. How cool is that?!?!?!

It’s all part of the National Tooling and Machining Association’s program, which it hopes will motivate students to pursue careers in manufacturing. Students team up with local NTMA ( member companies for the competition of remote-controlled robots. The NRL, now in its fifth year, formalizes the allied relationships between teams and their manufacturing partners for robotic reliability.

“Manufacturers are working to change the perception of our sector,” says Steve Tamasi, who is commissioner of the league, as well as CEO of Boston Centerless in Woburn, Massachusetts. “NRL, with its challenge of building combat-ready robots and the flying sparks of competition, helps students uncover the world of modern manufacturing, a sector that offers great careers with well-paying jobs that require high tech skills. In the past several years, students who competed in the NRL now work for manufacturers in scientific and technical roles.”

Each regional program is at the heart of the NRL. “It is at the regional level that the NRL has its maximum impact, connecting students directly with manufacturing partners who not only help the students build their robots, but also guide them in gaining practical knowledge of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and introduce them to the many career possibilities available in the manufacturing sector," says Maureen Carruthers, NRL program director.

Regional competition are being held in Phoenix; Sante Fe Springs, California; Tampa, Florida; Boston; Minneapolis; Akron, Ohio; Mentor, Ohio; Dayton, Ohio; and Bloomberg, Pennsylvania; Meadville, Pennsylvania; Pittsburgh; Ogden, Utah; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
For more information about the NRL or to find out how to participate, volunteer, or sponsor, contact Carruthers at [email protected].

Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!

Read Mike Bacidore's monthly From the Editor column at

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