Hytrol Cranks Out New Lab At Arkansas State

Hytrol Cranks Out New Lab At Arkansas State
A production worker at Hytrol, the world's top manufacturer of conveyors, according to President David Peacock. (File)

The Arkansas State University-Hytrol Conveyor Co. Inc. partnership has produced a new learning opportunity for the university’s engineering students.

The school and the Jonesboro-based materials handling systems provider have unveiled an on-campus, materials handling lab complete with the type of working conveyor that Hytrol makes.

The Hytrol Materials Handling Laboratory is situated in room 13U of the Arkansas Biosciences Institute and features the conveyor plus associated instrumentation and controls.

The system contains accumulation, sortation and transport conveyors that provide mechanical and electrical engineering students with real-world experience in the materials handling field. The system includes programmable logic controls, allowing students in the ASU College of Engineering and Computer Science to learn about product timing and sequencing.

The system is a loop containing 48 feet of conveyor and uses Hytrol's E24 Volt motors and features EZLogic accumulation technology. It will be upgraded to reflect technological advancements and keep students learning on up-to-date equipment

At last week's ribbon-cutting, ASU Chancellor Kelly Damphousse noted ASU's recent reclassification as an R2 national research institution by the Carnegie Foundation and said the lab underscores the new status. An R2 institution is categorized as a doctoral university with high research activity.

"The Hytrol Materials Handling Lab joins several other dedicated spaces where our students and faculty collaborate on teaching and research," Damphousse said.

Carnegie classifies 4,415 universities and ASU is among the 261 with either R1 (doctoral university with very high research activity) or R2 status.

The Hytrol-Arkansas State partnership dates at least to 2015, when the company endowed $200,000 for college of engineering and computer science scholarships. Students have interned with Hytrol, which also employs former students, and the new lab is expected to strengthen the employment pipeline.

Hytrol has found a number of ways to align with local schools.

In early January the company, which employs about 1,200, hosted Jonesboro’s Hispanic Emerging Leaders Program, created to assist Latino high school students in achieving academic goals and career planning.

Last fall Hytrol dedicated a 45,000-SF, $1.5 million renovation to its Technology Center, which was touted among other things as a recruiting advantage for ASU and a way to promote Hytrol employment opportunities to current and potential students.

In a statement coinciding with the dedication of the materials handling lab, Hytrol President David Peacock reinforced the company's community-university connection.

"We can explore ways to improve the quality of life locally, nationally and around the world," he said. "This lab gives Hytrol that connection to the young men and women of A-State seeking to make a difference."

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