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STEM students move Volvo hauler with brain power

Volvo

 

A Volvo A60H articulated hauler has been towed using only LEGO Technic elements, in a quirky challenge set up by Volvo Construction Equipment (CE) and LEGO Group.  

The challenge was set in early 2021 for 35 young science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) students and solved in three months.

The students – who had never met in person – devised a system using 728,168 LEGO Technic pieces connected under an array of steel plates to create 1920 motors.  

The 43-tonne A60H was loaded with an extra 45 tonnes of rocks to ensure the challenge to move it 50 metres was particularly difficult. 

Volvo CE engineer Frida Jönsson said the challenge was multi-faceted and the students were more than up to it. 

“The students showed incredible resilience and tenacity. In total they spent more than 2000 hours of their own time to come up with a hard-fought solution that could create a pulling force of 10,000 Newtons in order to get the hauler moving,” Jönsson said.  

“Despite their plans very literally turning to ashes on the first attempt (when a fire broke out forcing them back to the drawing board) the teams showed that with collaboration, teamwork and a good dose of creativity, you can always find a way to succeed.  

“I would be lying if I said I wasn’t moved to tears by the pride and sheer joy you could see from the teams when they realized their hard work had paid off.” 

The students hailed from the United States, Sweden, Japan and Nigeria, overcoming language barriers and time zones to work together on the project.  

Volvo CE head of brand partnership Arvid Rinaldo said the students showed the world how problems could be solved effectively from their own remote locations.  

“Using only online discussions, these incredibly smart people were able to solve our challenge without even meeting in person,” Rinaldo said.  

“We had set out to educate and motivate young people, but knowing how to solve complicated tasks like this without ever seeing each other is something we all need to learn in business and something they demonstrated with ease.” 

 

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