A project that first began as an idea five years ago will soon become a reality. Calling it a great example of cooperation between government, industry, and university, officials broke ground for the $3.5 million Kansas State University Bulk Solids Innovation Center Thursday morning in Salina.
The research facility will be the only one of its kind in North America. The nearly 13,000-square-foot center will be used to study and develop the understanding of bulk solids materials handling. Bulk solids are loose, dry commodities like sugar, minerals, pigments and recycled plastics that account for more than 80 percent of items transported around the world. Examples include sugar, starch, minerals, chemicals, and plastic granules. The science of dry bulk solids is not fully understood and is still developing.
The center will include a material properties test lab area, a full scale bulk solids test bay, additional research areas, and also a training and research area.
The center is a project of Kansas State University with partners the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce, Salina Economic Development Corporation, U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration, the state of Kansas and the city of Salina.
Kansas State University will be the key tenant in the center, which will be used by technology, engineering and agriculture faculty members to conduct research that will complement university programs in both Manhattan and Salina. The center also will let the university’s students immerse themselves in an industry setting. Two local companies, Coperion K-Tron Salina Inc. and Vortex Valves, will supplement the facility by serving as anchor occupants.
Construction will begin immediately. Plans call for the building shell to be up by early November. The goal is to have it ready for move in by early April of 2015.