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K-State Bulk Solids Innovation Center helps boost industry

Topeka WIBW-TV logo Topeka WIBW-TV 9/19/2020 Sarah Motter
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SALINA, Kan. (WIBW) - The Kansas State University Bulk Solids Innovation Center is partnering with a key trade association to boost the industry.

Kansas State University says its Bulk Solids Innovation Center is strategically partnering with the Process Equipment Manufacturers' Association to improve and help the industry.

K-State said the association was formed in 1960 and brings companies together that supply equipment and systems that are used by process industries which include food, chemical, pharmaceutical, wastewater treatment, paint and coatings, agribusiness, ceramics, metals, plastics, wood, pulp and paper, environmental, building products and mining and minerals.

“We are excited to establish this partnership with PEMA, the most important trade association dedicated to companies who supply bulk solids equipment for industry,” said Todd Smith, business and strategy manager for the Bulk Solids Innovation Center. “The association’s members have supported our center since the outset, and its efforts fully match our goals to improve bulk solids technology and assist industry.”

According to K-State, the Bulk Solids Innovation Center opened in 2015 and is part of the Kansas State University Polytechnic Campus in Salina. It said it is the only university facility and staff in North America that is solely dedicated to helping industrial companies with education, consulting, testing services and research related to bulk solids.

K-State said the center’s large facility includes six laboratories with test bench equipment for measurement and characterization of material properties while also providing additional room for client research projects. It said the center features a full scale bay with a large variety of equipment for testing and studying hopper flow, chutes, conveying, filtering, flow aids, blending, separating and more. It said the facility has the latest equipment and instrumentation which was mostly donated by over 25 companies, many of which are Process Equipment Manufacturers' Association members.

According to the school, the Bulk Solids Innovation Cetner provides essential services to industrial companies which includes the following:

  • Material testing services — Tests are used to evaluate material properties and make recommendations relative to storage, flow, conveying, segregation, mixing, fluidization, air filtration and more. Test examples include flow function, wall friction, particles' size and shape, moisture analysis and wear/abrasion.
  • Full-scale research and consulting projects — The center provides facilities and university staff expertise to help companies troubleshoot material or process issues, conduct trial runs, or plan how to scale-up from the lab or pilot plant.
  • Education short courses— These short courses, valued for the combination of theory, practical application and hands-on learning are not available at most colleges. They will be offered again in person in 2021. The Bulk Solids Innovation Center also is launching an online Bulk Solids Academy in November. This online academy will be comprised of 50% lecture and 50% demonstrations on real equipment, with discussion and questions and answers.

K-State said through the partnership, members will get discounted education; access to material testing, consulting, advice and troubleshooting; access to equipment testing facilities; a place for customers to do full scale testing or scale up of processes; and information on the latest technology trends. It said using the resources provided by an independent lab, it will provide additional credibility for PEMA members.

“PEMA members will have access to unique educational, consulting and testing services through this partnership,” said Rod Henricks, PEMA president. “Likewise, PEMA members will be a first-line resource for the Bulk Solids Innovation Center when needs arise.”

For more information on the Bulk Solids Innovation Center, contact bsic@k-state.edu.

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