Virginia's Philpott Manufacturing Extension Partnership (VPMEP) and the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) announce the first contract for the Advanced and Applied Polymer Processing Institute (AAPPI) involving commercially-sponsored, university research for a Southside company, Applied Felts, Inc. of Martinsville.

The collaborative project involves VPMEP's Bill Donohue and Virginia Tech Research Associate Professor and AAPPI Director Ron Moffitt working in conjunction with Applied Felts' Charles Mattox and Mark Sanders. VPMEP and the AAPPI will provide the necessary engineering and technical expertise to provide Applied Felts with the ability to determine, evaluate, develop, and design suitable new bonding processes for felt to felt and thermoplastic polyurethane outer layer bonding construction.

"This project is an exciting example of technology transfer to industry," says Jeff Kohler, Executive Director for VPMEP. "Progressive clients like Applied Felts greatly benefit from advanced research and expertise. This was made possible through our expanding collaboration with Virginia Tech and the IALR to bridge the gap between current industrial capabilities and future innovation required to compete globally."

The AAPPI's advanced polymer testing and research infrastructure provides Southside's industries, like Applied Felts, with facilities utilizing state-of-the-art equipment and polymer processing expertise.

AAPPI Director Ron Moffitt expressed his excitement about the Applied Felts contract. "This Applied Felts, Inc. sponsored research project is a key milestone in the AAPPI research and technology transfer mission, constituting the first of several research relationships the AAPPI will cultivate with regional polymer industries," said Moffitt. "Moreover, the AAPPI's partnership with VPMEP in securing this commercially funded project demonstrates how our two organizations can provide an effective mechanism for technology transfer to the polymer industries in the Southside region aimed at economic development and the creation of new opportunities for the area."

Applied Felts, Inc. is the first private firm to contract with an IALR research center. This relationship represents an important milestone in the history of IALR, and serves to illustrate the economic impact that IALR research will have on the Southside region.

General Manager Charlie Mattox is eager for the project to begin at Applied Felts. "I am very excited about this research project," adds Mattox. "I have searched several years for the proper avenue to accomplish the work being undertaken. The resources of both VPMEP and AAPPI are a perfect fit to assist Applied Felts in improving our processes and ultimately our bottom line. The IALR offers companies in Southside significant capabilities and will prove to be a tremendous asset to the region."

"This contract represents an important relationship for Applied Felts, VPMEP and the AAPPI," said Timothy V. Franklin, Executive Director of IALR. "It also signals the value that AAPPI and the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research can and will bring to small and medium sized companies in Southside who wish to partner in developing technologies to strengthen their businesses. Charlie Mattox, Bill Donohue and Ron Moffitt deserve credit for their vision in moving this project forward at this time."

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