AKJ Industries, an industry leader in dust control, freeze conditioning, alternative steel technologies and other fields, has announced that it is renewing its partnership with the Department of Mining Engineering at the University of Kentucky. The Fort Myers, Fla., based company initiated the partnership in 2010 with a graduate fellowship to support hands-on research that infuses dormant engineering techniques with new life.
“When AKJ Industries entered into this fellowship with the UK Department of Mining Engineering, we wanted to provide an opportunity for talented young people to enter an aging industry with a focus on meaningful research that can positively impact the mining industry,” said Jack Cranfill, vice president of special projects at AKJ Industries and 1971 UK alumnus. “The results have exceeded our expectations.”
Cranfill cited several projects that have originated from the partnership, such as a “dust chamber” for evaluating underground dust control, a wind tunnel for testing rail car dust control technology and a device that can cause spontaneous combustion for research to keep it from happening.
“These projects have resulted in significant improvements to existing technology currently used in the mining industry,” explained Cranfill. “The students involved in the program have learned a great deal from the process, and just as importantly, AKJ Industries’ personnel have learned from both the students and mining engineering faculty.”
Rick Honaker, chair of the Department of Mining Engineering, agreed that the past three years have been successful.
“Our partnership with AKJ Industries has demonstrated what is possible when a forward-thinking company engages with UK’s cutting-edge researchers and top students. I commend AKJ Industries’ desire to improve critical mining processes and am grateful that our work with them will continue.”
The partnership, which funds one graduate fellowship as well as research expenses, will continue through 2018.