Hytrol Materials Handling Laboratory Opens at A-State
On hand for the ribbon cutting of the Hytrol Materials Handling Laboratory at Arkansas State University today were Clint McGowan, Hytrol research and development lab technician; Sherry Stringer, Hytrol board member; Robert Jones, chairman of the board at Hytrol; Dr. Kelly Damphousse, Arkansas State University chancellor; Dr. Timothy Burcham, dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science; David Peacock, Hytrol president; Collin McCrary, A-State senior engineering major and recipient of the Hytrol Scholarship for Engineering; Boyce Bonham, Hytrol chief engineer; Ben Moyer, director of research and development at Hytrol; Phillip Poston, Hytrol director of strategic planning and Jim Gruel, Hytrol research and development lab technician.
JONESBORO – Officials for Arkansas State University and Hytrol Conveyor Company were on hand Tuesday for the opening of the Hytrol Materials Handling Laboratory on the A-State campus. The laboratory, located in Room 130U of the Arkansas Biosciences Institute, was made possible thanks to a gift from Hytrol that equipped the facility with 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 most popular 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 A-State 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 a tremendous opportunity to learn about these systems, which in turn will lead to internships and employment in the field of material handling.
“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 Arkansas State University 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, the market leader in material handling systems.
“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.”
“Paige Carswell, the manager of marketing at Hytrol, did a wonderful job with the graphics and presentation,” Dr. Timothy Burcham, dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science explained when describing the new facility. “If you go visit the Hytrol facility, you are going to see the same theme at their new research and development center and throughout their facility. It really brings the Hytrol look and feel to the Arkansas State campus, and we couldn’t be more delighted.”