classic | mobile


SA Instrumentation & Control Buyers' Guide

Technews Industry Guide - IIoT 2018

Technews Industry Guide - Maintenance, Reliability & Asset Optimisation


Report on FIRST Tech Challenge
December 2018, News

FIRST Tech Challenge World Festival April 2018

South Africa was represented at the World Festival in Houston by volunteers Paul Stapelberg and Tshwane University of Technology’s Johannes de Vries. Stapelberg volunteered as head judge robot design, while de Vries volunteered as score tracker for the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC), as well as judge for FIRST Lego League Junior (FLL Jr.), to test the new judging system.

Team Fifth Order competing at the World Festival.
Team Fifth Order competing at the World Festival.

Team Fifth Order represented South Africa as participants. They performed well, but did not pick up any awards. The team did however network extensively with other teams and managed to secure an FTC Startup Guide for new teams. This is an online resource that is distributed to new teams, now used as the basis for team training hosted at TUT. The festival also provided an opportunity to network with FTC parts suppliers, which resulted in new robot controllers being offered at a reduced rate to support South Africa Teams in the migration to more robust and integrated motor controllers.

FIRST Community Conference June 2018

The FIRST Tech Challenge, FIRST Lego League and FIRST Lego League Junior conferences were hosted as a combined Partners Conference in Orlando, Florida. Attendance by affiliate partners was compulsory as the conference served as the platform for the new season rollout, robot game rule changes, robot game launch and new product introduction.

Conference presentation: de Vries, one of only a few partners to manage FTC from within a university, was a presenter at one of the conference sessions. Plenty of questions were asked and discussed at the well-attended session, where it became clear that university policies are often a burden for FIRST Partners.

Conference sessions: Some interesting sessions were attended including: How to approach schools wanting to start FIRST programmes; Training FTC judges; Robotics in the Australian Outback; and Fundraising and approaching potential sponsors for FIRST programmes.

FIRST Tech Challenge season launch

The Rover Ruckus season launch, hosted at Ryonic Robotics’ premises, generated much interest and excitement. Ryonic Robotics sponsored two new robot controllers in a lucky draw for teams that attended. These controllers can be used in conjunction with the previous ones, but are more robust and user friendly.

FIRST Tech Challenge equipment

Ten FTC Starter sets have been imported for new teams that would like to participate in the future. Two new teams have already joined with potentially three more new entrants for this season. The organisers are actively contacting schools to encourage more FTC teams. A half day training session was also hosted at TUT, which focused on coaching an FTC Team, especially with regards to team management, business plans and fundraising. Training was based on a guide for new FTC teams that is available online

FIRST Lego League South African National Championship 2018

SAP as the main program donor, in association with Sci-Bono Discovery Centre and Tshwane University of Technology, invite all interested parties to attend the FIRST Lego League Gauteng South Regional competition.

Date: 30 Nov – 1 Dec

Venue: Sci-Bono Discovery Centre, Miriam Makeba Street, Newtown, Johannesburg

Programme: Friday 30 Nov

• 10:00 Team registration and pit area setup.

• All judging, practice rounds and Robot Game Round 1.

• 18:30 Closure for the day.

Programme: Saturday 1 Dec

• 08:00 Venue open.

• Judging call backs and Robot Game Rounds 2 and 3.

• Alliance Game.

• 15:00 Tournament closure.

For more information contact Johannes de Vries, Tshwane University of Technology, +27 83 679 2015,,

Share via email     Share via LinkedIn   Print this page

Further reading:

  • From the editor’s desk: Fresh start bridges the gap to optimism
    December 2018, Technews Publishing (SA Instrumentation & Control), News
    At last South Africans have something to celebrate as we head into the end-of-year holiday season. Our troubles are far from over of course, but the recent changes in government leadership have given ...
  • EtherCAT roadshow in South Africa
    December 2018, Technews Publishing (SA Instrumentation & Control), News
    Together with the EtherCAT Technology Group (ETG), Technews Publishing recently organised a series of breakfast seminars at venues across the country, in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Durban and Johannesburg. ...
  • Emerson to buy General Electric’s Intelligent Platforms business
    December 2018, Emerson Automation Solutions, News
    Emerson has announced that it has agreed to acquire Intelligent Platforms, a division of General Electric. Intelligent Platforms’ programmable logic controller (PLC) technology will enable Emerson to ...
  • Cobot rings the bell at New York Stock Exchange
    December 2018, News
    On October 17, the ringing of the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange was highly unusual as the prestigious task was performed not by a human, but by a robot arm. The bell ringer, Universal Robots’ ...
  • Endress+Hauser plans new regional centre near Houston
    December 2018, Endress+Hauser, News
    Endress+Hauser has announced its plan to build a new Gulf Coast Regional Centre Campus outside Houston, Texas, located in close proximity to the company’s oil and gas customer base. Construction is currently ...
  • SMC has changed its name
    December 2018, SMC South Africa, News
    SMC Pneumatics South Africa now has a new name – SMC Corporation ZA. This name change reflects the growing range of non-pneumatic components being developed by SMC globally, thanks to the company’s continued ...
  • The Engineering Institute of Technology celebrates 2018 African graduates
    December 2018, News
    Some 60 graduates from 10 African nations attended the Engineering Institute of Technology’s (EIT) 2018 African Graduation Gala, held recently in South Africa. The online learning platform reaches EIT ...
  • MyFuture 4.0: next level digital skills and careers expo
    December 2018, News
    “South African organisations focused on building a future customer base and next generation workforce need to engage with the next generation now in order to understand Generation Z’s biggest concerns ...
  • The Rexroth HUBB: a new era for Bosch Rexroth in Africa
    December 2018, News
    Tillmann Olsen, chief executive officer of Bosch Rexroth South Africa, reflects on what the inauguration of the new Rexroth HUBB means for the fluid power and automation industry in sub-Saharan Africa. A ...
  • Hydraulic and Automation Warehouse now stocks 700 bar hose
    December 2018, Hydraulic & Automation Warehouse, News
    Hydraulic and Automation Warehouse (HAW), a member of the Hytec Group of Companies, now supplies 700 bar hose for use on hydraulic tooling. These hoses are lightweight and have high abrasion resistant ...
  • Innovative vertical gravity samplers delivered by eDART
    December 2018, eDART Group, News
    To meet the requirement of an international customer, eDART Slurry Valves designed, tested and manufactured a vertical gravity sampler assembly (VGSA) for application within the minerals processing sector. Duane ...
  • Schneider Electric at Ramaphosa’s WEF Roundtable
    December 2018, Schneider Electric South Africa, News
    Schneider Electric participated at the World Economic Forum (WEF) Regional Roundtable with President Cyril Ramaphosa and members of the South African government held in Johannesburg. Highlighting the ...

Technews Publishing (Pty) Ltd
1st Floor, Stabilitas House
265 Kent Ave, Randburg, 2194
South Africa
Publications by Technews
Dataweek Electronics & Communications Technology
Electronic Buyers Guide (EBG)

Hi-Tech Security Solutions
Hi-Tech Security Business Directory

Motion Control in Southern Africa
Motion Control Buyers’ Guide (MCBG)

South African Instrumentation & Control
South African Instrumentation & Control Buyers’ Guide (IBG)
Terms & conditions of use, including privacy policy
PAIA Manual


    classic | mobile

Copyright © Technews Publishing (Pty) Ltd. All rights reserved.