During the Fall 2020 semester, Ferris State University’s Plastics Engineering Technology
students benefited from broader laboratory learning thanks to a departmental advisory
board member’s continued efforts.
According to Plastics Engineering Technology Assistant Professor Tom Van Pernis, the Sept. 15 arrival of a 44-ton Haitian Zafir Zeres ZE 400/120 injection-molding machine came about at Jason Holbrook’s direction.
“There were six of these machines already in place in our laboratory, and adding a seventh meant we could better accommodate our students, through social distancing,” Van Pernis said. “Jason’s service on our advisory board has been a great asset. He has been a strong advocate for our program over the years, seeing that we received a number of units from different manufacturers.”
The sole distributor of this line in the U.S. is Absolute Haitian, based in Worcester, Massachusetts. Holbrook is the company’s regional sales manager for Midwestern clients and arranged for the 400/120 machine to be available on consignment. Van Pernis said Ferris National Elastomer Center Laboratory Manager Brian Pacholka worked collaboratively with AH Field Service Technician Terry Harrington and Plastics Engineering Technology student Hailey Hoevenaar, of Lowell, to set up the unit which joined the laboratory rotation in early October.
“There are five manufacturers of injection molding equipment represented among the seven machines now in this laboratory,” Van Pernis said. “Jason understands, as do the manufacturers, that Ferris Plastics Engineering Technology graduates become decision-makers in their industry. Having a breadth of equipment available to them now helps our students learn and adapt before entering the field. An important attribute of the ZE 400/120 is the hydraulic circuitry in this electric machine, which illustrates the two technologies in that one machine.”
Ferris established the National Elastomer Center in 1998 and expanded the facility to 28,000 square feet to accommodate Rubber Engineering Technology instruction in the existing Plastics Engineering Technology learning space.