Over the last six months, Engel Machinery Inc., the U.S. unit of Austria-based injection press maker Engel Holding GmbH, has provided four tie-barless molding machines to four universities.
Each of the Engel e-motion presses, with 85 tons of clamping force, are equipped with an Engel e-pic Z robot. The goal: Provide students with the latest in machine and processing technology so they enter the workforce with the most up-to-date technologies available, Engel officials said.
"Engel places a great importance on the support of universities and institutions globally," said Thomas Leng, Engel's vice president of global application engineering. "We are building the future of both our company and the plastics industry by investing in the young talent of today."
Mark Sankovitch, president of Engel in York, Pa., said Engel is committed to supporting plastics education throughout the country.
"The more complete and up-to-date education that a student receives in plastics related programs, the better it is for our industry. These graduates are the future of plastics. Training them on outdated technology is not in anybody's best interest," he said.
Each of the presses going to the schools are equipped with Engel Inject 4.0 software, Engel's version of Industry 4.0. The machinery manufacturer also provides each school with a full day of training.
The University of Massachusetts Lowell received an 85-ton e-motion press and a 55-ton e-mac machine. In addition to the two new Engel molding machines, the school's laboratory is outfitted with eight other injection presses, eight single-screw and five twin-screw extruders, two thermoforming machines, two blow molders, one injection stretch blow molding machine, two blown film lines, four micro-molding and micro-compounders and a wide array of auxiliary equipment.
Professor David Kazmer said there is a lot of interest in liquid silicone molding, and an Engel LSR press is the only machine of its type in the department.
"We believe advanced sensing and control is critical to enabling new plastics applications and thus being competitive," Kazmer said. "We want our students and industry partners to be up to date on the latest technologies."
At Pittsburg State University in Kansas, the Plastics Technology program will celebrate its 50th anniversary this fall. PSU took delivery of its first Engel machine in 2001. The new 85-ton e-motion is the university's fifth, and one of three injection presses in the school's processing lab.
"Students, even learning a new science, can tell that they are working with some of the finest equipment on the market," professor Paul Herring said.
The lab also has three extrusion lines, an extrusion blow molding machine and a reheat-stretch blow molder, two thermoformers, a rotational molding machine, an automatic compression molding press and a transfer molding press, plus auxiliary equipment.