Web handling is the science of moving a web as quickly and reliably as possible. But where did that science come from? Who studied the web processes in order to develop hypothesis about their behavior? Who ran trials to validate their hypothesis? Who identified the mathematical relationships that describe the behavior of webs?
John Shelton is the first person who identified what we now refer to as web handling in his seminal 1967 Master’s thesis. Who was his advisor? Karl Reid. Do you know who Karl Reid is? Have you ever heard of Oklahoma State University’s Web Handling Research Center?
The WHRC is an Industry / University Cooperative Research Center that was first established in 1986. They are the only center of its type in the world. They have been focused on expanding the knowledge base in web handling and transferring that information to their industrial sponsors and others that are concerned about web handling.
How did the WHRC come about, you may ask? John Shelton worked at Fife Corp. His manager was Bruce Feiertag. John wanted to pursue a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering to better understand the products that Fife made. Bruce sponsored him to do so. John’s thesis advisor was Karl Reid. John, with Karl’s guidance, identified the first and second laws of web handling. The idea for the WHRC came about when Bruce Feiertag told Karl that there was a great need in industry to study this new field. Bruce provided a list of companies who would be interested. John wrote the basis for what this new center would study. Karl Reid led the effort to establish the WHRC as a National Science Foundation Center (I/UCRC).
At the time, Karl was the department head of OSU’s School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. He later became the Dean of the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology. He served in that role for more than 25 years. During this tenure Karl nurtured the growth of the WHRC. He brought faculty into the WHRC such as Keith Good, Prabhakar Pagilla, and Ron Markum to drive the technology to new heights. Karl began the rich tradition to host the first International Web Handling Conference “IWEB” in 1991.
In two months, the 15th IWEB will be held on June 10-13, 2019. Who will be leading the conference? Karl Reid.
I have the rich honor to say that I know Karl Reid and have benefited greatly from what he has provided to industry. If you have the opportunity to participate at IWEB 15, please make a point to shake Karl’s hand and thank him for his tireless efforts.
Neal Michal - firstname.lastname@example.org