By Gladiator® Contributor Stacy A.: engineer and robotics team coach
I coach the GreengineerZ, a FIRST Robotics team consisting of nine high school students from Berrien Springs, MI. These passionate students love all things STEM-related, diving deep into science, technology, engineering and math. As a team, they work together to solve an annual robotics challenge issued in January.
To support the competition, the team needs to set up a 10′ x 10′ pit that contains all the equipment they need. Initially, we didn’t have a lot of money, so we stored all of our tools and supplies in homemade cabinets and crates — not an efficient organization system at all. Ideally, we wanted a system that would simplify our process and make it easy to transport our robotics gear to and from events.
From Cluttered to Competitive
In 2016, we bought a 52″ Base Tool Chest and 6-Drawer Tool Chest Topper, which helped us gather our tools in one easily accessible place. This year, we added three Mobile Storage Cabinets to carry all of our supplies. We use one for general supplies, one for current-year robotics parts and one for team-related items like backpacks, notebooks, computers, etc.
These changes have made a huge difference — it’s incredible! Before, we would fall over each other just to get into our one makeshift cabinet. We sacrificed access to some of our tools just because we didn’t have a spot for them. Also, our pit would get cluttered quickly because we only had the floor or a table for tools and equipment during the competition.
Our new system really supports efficiency, letting us focus on maintaining and preparing the robot and not on searching for tools. This also gives the team a truly professional experience, where everything is in its place and within reach.
An Organization Win
I have no doubt that our new Gladiator® system played a huge part in our our newly gained efficiency as a team. This year we’ve already seen great successes, including:
- Winning the Tesla subdivision and competing in the coveted “Einstein Finals” at the FIRST World Championship in St. Louis, MO
- Finishing in fifth place out of 400+ teams that competed at that event and 4,000+ teams in the overall program
- Winning the Engineering Inspiration Award at the St. Joseph District event in March
- Winning the Industrial Design Award and overall winner of the Lake Superior State event in April
- Placing as a finalist at the off-season Indiana Robotics Invitational event in July, competing on the #1 alliance along with world champions Stryke Force and Robonauts