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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 02881
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

Reebok equipment donation to aid URI engineers

Lindberg furnace expands capabilities at Rapid Manufacturing Center

KINGSTON, R.I. -- July 12, 2000 -- Reebok has donated a high-temperature industrial furnace to the Rapid Manufacturing Center at the University of Rhode Island to expand the Center's metals processing research capabilities.

Less than two years old, the Lindberg furnace is used in the process of making molds for manufactured products. It can heat powdered metals up to 1200 degrees Centigrade to burn away polymer binding agents and sinter the metals together.

"To process metals at high temperatures, you need an inert gas around the metals," explained Brent Stucker, assistant professor of industrial and manufacturing engineering and director of the Center. "This furnace has the safety features necessary to allow us to use hydrogen in the process, which will contribute significantly to our research."

According to Stucker, the furnace will also increase the Center's production capacity, "since there are many times in our research that our other furnaces are full."

In addition to donating the Lindberg furnace, Reebok made a contribution to URI toward the cost of moving the furnace and installing it in the Rapid Manufacturing Center.

"This piece of machinery was the first in the footwear industry and contributed to the cutting edge of technology," said Paul Bates, director of the Advance Process and Engineering group for Reebok. "Reebok is delighted to be able to provide state-of-the-art technology to the University of Rhode Island to enhance the engineering students' experience."

"We are pleased that Reebok has recognized URI's leadership in manufacturing research and donated the Lindberg furnace to our Rapid Manufacturing Center," said Thomas Kim, dean of the URI College of Engineering. "It will provide our students with additional exposure to unique technologies and broaden our faculty's ability to develop new manufacturing processes."

The URI Rapid Manufacturing Center was established in 1998 to perform research aimed at decreasing the time required to go from product design to manufacture, and to transfer to industry the resultant knowledge and techniques.

Reebok International Ltd., headquartered in Canton, Mass., is a leading worldwide designer, marketer and distributor of sports, fitness and casual footwear, apparel and equipment. Principal operating units include the Reebok Division, the Rockport Company, Greg Norman and Ralph Lauren/Polo Sport/Footwear. Sales for 1999 totaled approximately $2.9 billion.

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For Further Information: Brent Stucker 874-5187, Todd McLeish 874-7892

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