The Department of Sustainable Biomaterials’ rapidly expanding packaging systems and design program benefitted from a recent donation of ArtiosCAD and Studio suite software from Esko-Graphics, a global supplier of integrated solutions for printing, finishing, and publishing

ArtiosCAD, one of the most common packaging design software programs in the country, is used by thousands of professionals, including packaging designers, sample makers, and die makers. Its layout and tooling design features are optimized for the production equipment currently used in manufacturing. Students’ access to ArtiosCAD — the gift included 40 licenses to accommodate increased student interest — gives them an edge when applying for jobs and allows the college to implement more competitive programs and curricula.

“The packaging community is an extremely vital part of our company’s existence and future,” said Larry Moore, vice president of Esko’s North American Partner Programs. “Esko is dedicated to the education and development of the future leaders of this great industry. We feel our partnership with Virginia Tech is a vital aspect of the development and strength of this industry moving forward.”

Assistant Professor Laszlo Horvath, director of the Center for Packaging and Unit Load Design, incorporated the Studio suite software into his Computer-Aided Design in Packaging course. “The software package provides a great opportunity for us to teach packaging design from the concept idea to final production,” Horvath said.

Professor Robert Bush used the ArtiosCAD software for a project in his fall 2012 Principles of Packaging course in which students developed packaging or bicycle helmets. “The project is more than a package,” Bush said. “It represents learning with both mind and hands. I believe that this is an effective and empowering combination for students.”

In addition to the software donation, the college received three pieces of equipment in support of the packaging systems and design program: a polariscope from AGR International and two sample cutting tables, one from the International Corrugated Packaging Foundation and the other from Gerber Innovations. The tables, which can be used to cut products like paperboard, corrugated fiberboard, reboard, and various foam materials, will enable students and faculty to produce the designs they develop using the ArtiosCAD software. The polariscope, which is used to detect stress in glass and polymer products, will be used by both students and researchers.

“These generous donations enable our students to gain experience with state-of-the-art software and equipment that is central to the packaging industry,” said department head Bob Smith. “Our curriculum stays current because we are using cutting-edge technology. Our students gain real- world experience that they will readily leverage upon graduation.”