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  • Patrice Aylward

Ferris State University adds press to support in-person learning

The Ferris State University Plastics Engineering Technology Lab took delivery of a Zhafir Zeres electric molding machine in the first week of October. The consigned ZE 400/120 (44 U.S. tons) is helping to address social distancing requirements posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. With the new ZE, the University has been able to add an additional lab section for applied learning with one student at each machine rather than two, reducing the number of lab partners.


Jason Holbrook, Absolute Haitian’s Midwest Regional Sales Manager and member of the Ferris State Plastics Engineering Technology Advisory Board, facilitated the consignment machine. Although stock machines are currently in high demand, Jason made the case for Absolute Haitian to deliver the ZE 400/120 to the university as quickly as possible.

Said Tom Van Pernis, Assistant Professor at Ferris State University, “Once we understood the machine requirements, it was a quick turnaround. We were pleased with how fast the new machine arrived. We had students running the molding machine the day after it delivered for six hours. Jason has been a great supporter of our program over the years.”


Currently, the Ferris State lab is using the ZE for an Advanced Injection Molding course, and in the spring, they will add Introduction to Injection Molding on the Zeres.


The Zeres is an electric machine complemented by a hydraulic circuit dedicated to injection carriage movement, core pull, ejectors and valve gates, providing students with the opportunity to see both electric and hydraulic technologies in action.


“In my classes, I typically review the ins and outs of the molding machines first, focusing on the controller. Students in the advanced class were all familiar with our existing machines. This semester, I’ve been able to simulate an actual work situation with the new Zeres,” said Van Pernis. “Here’s the manual now go to it. All the students have been successful, quickly understanding the control and making parts on their own.”


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