Penn College receives entrustment of high-tech machine
Pennsylvania College of Technology students eyeing manufacturing-related careers will benefit from a machine entrustment valued at $625,000.
The Bihler 4 Slide-NC is a high-tech metal stamping and forming center entrusted to the college for two years by Otto Bihler Maschinenfabrik and Bihler of America Inc.
Utilizing state-of-the-art servo controls, the machine facilitates rapid production of intricately stamped and formed metal – fed from a continuous spool of material – into finished parts. It can produce up to 300 parts per minute.
“It’s an incredible machine. It represents the latest technology in manufacturing. This is an extraordinary opportunity to replicate what our graduates will be experiencing in the workforce,” said Howard W. Troup, assistant professor of automated manufacturing and machining.
“The plan is to design and make tooling for a new product or modifications to an existing product every academic year. The Bihler 4 Slide-NC will make it possible for students to take a product from conception to production,” Troup said. “The design stage is underway in several manufacturing classes.”
In May, Troup and Krishna C. Vistarakula, instructor of automated manufacturing and machining, received training on the machine at Bihler’s Phillipsburg, New Jersey, location.
Based in Halblech, Germany, Otto Bihler Maschinenfabrik is the world’s leading system supplier for automated manufacturing in stamping, forming, welding and assembly technology. Bihler of America is its U.S. distributor of automated manufacturing machines. Otto Bihler Maschinenfabrik provided elements for the entrusted machine that was built by Bihler of America.
“We are very excited to embark upon this exciting collaboration,” said Karl Reed, director of new projects at Bihler of America. “By incorporating the latest Bihler technology with a renowned educational organization, we are looking to mentor and coach manufacturing ‘disciples’ to learn and grow the required technical skills needed for today’s manufacturing environment. Otto Bihler Maschinenfabrik and Bihler of America are honored to be working alongside the faculty and students of Penn College and are excited to develop employees for the future of U.S. manufacturing. Excellent training in all areas of manufacturing is so important now.”
According to a study by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, the manufacturing skills gap could result in 2.1 million unfilled jobs by 2030.
“We are very grateful that so many companies are recognizing the value of exposing our students to their latest equipment,” said Bradley M. Webb, dean of engineering technologies. “Hands-on experience is the hallmark of a Penn College education. That’s why multiple industries covet our graduates, who play a key role in shrinking the skills gap. This generous entrustment will enhance the hands-on experience available to our Tomorrow Makers.”
Four companies made donations related to the Bihler 4 Slide-NC: Chase Chillers, RapidAir Products, Rolled Metal Products, and Izzi Trucking and Rigging.
The Bihler 4 Slide-NC is in Penn College’s recently renovated 12,200-square-foot automated manufacturing lab. The lab’s upgrades – including new lighting, flooring and the addition of a CNC programming and simulation classroom – were funded as part of a $1 million grant awarded by the Gene Haas Foundation. The facility will be christened The Gene Haas Center for Innovative Manufacturing during a dedication ceremony scheduled for Nov. 6.
For information on degrees offered by the college’s School of Engineering Technologies, call 570-327-4520.
Penn College is a national leader in applied technology education and workforce development. Email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.