SOLVING PROBLEMS UNIVERSITY INDUSTRY
Teaching students in a very competitive world is not an easy task. Now days the production is globalized and we have to teach students to face a very difficult task in their professional environment. They have to compete with technologies and people, from all over the world.
These new paradigm bring a lots of challenge to the Universities in order to prepare students for the real World.
A close collaboration with the industries is essential in order to give the future graduates their skills, to be able to solve problems, each time more difficult and challenging.
One limitation of the University is the lack of high productions machinery that is used at the industry.
At the Faculty of Chemistry (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México), we have been able to come in close contact with several Industries to solve together problem they are facing, in order to increase production and reduce costs.
In our course of polymer one of the topics covered, is transforming polymers, in this particular case PVC, into sheet. One of the processes used at the industry is Calendering. The problem is the high cost of the equipment (several million dollars) and the cost of running the production (up to several tons per hour).
One industry in particular had a rubber calendar and wanted to produce PVC. Because the rheological properties are complete different, they had difficulties at production.
With the commission of two students to the production line and with a close supervision of a Professor from the Faculty of Chemistry, they review the equipment, necessities and possible solutions. After some testing they found that the main problem was the shape of the calender rolls. Changing the material from rubber to PVC, the behavior of the rolls was complete different. With a numerical analysis and several tests, it was possible to find the deflection produced by PVC on the rolls and a correction of the shape was done to solve the problem, with very good results.
This gave the students a first hand experience in solving real industrial problems.