K-State celebrates Bulk Solids Innovation Center grand opening in Salina

K-State Communications and Marketing

The Kansas State University Bulk Solids Innovation Center recently celebrated its grand opening in Salina. (Photo: K-State Communications and Marketing)

After breaking ground on the project less than a year ago, the Kansas State University Bulk Solids Innovation Center recently celebrated its grand opening with a purple ribbon-cutting ceremony in Salina. 

The two-story, 13,000-square-foot facility is the only one of its kind in North America and will be used to study the science and understanding of bulk solids materials handling — loose, dry commodities such as sugar, minerals, pigments and recycled plastics that account for more than 80 percent of items transported around the world. The innovation center houses six laboratories for university and industry-sponsored research; training and education, conference and lecture rooms; a material properties test lab; and a full-scale bulk solids test bay. 

"Bulk solids research is a somewhat underrepresented field, so having a facility of this magnitude in our back yard specifically for our students' benefit is invaluable," said Kurt Barnhart, associate dean of research and engagement at K-State Salina.

K-State is the key tenant in the center, while two local companies, Coperion K-Tron Salina and Vortex Valves, supplement the facility by serving as anchor occupants. University-level courses associated with bulk solids as well as professional development courses for industry professionals will be taught onsite, and students will assist with research projects as outside companies partner with the center to conduct product testing. In addition, it complements the College of Agriculture's Bulk Solids and Particle Technology Lab and program housed on the Manhattan campus.

Since ground was broken on the facility in 2014, manufacturers from across the globe have supplied more than $2.5 million in equipment donations. The innovation center is a project of K-State with partners such as the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce, Salina Economic Development Corporation, U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration, the state of Kansas and the city of Salina.

"We are certainly proud and excited to have the new Kansas State University Bulk Solids Innovation Center in Salina," said Don Weiser, Salina Area Chamber of Commerce president and CEO. "The center is a great example of collaboration between government, university and industry. It shows what can be accomplished when everyone works together. And as the only one of its kind in North America, the facility will not only enhance our local economy, it also will add to Salina's worldwide recognition."

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