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NC3 was a proud partner of the SkillsUSA Nationals earlier this summer, which took place in Atlanta from June 19-23. In addition to NC3’s Program Manager for Festo, Lisa Marshall, being a judge for the event, NC3 and our industry partners Snap-On, Lincoln Electric, 3M, RIDGID, and Greenlee utilized a shared space in the exhibit hall to demonstrate the latest solutions in mechatronics and technical training.

The competition itself consisted of various tasks from a list of standards and competencies identified as vital to industry by the SkillsUSA Championships Technical Committee. The competition involved written, oral, and physical challenges, including troubleshooting and construction of mechatronic devices.

In timed events, teams of two competitors were challenged to accurately and neatly perform system troubleshooting and the repair of a faulty machine. In this competitive event, general disciplinary knowledge of the individual technologies and interactions in an integrated system were evaluated by a panel of industry professionals. The panel strove to accurately assess competitors’ knowledge of the various aspects of mechatronics technology, including mechanics, industrial electricity, fluid power, and programmable controllers.

As a primary sponsor of the annual SkillsUSA Mechatronics Competition, Festo Didactic supplied advanced training equipment, including the Modular Production System (MPS), the Portable Fluid Power system, the introduction to mechatronics MecLab, Basic Motor Technology, and Electricity Trainers. These learning systems closely mimic industry tasks by utilizing the latest technology incorporated into electrical, pneumatic, control systems, and process automation training modules. The equipment at SkillsUSA in Atlanta supported more than 60 high school and college students, and the MPS403 and SkillsConveyor learning system specifically garnered significant interest and curiosity, which kept Festo’s product manager, Alex Abdo, as well as Festo’s district managers busy onsite while hosting engaging demonstrations.

“Seeing the SkillsUSA students showcase their abilities with such passion and drive is inspiring,” said Alyssa Russo, who serves as the SkillsUSA Mechatronics Technical Committee Chair and is a Festo Didactic Technical Support Engineer. “The students exemplify the people that employers are seeking for future Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) roles requiring technical education, training, and skills. I believe the entire Festo Didactic team agrees that days like those at SkillsUSA make our work incredibly rewarding.”

Octavio Rojas, the Sales Director for Festo Didactic North America, added, “Returning to SkillsUSA and witnessing the bond among students, parents, and educators during these exciting events is exhilarating. Supporting the SkillsUSA Mechatronics competition is an honor that we eagerly anticipate each year.”

Overall, the event was filled with extraordinary talent, passionate participants, and a true spirit of camaraderie. From all of us at NC3, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to the judges who generously dedicated their time and expertise, which ensured a fair and rigorous competition that concluded with resounding success.

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