Wrap Up Your Summer With ESD Tours

SOUTHFIELD — The dog days are drawing to a close, and it’s almost time for fall and back to school.

But The Engineering Society of Detroit still has a couple of summertime treats — a pair of fascinating engineering and technical tours over the next week.

Here are the details:

* Thursday, Aug. 20: Join ESD for an exclusive, members-only tour of the region’s newest engineering education showplace – the spectacular new 128,000-square-foot Oakland University Engineering Center. The five-story structure is the University’s new building for its School of Engineering and Computer Sciences which provides advanced technologies for academic engineering studies, while sustainable mechanical and electrical systems serve as hands-on learning tools for students. The $74.5 million building also includes a high-bay capstone lab, clean room, full service machine shop, and rooftop energy lab where students conduct experiments on solar and wind generation. A spectacular atrium lobby includes creatively designed nooks for study and small group meetings. Throughout the building are scattered small collaborative spaces that can be closed off or opened up in creative ways. The building is also open, with windows everywhere, including from classrooms and laboratories to interior hallways, offices and labs. The building also features many energy efficiency touches, and will apply for LEED Gold certification. Included are high-efficiency LED lighting with motion detectors in classrooms and laboratories, rainwater capture for landscaping irrigation, and onsite power generation — two 200-kilowatt natural gas-fired turbines. Registration and networking begin at 2 p.m., with the tour from 2:30 to 3:30.

* Thursday, Aug. 27: ESD tours Guardian Industries Corp.’s Float Glass Plant at 14600 Romine Road in Carleton. The afternoon will begin with registration and networking at 1:30 p.m. At about 1:45 there will be a brief presentation on the history of the plant, with the tour from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Please wear sturdy shoes (no sandals) and long pants. Safety goggles will be provided at the plant. And please note that it will be very warm inside the plant. Construction on the massive plant began in 1969. At the time, it was one of only a handful of float glass plants in the world. A revolutionary technology introduced in the United Kingdom in 1959, float glass is manufactured by pouring molten glass onto one end of a shallow “bath” of molten tin at about 2,000 degrees. The molten glass is shaped into a ribbon, and floats on the tin until it cools to about 1,100 degrees, cool enough to be taken up by rollers without marring the surface. At Guardian, raw materials — silica sand, soda ash, limestone and other ingredients — enter the furnace and are heated to 2,900 degrees. Then they’re poured onto the tin bath. At the end of the bath, the glass is carefully cooled through a temperature-controlled kiln called a lehr down to 125 degrees. Then the glass is further cooled by forced air, cut to customer-specific dimensions, and packed by employees and robotic arms for coating or direct shipment to customers.

ESD tours are $25 for ESD members. Nonmembers can join ESD for $75 (a 25 percent discount) and take the tour for free. (This offer is good for new, first-time members only.) For more information or to sign up for the tours, visit http://www.esd.org or contact Matt Roush, ESD Director of Communications and Public Relations, at (248) 353-0735, ext. 112.

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