News: Automated Manufacturing & Machining

SMART Money’s on Problem-Solvers at Innovative Summer Camp

A participant checks progress on a 3-D printed elephant toy.

A participant checks progress on a 3-D printed elephant toy.

A member of the business Sirens of Sound explains to mentors a smartphone speaker developed by her company during the Wildcat Den Showcase.

A member of the business Sirens of Sound explains to mentors a smartphone speaker developed by her company during the Wildcat Den Showcase.

Cell phone kickstands and charms were among team Copy, Paste, Print’s products.

Cell phone kickstands and charms were among team Copy, Paste, Print’s products.

A participant shows her team’s solution to a broken camera tripod.

A participant shows her team’s solution to a broken camera tripod.

A team shows off samples of 3-D printed toys, part of its week’s work.

A team shows off samples of 3-D printed toys, part of its week’s work.

Penn College’s annual SMART Girls summer camp attracted 34 high schoolers from across Pennsylvania, some with a strong interest in science, math, engineering or technology, and others just beginning to explore those options. During the four-day camp, the girls used additive manufacturing to solve problems – like creating replacement parts for broken consumer products and designing connectors to build structures out of plastic straws. They also used their newly honed computer-aided design and 3-D printing skills to develop a product line, supported by a business plan, resume and trade-show booth. All were used to pitch “investors,” the camp’s mentors, during the “Wildcat Den Showcase,” a SMART Girls take on television’s “Shark Tank.” SMART Girls – Science and Math Applications in Real-World Technologies for Girls – was implemented by Penn College to reverse the trend of girls to shy away from math and science courses and the rewarding, family-sustaining careers that use those skills. The camp, which also included career interest assessments and company tours, was facilitated by the college’s Outreach for K-12 Office. Mentors were Eric K. Albert, associate professor of machine tool technology/automated manufacturing at Penn College; Tom Gill, a science teacher at Central Columbia High School; Christina L. Herman, director of student services and career development for Loyalsock Township School District; and Alice S. Justice, school counselor at Central Columbia Middle School. Camp director was Tanya Berfield, project and data reporting technician in Outreach for K-12.

Five Penn College Students Earn Gold Medals at SkillsUSA Nationals

Penn College's five medal-winners are joined by their faculty mentors and two teammates who also competed at SkillsUSA nationals.

Penn College’s five medal-winners are joined by their faculty mentors and two teammates who also competed at SkillsUSA nationals.

Five students from Pennsylvania College of Technology earned first-place medals during the 51st annual National SkillsUSA Conference, held June 22-26 in Louisville, Kentucky. Bringing home the gold – and bringing to 40 the number of top Penn College winners in national competition over the years – were Matthew R. Harman Jr., of Sellersville, Randall J. Haynes, of Julian, and Ian M. Dorman, of Mill Hall, who competed as a team in the Automated Manufacturing Technology category; Kyle T. Potts, of Colver, Technical Drafting; and Bradley L. Hayden, of Milton, Vermont, Welding. Watch PCToday for more on the students’ success.
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Penn College Students Earn Industry Certifications

Pennsylvania College of Technology students representing seven different majors recently proved their mastery of computer aided drafting and design software programs by passing certification exams.

Fifty-two students successfully completed the Certified SolidWorks Associate exam and one student earned Autodesk Inventor Professional certification. SolidWorks and Autodesk Inventor are industry-standard 3-D parametric software programs used primarily within the engineering drafting and design profession.

“Two years ago, we completely revised our curriculum to closely align with current industry standards and technology,” said J.D. Mather, assistant professor of engineering design technology. “Our enrollment in the engineering design program has substantially increased since these changes were made. This year, we more than doubled the number of students who successfully completed the exams. I am very pleased with the increase in certified users. The certification is an external validation that our curriculum is meeting industry standards.”

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Benton Foundry Endows Scholarship at Penn College

From left, Elizabeth A. Biddle, director of corporate relations at Penn College, and members of the Hall family who have owned Benton Foundry for nearly 60 years: Kimberly Kindler, JoAnn Hall and Jeff Hall, company president.

A family-owned business spanning three generations is making a financial commitment to the next generation of Pennsylvania College of Technology students.

Benton Foundry Inc. recently endowed a scholarship, mainly for students in the School of Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies.

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Students ‘Ramp Up’ Production, Delivering in Advance of Derby Day

Myers, Matson-Warner and Mullner (from left) attach the ramp's trigger mechanism Thursday morning.

