Product Development Center gives LSSU students real-world work experience

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A unique lab at Lake Superior State University puts engineering students to work for economic development.

LSSU's Product Development Center, or PDC, works with clients around the state to develop production systems and equipment.

Eric Becks is an engineering project manager in the PDC.

"What we do at the PDC is perform engineering services for clients, and it's typically at sort of a bare-bones cost, because we're able to use students in the process.  And the whole idea behind this is to get our students real-world experience."

Becks says students at the PDC recently developed an automated production system for producing gun sights.  The client for that project was the Escanaba-based gun manufacturer Marble Arms.

According to Becks, the PDC's work enabled Marble Arms to increase gun-sight production.

"With this machine available, they didn't really displace anyone.  And in fact, I think they had to hire four more people to work the machines that generate the parts to feed this machine."

Becks says the PDC helps businesses by providing cost-effective service, while offering students practical experience.

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