Die cast machine donation enhances manufacturing programs

Tue Nov 1, 2016 at 11:36 AM

Pace die cast donationNorthark technical students can get hands-on experience with a new die cast machine recently donated by PACE Industries.  The machine is valued at over $100,000 and weighed in at a hefty 8 tons.  It was recently delivered to the north campus. 

The machine benefits students in the Manufacturing and Industrial Electronics Technology programs.  It provides learning opportunities to show students how different elements of manufacturing work together with automation to make the products we all use every day.

Specifically, students will learn how to make parts in a simulated environment.  Inside the machine are two blocks of steel that contain the shape of a part.  Molten aluminum is pumped into the mold where it sets until it has cooled.  The blocks are then separated and pulled apart, revealing the newly produced part. 

The machine enhances the equipment already located at the north campus and is part of a recent regional workforce grant totaling nearly $1 million dollars designed to increase the number of skilled workers in the fields of allied health and manufacturing technology.  The grant requires in-kind donations from industry partners.

“This equipment donation has been in the works for several years and wouldn’t have happened without the active collaboration between the leadership at Northark’s Technical Center and our management team in Harrison,” says Ken Stuckey, director of talent acquisition and development at Pace Industries.  “There is no question that it will benefit both North Arkansas College Technical Center students and our own PACE Industries associates for specific mechanical and automation training to further their manufacturing careers.”

“We’re proud to partner with PACE Industries in offering students a more valuable educational experience that includes equipment they might not have been able to see until they are in the workplace,” said Northark President Dr. Randy Esters. “Northark is the best college to choose for students who want to work in manufacturing.  PACE Industries provides scholarships that allow them to go to college for free and internships that put them first in line for jobs.”

The College plans to use grant funds to build an automated robotic cell around the die cast machine.  Northark is the regional hub for the BEST Robotic competition, drawing teams from around the region and Missouri.

Cutline for photo:  PACE Industries and Northark representatives are shown in front of the new die cast machine.  Shown from left to right are Cindy Mayo, Northark dean of nursing, allied health and technical Programs, David Zirkle, department chair of construction technology and technical programs, John Levy, engineering technology instructor, Scott Howie, director of Northark Technical Center, Dustin Burleson, manufacturing technology instructor, Ken Stuckey, director of talent acquisition & development at  Pace Industries, Steve Kruse, sr. manager technical services Pace Industries, Ethan Robinson, workforce coordinator Pace Industries, Melissa Bray, regional workforce grant coordinator at Northark and Nell Bonds, dean of outreach and workforce development.

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