Arkansas State University opened Hytrol Materials Handling Laboratory Tuesday on the ASU campus. The laboratory, located in room 130U of the Arkansas Biosciences Institute, was made possible after Hytrol a fully-functional conveyor system, along with accompanying instrumentation and controls.
The lab is the first of its kind in the College of Engineering and Computer Science and will be used by students taking courses in the engineering curriculum. The conveyor system is a working version of one of Hytrol’s models and one that is currently used by industrial giants such as Amazon, FedEx and Walmart.
“Last month, Arkansas State was reclassified by the Carnegie Foundation as a doctoral university with high research activity – a R-2 university in academic jargon,” Dr. Kelly Damphousse, chancellor of Arkansas State University said after thanking Hytrol for their partnership. “This makes A-State one of 261 universities out of the 4,415 that Carnegie classifies that are either R-1 or R-2 national research institutions.”
“The Hytrol Materials Handling Lab joins several other dedicated spaces where our students and faculty collaborate on teaching and research,” Damphousse continued. “These types of hands-on teaching tools bring the real world into our classrooms. This collaboration is a great illustration of how A-State fulfills our R-2 designation.”
Practical experience is key to learning in engineering, and ASU students using the equipment will gain hands-on experience in the intricacies of control systems, PLC logic and programming. Having access to the lab will give Arkansas State students an opportunity to learn about these systems, which in turn will lead to internships and employment in the field of material handling, Damphousse added.
“We are excited to add another chapter in our ongoing journey with A-State,” said David Peacock, president of Hytrol. “Where it leads us is up to us. It is our desire for it to open doors for the students of today and tomorrow, to a bright future together where we move the world forward.”
“Our vision is to connect future generations of people, products and solutions by pushing the limits of what is possible in material handling,” Peacock added. “This lab gives Hytrol that connection to the young men and women of A-State who are seeking to make that difference.”
The gift is the latest in a long-standing partnership between ASU and Hytrol Conveyor Company. In 2015, Hytol established a $200,000 endowment for scholarships in the College of Engineering and Computer Science. A-State students enjoy a long history of internships at Hytrol, and many graduates have been employed by Hytrol.
“What you have done is not just a great deed for Arkansas State, but for our community,” said Collin McCrary, a senior engineering major from Harrisburg, and the current recipient of the Hytrol Scholarship for Engineering. “Our students are very excited to be able to use these labs for things that we learn in controls, PLC and robotics.”