Mr. Robert “Bob” Benkowski, father to student Victoria Benkowski, was a new Robo Vikes Mentor this year, but he was far from inexperienced. Mr. Benkowski received his ME in mechanical engineering from The Ohio State University and currently works in biomedical engineering. He is the Managing Director and Co-Founder of his company, DesignPlex Biomedical.
With his expertise, Mr. Benkowski helped the team in areas including fabrication, repair, and design strategy. He is knowledgeable in production, which was helpful in fabrication. Some examples of what he assisted the team in creating was a gear loading mechanism for moving gears at competition, crates for shipping the robot, and a design for a climbing wench to make the robot able to climb at competition. Mr. Benkowski also made the shop safer and more efficient. One day he went around the shop and fixed damaged machines and tools including the bandsaw and belt sander, making them safer to use and effective. He was also innovative with design materials. Expanded PVC pipe was used for prototyping and on the sides of the climber. When asking team leader David Yokell how this material was more useful than what has been used in the past, he said it is because “it’s lightweight but strong, and it’s also easy to use.” Another new material Mr. Benkowski suggested was a sort of sandwich of foam between two aluminum sheets, used as the electronics tray. Similar to Yokell’s statement, programmer Carson FitzGibbon said this material was a great addition to the design because it is lightweight.
Mr. Benkowski is a brilliant, hardworking, enthusiastic mentor who has helped the team in fabrication, safety, efficiency, and design. The team thanks him for all his work and hopes to continue learning from him!