SMC Corporation COVID-19 Update

SMC recently updated the pneumatic system on the Boilermaker Special VII, the official mascot of Purdue University. According to the Reamer Club that cares for train, the Boilermaker Special is the world’s largest, fastest, heaviest, and loudest collegiate mascot. A couple of these accolades can be attributed to the train’s extensive pneumatic system which controls the horns, bells, whistles, smokestack, and cowcatcher. As this system was originally installed in the sixth edition of the Boilermaker Special over twenty years ago, it was due for an update.

To prepare for the project, a team of four SMC engineers collaborated with the Reamer Club to examine the state of the pneumatics on the train and design a new system. The update consisted of replacing the air preparation system that removes moisture and debris from the pressurized air, the valves and manifold that direct the air, and the tubing, wiring, and fittings that connect the entire system. The system actuates the horns, bells, and whistles, as well as two air cylinders that were updated, too: the cylinder for the CO2 tanks that exhaust CO2 from the smokestack, and the cylinder that lifts the cowcatcher (historically meant for exactly that—to catch cows!). Lastly, SMC created a new control panel for inside the cab that allows the pilots to control every horn, bell, whistle, and actuator on the train.

In total, SMC donated:

  • 1000 working hours
  • 1 air preparation system
  • 1 safety dump valve
  • 12-station manifold
  • 2 air cylinders
  • 1 control panel
  • All new tubing, wiring, and fittings

After the installation was complete, SMC provided the Reamer Club with updated schematics of the pneumatic system for the Operators’ Manual.

The opportunity to make this donation was special to many at SMC who graduated from Purdue. SMC highly values the next generation of automation, and this project offered a unique opportunity for engagement with members of this generation at Purdue. Boiler up!

Watch the video that details the pneumatic update on the Boilermaker Special:

Discover all the ways SMC is currently engaging with the next generation of automation:

About the Boilermaker Special

The Boilermaker Special VII is the Official Mascot of Purdue University, and the Purdue Reamer Club has been entrusted by the University with the honor and responsibility of being its caretaker. For more information, visit

About SMC Corporation of America

​​​​​​​SMC Corporation of America, a subsidiary of SMC Corporation in Japan headquartered in Noblesville, IN, is a comprehensive manufacturer of components for the Automation, Controls, and Process industries. With technical centers in Japan, the US, Europe, and China, our vision to be the global standard for sustainable automation is realized through partnering with our customers to discover opportunities for energy and resource savings by reducing overall compressed air and electrical consumption.