Big changes unfold at WMU Pilot Plants


KALAMAZOO, Mich.—Western Michigan University paper engineering faculty, students and several industry partners celebrated the startup of technology that will allow for the development and testing of new paper types, as well as another plant to certify recycled products.

Facilities on the WMU Parkview Campus now house a one-of-a-kind in North America pilot-scale multi-ply paper manufacturing machine, named in honor of alumnus Charles Klass, who worked for more than five decades in the pulp and paper industry. He attended the unveiling ceremony April 16 and pulled the first sheet of paper off the new machine.

The equipment, moved and donated from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, enables WMU to test and develop two-ply paper and paperboard used in a wider variety of products, says Lon Pschigoda, WMU Pilot Plants general manager. Servicing industry clients from around the world, the WMU operation provides an outlet for companies to test new paper types, fibers, chemistries and equipment on a smaller scale, without having to interrupt their own production lines.

The project “represents the best of WMU,” says WMU President Edward Montgomery. “It is research that impacts the world and creates unparalleled opportunities for our students.”

Its installation was made possible with the help of donations of industry talent, expertise and materials.


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