FORT MITCHELL, KY. - Pittsburg State University's School of Technology is in the final stages of completing a $27.7 million facility that represents the largest building project in the history of the university, located in Pittsburg, Kan. Called the Kansas Technology Center, the 240,000-square-foot building will house an expanded Plastics Engineering Technology program. The program will move beginning in April, with all equipment ready for the fall semester. Several students representing the school staffed the Society of Plastics Engineers student booth at the Thermoforming Division's conference, held Sept. 29-Oct. 1 in Fort Mitchell.
The Plastics Engineering program plans to update equipment, said Bob Susnik, associate professor of plastics technology.
``It wouldn't look so good to move into a new, state-of-the-art technology center with old equipment,'' he said.
Two new injection presses will be installed this month. Sandretto Plastics Machinery Inc. of Middleburg Heights, Ohio, placed a Series 8 Advantage 175-ton press at the facility on consignment.
Sandretto's contract with the Plastics Engineering Technology school includes a clause that allows the company to use the school's facilities as a technology training center for customers, said Carole Fantozzi, sales administrator for the company.
Sandretto's representatives in the area, Van Dyke & Associates in Prairie Village, Kan., approached Sandretto about the deal.
``We needed a location for a technical center in that area, so this contract with Pitt State fits nicely with our plans,'' said Fantozzi, adding that this is the 10th technical center the company has created, and the second installation of a press in a university setting within a month.
Last month, the company started up a 50-ton, micromolding injection molding press at Penn State Erie's Plastics Technology Center in Erie, Pa. That press is used exclusively for teaching and research for students.
Battenfeld of America Inc. in West Warwick, R.I., placed a 44-ton injection molding press at Pittsburg State, also on a consignment basis. Thomas Botthof, assistant sales manager for Battenfeld, said that company's involvement with the school also began when its sales agency in the Kansas territory approached the company about placing equipment at Pittsburg State.
Botthof said the press is a top-of-the-line machine with ``full-blown process controllers in a closed-loop'' system.
Battenfeld is active at several schools throughout the United States such as Penn State Erie and Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Mich.
The additional equipment at Pittsburg State means that the school will more than double its injection molding capabilities.
``We're planning to have a number of seminars here at the school and needed the extra equipment to support that,'' Susnik said.
The school already has two Van Dorn presses.
Susnik said the school is big on plastics, with 160 students enrolled in the plastics program out of a total enrollment of 6,500.
``We offer a hands-on approach for all the processes, including rotational molding, thermoforming, some extrusion and even materials testing and composites.''