The Manufacturing Engineering Technology program at Pittsburg State University in Kansas is due to receive a 25-ton wax-injection machine, thanks to a donation by MPI Inc. The new machine, described as “state of the art,” will be installed in the metalcasting lab at the Kansas Technology Center.
The new wax injector is the first step in PSU’s effort to establish a Center of Excellence in Metal Casting (CEMC.) The CEMC is seen as a modern laboratory in which metalcasting students, and a “permanent education and training resource” for industry professionals to develop best practices, share knowledge, and promote metalcasting processes.
“The program at Pitt State is excellent and needs the best equipment to aid in training tomorrow’s leaders in investment casting,” according to MPI president Bruce Phipps. “MPI has the best equipment, so when asked if I would contemplate making such a significant donation I considered it my responsibility to the industry.”
According to a University statement, the new equipment “will bring real-world application to the classroom, from tooling design and wax injection right on to final wax assembly.”
The injection press is expected to be ready for operation in late May and available for the university’s summer session. The new machine will be “fully integrated” into the investment-casting curriculum at Pittsburg State, according to Professor of Engineering Technology Russ Rosmait.
Rosmait has been the Foundry Educational Foundation Key Professor at Pittsburgh State for 25 years, and is the faculty advisor to the AFS Student Chapter there. Earlier this year, he was elected a director of the Investment Casting Institute (ICI.)
Pittsburg State University is a FEF-certified school and the site to the world’s only ICI-certification program for foundry professionals. Both the FEF program and the ICI certification course incorporate hands-on training that take advantage of the wax-injection equipment.
“This is the type of industry-leading machine we’ve wanted for quite some time,” Rosmait said, “but its $160,000 price tag meant it was out of our reach financially. We’re incredibly fortunate and grateful that MPI decided to invest so substantially in our program and donate this equipment to us.”
Investment casting is not new technology, but developments in product modeling and simulation, production process control, and materials, have meant that it is responsible for many significant, and highly valuable, advances in the industry.
Investment casting works with complex patterns that start as wax patterns. Injecting wax under pressure into a mold to form patterns expands the variety and increases the complexity of investment cast products.
MPI develops and manufactures high-yield wax-injection machines and wax room automation systems. The Poughkeepsie, NY, company also supplies contract pattern production and assembly service.
“My goal is to promote the values that Pitt State and the ICI work hard to instill,” Phipps said. “Good business practices start with sound equipment and a high degree of process control. I believe this donation demonstrates my commitment to these values.”