Myers, Matson-Warner and Mullner (from left) attach the ramp’s trigger mechanism Thursday morning.

Surveying with pride their know-how and craftsmanship, the students are joined by faculty member Troup (second from right).

Surveying with pride their know-how and craftsmanship, the students are joined by faculty member Troup (second from right).

Matson-Warner demonstrates the starting ramp's ease of use, sending two cars on a brief parking-lot jaunt. (The maiden run was coincidentally witnessed by school dean David R. Cotner, who readily expressed his pride in the project results.)

Matson-Warner demonstrates the starting ramp’s ease of use, sending two cars on a brief parking-lot jaunt. (The maiden run was coincidentally witnessed by school dean David R. Cotner, who readily expressed his pride in the project results.)

When competitors in Saturday’s Williamsport Soap Box Derby are launched down Market Street, precision Penn College handiwork will ensure a consistent start in their dash to the finish. Answering a request from event organizers, four students from the School of Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies formulated and built the ramp that will send racers on their speedy descent from Brandon Park to Little League Boulevard. “I supervised and answered questions when they had them,” said Howard W. Troup, maintenance mechanic/millwright, “but this was entirely designed and custom-made by students.” After the college (a derby co-sponsor) was provided with official specifications, which mainly asked that the ramp’s release and reset mechanism be handily operated by a seated volunteer, Troup turned the project over to Matthew J. Horner, of Marion, an automated manufacturing technology major who earned an associate degree in automotive technology last year. Working from Horner’s blueprints and making modifications as appropriate, three others – Robert W. Myers, of Montoursville, a manufacturing engineering technology major; Michael B. Mullner, of Kendall, New Jersey, enrolled in machine tool technology; and John I. Matson-Warner, of South Williamsport, who majors in welding and fabrication engineering technology – fashioned a nearly 7-foot-wide aluminum ramp that is as aesthetic as it is functional. More lightweight and portable than its rigid steel predecessor, the ramp includes bubble levels and scissor jacks on both sides to avoid misalignment and to effect a uniform start in the scores of head-to-head races throughout the day. “And we used bronze bushings, so it should last 100 years,” Troup added. (Two winners in the weekend race, a local tradition revived in 2010, will go on to compete at the national level in Akron, Ohio.) Soap Box Derby officials are picking up the ramp on Friday morning, and, with a commendable nod toward quality control and customer service, the students plan to be at the starting line at 6 a.m. Saturday for installation and to make sure that volunteers understand its operation.

Manufacturing Students Compete at International Baja Competition

Penn College team members proudly surround their car during Baja SAE in Mechanicsville, Md. Penn College competed against 96 other teams from the United States and eight other countries.

They didn’t bring home a trophy, but a contingent of talented Pennsylvania College of Technology manufacturing students returned from an international competition with a winning experience.

Five months of the students’ intensive outside-of-class work culminated at the recent Baja SAE in Mechanicsville, Maryland. The four-day Society of Automotive Engineers event tasked students with designing and building an off-road, single-seat vehicle to complete various performance tests.

In the overall standings, Penn College finished 38th out of 97 teams from the United States, Canada, Brazil, Egypt, India, Mexico, South Korea, Venezuela and the United Arab Emirates. The college’s best showing was a seventh-place finish in the suspension event.

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3-D Printers Build Penn College Students’ Expertise

3-D printing is much more than a buzz term at Penn College. The printers are a reality for students, who long have engaged in additive manufacturing in the School of Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies. “They are driving the car instead of just looking at it from a distance in the showroom,” says Eric K. Albert, associate professor of machine tool technology/automated manufacturing, in a video added to the college’s YouTube Channel. “A number of our students are actually directly hired into a company because they can, in fact, either work in an already set-up environment or set one up themselves.”

Faculty Trio Receives ‘Excellence in Teaching’ Awards

Pennsylvania College of Technology bestowed Excellence in Teaching Awards upon three faculty members during commencement ceremonies held May 15-16 at the Community Arts Center in Williamsport.

As part of the Distinguished Teaching Awards program, Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour presented Excellence in Teaching Awards to Roy H. Klinger, instructor of collision repair; Charles R. Niedermyer II, instructor of baking and pastry arts/culinary arts; and John G. Upcraft, instructor of machine tool technology/automated manufacturing.

