Meet Texpand, the South African Champion School Robotics team that recently clinched the top spot at the first Tech Challenge Robotics Competition in Houston, Texas this past April.

Out of an astounding 7,900 teams from around the globe, only 224 advanced to the Championship. The competition took place over multiple days of intense gameplay across four divisions. Despite facing teams with multi-million rand budgets, Texpand, fuelled by a handful of dedicated sponsors and sheer determination, rose to the occasion.

Molenaar was proud to be a part of this journey with Texpand, not only as one of the sponsors that helped get the team to the US but also by assisting with research and development. It’s incredible to see the hard work and collaboration pay off in such a remarkable way.

In an extraordinary turn of events, two top international teams handpicked Texpand to form an alliance for the final rounds. Together with “A. I. Citizens” from Romania and “The Clueless” from the USA, they clinched the coveted title, cementing their status as World Champions and a formidable force on the international stage. Last year, they were crowned South African FTC robotics champions and became the first African team to win the prestigious Think Award, which celebrates excellence in engineering thinking and process. Now, they’ve done it again, reinforcing their reputation as trailblazers in the world of robotics.

For Texpand, the journey is about more than just winning. As they put it, “FTC is more than a game – it is about growing in and expanding STEM skills – Science, Technology, Engineering, and Maths.”

The team members, aged between 14 and 17, have honed their skills in physics, coding, applied mathematics, 3D design, sensor integration, and more. What’s truly inspiring is their commitment to giving back to their community. They’ve shared their knowledge with over 500 young minds in Cape Town, mentored 35 emerging FTC teams worldwide, and launched eight new robotics teams.

Their goal is to inspire and train the next generation of South African STEM enthusiasts and robotics aficionados. And they are doing just that!

Molenaar is extremely proud of Texpand’s achievement and can’t wait to see what this talented team will accomplish in the future. What an incredible achievement it is!

Texpand team leader hands gift of appreciation over to Stephan Molenaar, MD, and Martin Molenaar, Director, of HG Molenaar
Texpand handing over a gift of appreciation to Stephan Molenaar (MD – Middle) and Martin Molenaar (Director – Right). Molenaar was one of the sponsors to get the team to the US but also assisted with the R&D.