Donations help inspire a new generation of engineers


Jan 27, 2009

Grainger and igus have joined forces with FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) — a not-for-profit organization that inspires young people’s interest and participation in science and technology — as gold suppliers of its robotics competition.

The FIRST Robotics Competition gold supplier level denotes a contribution between $50,000 and $200,000. Grainger provided safety eyewear, gloves and hinges. igus donated various plastic machinery components, including micro Energy Chain cable carriers, DryLin N linear guide systems, iglide plastic plain bearings, igubal spherical bearings and DryLin S aluminum shafting.

The igus and Grainger components are included in the robotic competition’s kit of parts, which was distributed to more than 1,680 high school teams on Jan. 3, 2009.

“For 18 years, the FIRST organization has been working to create a culture where students not only emulate leaders in science, technology and engineering, but also realize the potential within themselves to someday be one of those pioneers,” says FIRST president, Paul R. Gudonis.

igus donated the parts in conjunction with its Y.E.S. (Young Engineers Support) Program, designed to foster the mechanical design ideas of students with a passion for engineering. Through Y.E.S., igus sponsors a number of engineering competitions, including FIRST, and also offers in-class presentations and free products to students of all ages.

Since 1992, FIRST has brought the excitement of a sporting event to science and technology via robotics competitions. On Jan. 3, FIRST unveiled the annual engineering challenge called “Lunacy” to the teams. During competition, the robots will have to use “orbit balls” designated as moon rocks, empty cells or super cells, to score in trailer hitches attached to the robots of opposing teams. Working with mentors, students now have just six weeks to design, build, program and test their robots in preparation for regional events that measure the effectiveness of each robot, the power of collaboration and the determination of students.

More than 42,000 students from 10 countries will design and build robots to compete in regional events with winners advancing to the FIRST Championship in Atlanta in April 2009. Participating students are eligible to apply for more than $9 million in scholarships offered by leading universities, colleges and companies.