The Kansas State University Bulk Solids Innovation Center, which broke ground in July, is already creating momentum toward its project goals. The innovation center has garnered $2.4 million in equipment donations, the facility’s foundation is currently being poured and the job description for a full-time research manager is being finalized.
“It is absolutely thrilling to see how quickly this project is flourishing,” said Dennis Lauver, president and CEO of the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce. “We’re pleased to be the community where so many entities have come together to make the Bulk Solids Innovation Center a reality.”
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. The university will be the key tenant while two local companies, Coperion K-Tron Salina and Vortex Valves, will supplement the facility by serving as anchor occupants.
Equipment donations for the innovation center have been collected from as far away as Germany. Everything from vacuums and valves to silos and air compressors have been given to the facility. Todd Smith, Coperion K-Tron Salina general manager, is grateful for the support and says the generosity proves just how much desire there is for the center to be a success.
“The research facility will be the only one of its kind in North America,” Smith said. “These businesses recognize the benefit of this project and want to contribute to something that is paving the way for cutting-edge research.”
Part of the evolution of the facility is discovering individuals with a passion for progress. Kurt Barnhart, Kansas State University Salina’s associate dean of research and engagement, says besides a full-time research manager, the innovation center also will seek a graduate assistant. Together, they will be responsible for developing external research projects as well as coordinating day-to-day research activity at the facility.
The nearly 13,000-square-foot center will be for the study and development of the understanding of bulk solids materials handling. Bulk solids are loose, dry commodities like sugar, minerals, pigments and recycled plastics, which account for more than 80 percent of items transported around the world.
An expected facility completion date has been set for April 2015.
To help fill the innovation center’s equipment needs or for more information on general donations, contact Smith at [email protected] or 785-825-1611, ext. 3868.
Story by Julee Cobb / Kansas State University