• Kloeckner Metals & AFI Proud to be a part of the FIRST Robotics Competition in Nashville (Video)


    One way Kloeckner is proud to give back is through its sponsorship of and participation in the First Robotics Competition (FRC) put together by FIRST, a non-profit dedicated to inspiring young people to be science and technology leaders and innovators.

    FIRST is known for their mentor-based programs, like FRC, that build science, engineering, and technology skills and foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership. According to founder Dean Kamen, the vision of FIRST is to “transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology leaders.”

    FIRST was founded in 1989 and is now universally recognized as the leading, not-for-profit STEM engagement program for kids worldwide. American Fabricators Inc. (AFI), a Kloeckner Metals fabrication shop located in Nashville, Tennessee, was honored to take part in FRC in 2019 and plans to do so again this year for the 2020 competition.

    As a facility that specializes in lasers, punches, and brakes, in addition to spot, MIG, and TIG welding alongside other types of assembly work, AFI was a good fit to take on an FRC team. Last year, AFI was able to sponsor and supply labor to weld and fabricate a chassis to Team 7525 out of Republic High School, led by teacher Ben Nadolsky.

    Each year, FRC challenges high school students to build a robot that engages in a unique behavior, usually packaged in an accessible science fiction narrative. Under strict rules, limited time and resources, teams of students must raise funds, design a team “brand,” hone teamwork skills and build and program industrial-size robots to play a difficult field game against like-minded competitors. It’s as close to real-world engineering as a student can get. Volunteer professional mentors lend their time and talents to guide each team. Each season ends with an exciting FIRST Championship where top teams compete in a national competition.

    While the theme of the 2020 competition was FIRST? RISE?, powered by Star Wars: Force for Change, the 2020 theme is Infinite Recharge. The narrative is that “two alliances work to protect ?FIRST?City from approaching asteroids caused by a distant space skirmish.?Each Alliance, along with their trusty droids, race to collect and score Power Cells in order to energize their Shield Generator for maximum protection… Near the end of the match, droids race to their Rendezvous Point to get their Shield Generator operational in order to protect the city!”

    Here is a recording of the Blue Alliance team in action at the Smoky Mountain regional competition.

    Thanks to the hard work of the Blue Alliance team, we’re proud to share that after competing in the Rocket City Regional in Huntsville and the Smoky Mountain Regional in Knoxville, they received the Rookie All-Star Award and the Rookie Highest Seed Award at Smoky Mountain, gaining an invitation to compete at the Championship in Houston with hundreds of other teams from across the globe.

    The positive impact of FRC is gratifying and well documented. According to FIRST, over 88% have more interest in doing well in school and 92% are more interested in attending college. Kloeckner Metals and AFI are ecstatic to be a part of FIRST, FRC, and the cultivation of STEM innovation and leadership skills at the high school level and beyond.

    Melika Nouri
    Melika Nouri is the Marketing & Communications Manager at Kloeckner Metals. Melika holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Marketing from Kennesaw State University. She previously worked in the technology industry at Hewlett Packard Enterprise as part of their global MarCom team but is very eager to take on steel!
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