WMU News

Fluid Process is second firm to commit to BTR

April 5, 2001

KALAMAZOO -- Fluid Process Equipment Inc., a Kalamazoo technical firm that custom engineers fluid handling systems for industry, will launch its expansion plans by becoming the second tenant in Western Michigan University's Business Technology and Research Park.

The company has signed a letter of intent to purchase 4.3 acres located near the park's entrance at Drake Road and Parkview Avenue, and plans to break ground for a new $1.5 million facility this spring. The 25,000-square-foot building, which will be built by Maverick Construction Co. of Kalamazoo, has been designed to accommodate future expansion of another 12,000 to 15,000 square feet.

Fluid Process is currently located at 841 Gibson St. and employs 24 people, including 18 in Kalamazoo. With expansion allowed by the new building, the fluid handling resource firm expects to hire an additional 10-13 people by the end of 2002.

"My hope is that by locating our company in the new park, we will increase our ability to do field testing in cooperation with the University's College of Engineering and Applied Sciences and expand our consulting and training functions," says D. Glyn Lake, president of Fluid Process. "Ultimately, this will bring new jobs to the community and increase the number of business visitors to the city."

Fluid Process is an engineering, consulting and marketing firm. Its sales engineers work with architects and engineers who are charged with selecting fluid handling equipment and designing spaces to accommodate that equipment. Client firms, which include both industrial customers and municipalities, are visited by Fluid Process engineers, who analyze needs, collect data and custom design systems using products from a variety of manufacturers, including Kalamazoo's Flowserve Corp.

The company modifies and re-engineers standard production pump systems to suit specific customer needs. The firm also conducts training seminars for industry. Company officials predict the training function will become an even greater focus at their new park location and they say a permanent training center will eventually become part of the facility.

"We'd like to work with equipment manufacturers to develop a training center where industry and academia can send personnel for experience in working with different pump configurations and sealing devices," Lake says. "We also would like to develop a research lab that would allow those who work with fluids a chance to experiment with new designs and ideas."

Among Fluid Process' clients are automotive, chemical, pharmaceutical, and pulp and paper firms as well as municipal wastewater treatment organizations. A number of Fluid Process-engineered pumps already are housed in WMU's Paper Pilot Plant in McCracken Hall and will be part of the paper and printing research facility the University is building at the Business Technology and Research Park. Fluid Process-engineered pumps also are currently used for research in the University's Tribology Laboratory.

Fluid Process is the second tenant for the 265-acre park that also will be home to WMU's new complex housing its College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. The park's first tenant, Richard-Allan Scientific Inc., announced its intention to build at the park late last year and also is scheduled to begin construction in the coming weeks.

Information on the new Fluid Process facility is scheduled to go to the City Planning Commission next week for inclusion on that body's public agenda in April.

The Business Technology and Research Park is intended to boost economic development in the region and increase collaboration among University researchers and industry. It has been approved by the city of Kalamazoo for such principal uses as: scientific or medical laboratories; engineering, testing or design facilities; prototype production for research and development purposes; processing and assembly of engineering, medical laboratory, scientific and research products; corporate headquarters, administrative or professional offices; and private schools or colleges, particularly those in trade and technical fields. The city also has approved a number of accessory and special uses for the park.

The park was announced in 1999 and, for the past year, extensive infrastructure work has been under way to prepare the site for both park tenants and the new engineering college complex.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 616 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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