Twenty members of the Iowa State University tractor pull team will take part in an international competition this week in Peoria, Illinois, using a quarter-size tractor they built from scratch.
ISU student Matthew Streit, of Gowrie, is president of the Cyclone Power Pullers. Streit says their tractor is small but mighty — and rather complicated.
“It involves a 31-horsepower Briggs and Stratton V-twin engine that we connect directly to a generator and that generator produces DC power and we send that power to electric motor controllers at the back which convert the DC power to AC power to power our wheel motors,” Streit says. “We have two wheel motors at the rear end of our tractor that powers our tires.”
The tractor is called the ExCYter. He describes the concept and the design of the tractor. “Using the electrical allows us to have a lot more efficiency over the mechanical,” he says. “It also provides a lot more starting torque at the beginning of our pull.” Streit says there are other components involved in the contest.
“In addition to the tractor pull, there’s also a maneuverability, there’s design judging on the design of your tractor,” Streit says. “There’s a sales component where you go in front of professional engineers, from Cat and John Deere, you pitch your sale to them, who you’re selling it to, all the features your tractor has and they grade you on it.”
The Cyclone Power Pullers placed sixth out of 27 teams last year in the competition organized by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. The Power Pullers have already received an award for the most innovative tractor due to their design using an electronic transmission. They also took first in sound, which means the tractor was the quietest at full throttle.
The contest runs June 1st through the 4th.
(Reporting by Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)