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Video Details Manufacturing Students’ Creation of Battery Pack

Penn College manufacturing engineering technology students Brian J. Pernot and Bryce L. Kuszmaul have spent the past year constructing, impressively from scratch, an intricate battery pack intended for lithium batteries and an electric car. The project – featured in a video added to the college’s YouTube Channel – was exciting and challenging, and serves as a real-world template for the pair. “It’s going to give them a jump on what they’re really going to be doing when they graduate from here and enter the workforce,” said Howard W. Troup, maintenance mechanic/millwright at the college.

Eight Penn College Students Headed for SkillsUSA Nationals

Eight first-place winners from Pennsylvania College of Technology have advanced to the 51st annual National SkillsUSA Conference, to be held from June 22-26 in Kentucky.

Five other students from the college finished in the top four places in a variety of categories during the SkillsUSA Pennsylvania Leadership and Skills Conference held April 8-10 in Hershey.

“The students did very well representing the college. It was the first time competing for some of the students, but they will be back next year for another go-around,” said James N. Colton II, assistant professor of welding and the college’s SkillsUSA adviser. “Many of the students advancing have been to nationals before, either as a college competitor or when they were in high school. We’re looking forward to the change of venue, as nationals will be in Louisville instead of Kansas City.”

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Software Donation Enhances Manufacturing Curriculum

A recent donation of computer-aided manufacturing software is enhancing the education of Pennsylvania College of Technology students.

SolidCAM has provided a one-year, 75-seat license for the college’s manufacturing majors. The software is an add-on to SolidWorks, a prominent 3-D design and analysis program used for the development of parts and assemblies for manufacturing products.

With SolidCAM, users have the ability to create tool paths and computer-numerical-control code to produce parts in CNC machines.

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Original Equipment Manufacturer Sponsoring College Baja Team

Acero Precision representatives present a $2,000 donation in support of the Penn College student chapter of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers’ entry in the upcoming Baja SAE competition. From left, are Joanne Fitzgerald, director of human capital for Acero Precision; Clinton R. Bettner, of Beaver Falls, Baja team captain; James A. Depasquale, of Simsbury, Connecticut, president of the SME Penn College chapter; John G. Upcraft, instructor of automated manufacturing and machining and the students’ adviser; and Michael Fitzgerald, president/CEO of Acero Precision.

An industry-leading original equipment manufacturer is supporting the quest of Pennsylvania College of Technology manufacturing students to succeed at an international competition.

Acero Precision recently donated $2,000 to sponsor the college’s student chapter of the Society of Manufacturing Engineers and its entry in this spring’s Baja SAE. The Society of Automotive Engineers competition requires students to design and build an off-road vehicle to be tested in various categories.

“The sponsorship is huge. I’m ecstatic about it,” said John G. Upcraft, instructor of automated manufacturing and machining and the students’ adviser. “The students initiated the drive for sponsorship, and now we are seeing the benefit of that.”

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Seminar Augments Manufacturing Students’ Industry Perspective

Chris Washinger, a cutting tool applications engineer for Iscar Metals, talks with students during a seminar in the automated manufacturing lab.

Manufacturing students at Pennsylvania College of Technology supplemented their classroom and extensive hands-on lab work by attending a recent seminar at the institution.

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Tree Decorations Honor Penn College’s Military Family

Student veterans – along with supportive friends from the Financial Aid, Admissions and Registrar’s offices at Penn College – pause for a photo during the tree’s decoration.

A seasonal accent to Pennsylvania College of Technology’s main entrance has gift-wrapped an opportunity for the institution to recognize its military family. A 25-foot-tall tree pays tribute to the students and employees who are veterans.

The Vanderwolf blue limber pine is adorned with 408 stars, fashioned by servicemen enrolled in the School of Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies. The stars honor the 373 students and 35 employees who have identified themselves as veterans.

“We want to show all the veterans in the Penn College family that we are thinking about them,” said Chester M. Beaver, the college’s veterans affairs coordinator. “We also want the community to know how many veterans are on campus. By seeing the large number of stars on the tree, we hope people understand that veterans are an important part of the college community.”

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Middle School Students Explore STEM Careers at Penn College

Penn College student Brian J. Pernot, who is studying manufacturing engineering technology, shows Williamsport Area Middle School students the workings of automated manufacturing on a Haas computer-numeric-controlled vertical machining center.

Participants in the Williamsport Area Middle School After-School Program are again spending one afternoon each week at Pennsylvania College of Technology, where college employees help them explore careers in science, technology, engineering and math.

In addition to hands-on career-exploration activities in the college’s high-technology classrooms and labs, the college arranges for participants to visit STEM-focused businesses in the Williamsport area.

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