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Alum’s Senior Project Featured in Plastics Journal

The current issue of a prominent plastics-industry trade journal features the work of a recent Pennsylvania College of Technology graduate.

Thermoforming Quarterly, a journal of the thermoforming division of the Society of Plastics Engineers, devotes six pages to the senior project of Bryan T. Robinson, of Gilbertsville, a 2015 plastics & polymer engineering technology graduate.

Bryan T. Robinson
Bryan T. Robinson

Robinson’s project compared aluminum, a common tooling material in thermoforming, and HYVAC-LCM, a new composite material. Thermoforming is a plastics manufacturing process in which a plastic sheet is heated, placed over a mold and vacuumed to form the shape of the mold. Everyday thermoformed products include trays and clamshell packaging.

“I am very honored and proud to have my senior project published in a well-known magazine for the thermoforming industry,” said Robinson, who spent 140 hours on the endeavor. “It’s crazy to think that, when I started this project in 2014, I had no idea how much recognition it would gain.”

In addition to the Thermoforming Quarterly feature, CMT Materials Inc. presented Robinson’s findings at NPE2015: The International Plastics Showcase in Orlando, Florida, attended by more than 65,000 industry professionals. CMT, an Attleboro, Massachusetts-based designer and developer of thermoforming tooling materials, provided supplies for Robinson’s project.

“I couldn’t be prouder of Bryan,” said Kirk M. Cantor, professor of plastics & polymer technology and Robinson’s project mentor. “Senior projects require students to rely on their four years of coursework as a solid base and stretch that knowledge as they problem-solve and challenge themselves. Bryan fully embraced his project and deserves the recognition for his stellar work.”

Robinson is a research and development process engineer for Quadrant Engineering Plastic Products in Reading. Quadrant is a leading global manufacturer of high-performance thermoplastic materials in the form of semi-finished products and finished parts. Robinson works with customers on material applications and developing new formulations of plastics for specific applications or designs. He also processes some of his formulations in the company’s manufacturing plant.

“I’m not surprised at all by Bryan’s success,” said Timothy E. Weston, associate professor of plastics & polymer technology and department head. “From day one at the college, he showed tremendous dedication to the plastics field and enthusiasm for the variety of career opportunities that plastics presents. He distinguished himself here and will do the same in the plastics industry.”

A Dean’s List student, Robinson served as president of the Penn College SPE student chapter. He received the Plastics Pioneers Association Scholarship from the SPE Foundation, the Carrie Fox Solin Memorial Scholarship from the SPE Blow Molding Division and the Penn College Plastics Faculty Award.

“I am extremely grateful for my time at Penn College,” Robinson said. “I learned so much from my professors and peers. As a kid, I was always skilled working with anything mechanical, so working hands-on in the plastics labs at Penn College with real machines and materials really prepared me for my career and made learning enjoyable.”

Penn College is one of only five colleges in the nation offering plastics and polymer degree programs accredited by the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET. For more information on the majors, call 570-327-4520 or visit the School of Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies.

For general information about Penn College, a national leader in applied technology education and workforce development, email the Admissions Office or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

Robinson’s article (and an unrelated story in the same issue about the college’s Plastics Innovation & Resource Center): Thermoforming Quarterly