Industrial studies classes take field excursions

April 23, 2013

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PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — Hands-on, practical application of coursework is something that is widely utilized at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville, particularly when there are opportunities and resources for students to see concepts or processes in action in a professional atmosphere. With this philosophy in mind, a field excursion was organized for three industrial studies classes recently. Introduction to Manufacturing, Metalcasting Technology II and Metallurgy and Joining Processes classes visited Kondex Corporation in Lomira, Wis., and Neenah Foundry in Neenah, Wis., to observe classroom concepts and how they apply to everyday manufacturing processes.

Kondex Corporation produces original equipment parts for agricultural and turf management equipment and Neenah Foundry is an iron foundry that produces municipal and industrial iron castings. Manhole covers are the most recognizable municipal castings that they produce.  

“Our purpose for the trip was two-fold,” said David Heimerdinger, senior lecturer for the department of industrial studies, who accompanied students on the trip. “We wanted our Introduction to Manufacturing class, which primarily consists of freshmen students, to be able to see the step-by-step manufacturing processes that we talk about in class. For our upper level classes that went, we wanted them to see firsthand how large-scale manufacturing companies operate.”

At both companies, students received an overview of the company and the manufacturing processes used at each facility. Students then took a tour of each facility and attended a question and answer session in which various employees of the corporations were present, including engineers, metallurgists and the vice-president of operations. A few of the employees giving tours were graduates of the UW-Platteville industrial studies program and are now working in various capacities within Neenah Foundry.

In addition, Neenah Foundry presented the group with a $10,000 donation for the manufacturing technology management–metals program to promote metalcasting.

“We have had a long, professional relationship with Neenah Foundry, and we would like to recognize them for their continued support,” said Dr. Kyle Metzloff, professor of the Metalcasting Technology II and Metallurgy and Joining Processes classes. “Trips like these give students a better idea of which field they wish to pursue after graduation so they know what types of jobs to apply for. It is a way for them not only to see what job opportunities are out there, but also to see what that job is like in actuality.”

Metzloff encourages any students who are interested in future excursions to attend meetings of the UW-Platteville chapter of the American Foundry Society, which generally attends about 15 tours per year.

“Field excursions allow students to take what they learned in class and combine it with what they see so that they can understand why it is important,” said Heimerdinger. “In addition, when we bring up new concepts in class, it can be easier for them to visualize the material because they have seen the processes firsthand.”

Contact: David Heimerdinger, industrial studies, (608) 342-1380,;
Kyle Metzloff, industrial studies, (608) 342-1142,

Written by: Angela O’Brien, UW-Platteville Office of University Information and Communications, (608) 342-1194,

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