Hardinge Inc. donates machining center to Penn College
A global machine tool builder has donated machinery to benefit the Baja SAE team and academic programs at Pennsylvania College of Technology.
Hardinge Inc. recently provided the college with an XR 1000 high-performance vertical machining center. Valued at $144,900, the milling machine is equipped with the latest spindle technology and configured for 4-axis machining.
“We are extremely grateful to Hardinge for their belief in our academic programs and students and for so thoughtfully providing their advanced technology to enhance our hands-on education,” said Loni N. Kline, senior vice president for college relations.
Based in Atlanta, Hardinge designs, manufactures and distributes machine tools in over 65 countries. Hardinge is a new Corporate Tomorrow Maker at Penn College and is a member of the Visionary Society ($100,000-$499,999) on the college’s Donor Wall.
Alumnus Nathan A. White, a Hardinge application engineer, spearheaded the donation. White graduated in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in manufacturing engineering technology and two associate degrees: automated manufacturing technology and machine tool technology.
“Our industry is struggling to find young, motivated talent that can bring new ideas to the table to push our industry further. After my experience at Penn College, I know that this is the type of person that the college attracts to its programs,” explained White, who works at Hardinge’s facility in Elmira, New York.
“I know that Penn College is the perfect place to recruit machinists, service technicians, application engineers, manufacturing engineers, industrial designers and programmers. The thought was to have Hardinge represented at the college, so the students become more familiar with us and our machines to hopefully give us the opportunity to hire highly skilled people.”
The XR 1000 is in the Larry A. Ward Machining Technologies Center, where it will be used by Baja team members and serve as a lab resource for students enrolled in majors devoted to manufacturing and machining.
Baja SAE is an international competition that requires schools to design, manufacture and build a single-seat, all-terrain, four-wheel-drive vehicle to survive various challenges. Penn College has enjoyed considerable success in recent years. Since 2011, the team has recorded two wins and 12 other top-10 finishes in the competition’s premier event: the four-hour endurance race.
“This generous donation from Hardinge will greatly increase the Baja team’s productivity and efficiency in manufacturing parts,” said John G. Upcraft, instructor of manufacturing and machining and adviser to Penn College’s Baja SAE club. “This machine will alleviate any conflicts with the instructional use of other CNC machines. We can let a selection of tooling remain in the XR 1000, which eliminates the need to tear down after every job is complete.”
Students make about 90% of the parts for the Baja car.
Chethan C. Meda, of Corning, New York, majoring in manufacturing engineering technology, is a member of the Penn College Baja team and interned last summer at Hardinge.
“I’m ecstatic that our team has the XR 1000. I worked with these machines during my internship, and I found them to be extremely rigid, fast and precise,” Meda said. “This machine greatly improves our manufacturing capability because of its high performance. We’ll be able to make many more parts now that we have unlimited access to a capable CNC mill.”
White credits Meda for inspiring the donation.
“We had previous conversations about donating equipment to the college,” he said. “However, Chethan proved that the ‘green’ students coming out of Penn College and the Baja program are exactly the type of person we need here at Hardinge. This is what sent the decision to donate the machine over the edge.”
Penn College is preparing to host a Baja competition for the first time. Baja SAE Williamsport is scheduled for May 16-19 at the college’s Schneebeli Earth Science Center near Montgomery and Allenwood. The event is expected to attract about 100 teams and 1,000 competitors.
For more information on Penn College’s team and sponsorship opportunities, visit College Relations' Baja SAE page.
For information on degrees offered by the college’s School of Engineering Technologies, call 570-327-4520.