This Center will house manufacturing-focused laboratories where industry works with students and faculty to develop, test, and implement next-generation technologies and practices. For manufacturers, the center will be a sandbox for innovation—for advancing technologies without having to divert resources from day-to-day, bottom-line activities.
The Center for Manufacturing Competitiveness will also host the first full-service integrated heavy-haul battery testing facility in the nation. This capability will establish northwestern Pennsylvania and the surrounding region as a global powerhouse for the design, development, and manufacturing of next-generation heavy-haul transportation equipment, bolstering the competitiveness of an industry in which Wabtec is a chief player.
In addition to industry-specific laboratory facilities, the Center will host a full-scale recycling line for manufacturer testing of an array of materials for their recyclability. As part of the recycling focus, the heat, carbon dioxide, and moisture from composted plastic waste will be used to grow food to be distributed to local food desert areas in a pilot lab called Plant-to-Plants. The lab will be developed to be replicable as a kit to any manufacturer wanting to capture carbon and give back in the form of food to their own communities disproportionately affected by plastic waste.