News: Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies

Plastics Workshop Proves Popular to Industry Professionals

At left, Christopher J. Gagliano, program manager for the Thermoforming Center of Excellence at Penn College, watches lab assistant Jacob W. Fry evaluate the wall thickness of a container produced in the thermoforming lab.

Summer is anything but vacation time for the Plastics Innovation & Resource Center at Pennsylvania College of Technology. The PIRC recently hosted 34 industry professionals from 10 states and Canada for its Sixth Annual National Hands-On Thin-Gauge/Roll-Fed Thermoforming Workshop.

The three-day course featured presentations from industry experts and hands-on sessions focusing on materials testing and operating and troubleshooting thermoforming equipment.

“It’s rewarding that this annual workshop attracts a variety of top experts and professionals from the plastics industry,” said Christopher J. Gagliano, PIRC program and technical service manager. “The interest in the workshop is a testament to our talented staff and the excellent facilities we enjoy at Penn College.”

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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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Penn College Professors Present at National Conference

Faculty presenters

Two Pennsylvania College of Technology faculty members shared their expertise with an international audience by presenting at the recent COMMON Annual Meeting and Exposition in Anaheim, California.

Both Lisa R. Bock and Anita R. Wood, assistant professors of computer information technology, made two presentations during the four-day conference, which is COMMON’s premier educational event of the year. COMMON is the world’s largest professional association of IBM technology users and is dedicated to uniting the Power Systems community.

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Imagination, Real-World Possibilities Merge at Digital Future Camp

Matthew A. Bamonte (right) who graduated last month with a bachelor's degree in information technology sciences-gaming and simulation, assists a young camper with his question.

Matthew A. Bamonte (right) who graduated last month with a bachelor’s degree in information technology sciences-gaming and simulation, assists a young camper with his question.

Young campers learn how to program simulation on a Lego robot.

Young campers learn how to program simulation on a Lego robot.

Apps are where it's at! A group of campers learns how to develop mobile applications under the tutelage of Spyke M. Krepshaw, instructor of computer information technology.

Apps are where it’s at! A group of campers learns how to develop mobile applications under the tutelage of Spyke M. Krepshaw, instructor of computer information technology.

A study in concentration

A study in concentration

Campers and their mentors pause for a group shot in front of the ATHS after lunch on their final day.

Campers and their mentors pause for a group shot in front of the ATHS after lunch on their final day.

Forty high school students from across Pennsylvania explored potential careers in Penn College’s fourth annual “Designing a Digital Future Camp” on Tuesday and Wednesday. The campers, entering 10th, 11th or 12th grade this fall, embraced the boundless employment possibilities of gaming, Web design, product design, mobile applications and graphic design during hands-on workshops in the Breuder Advanced Technology and Health Sciences Center and the Bush Campus Center. The popular camp, one of a number offered on campus this summer, is a collaboration of the School of Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies and the School of Sciences, Humanities & Visual Communications.

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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PPL Corp. Donates $3,000 to College’s Electrical Technology Program

Teri MacBride (left), PPL’s regional affairs director, presents a $3,000 check to Elizabeth A. Biddle, Penn College’s director of corporate relations.

A $3,000 donation from PPL Corp. will benefit students in Pennsylvania College of Technology’s various electrical majors.

Teri MacBride, PPL’s regional affairs director, recently presented the check to the college’s Institutional Advancement Office for use in the School of Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies’ Electrical Technology Program.

“PPL has been a generous supporter of Penn College for years in a variety of ways, including annual cash gifts and in-kind donations,” said Elizabeth A. Biddle, the college’s director of corporate relations. “We appreciate the continued support for students and program with this donation.”

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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.

Thermoforming Center of Excellence Again Hosts National Audience

Christopher J. Gagliano (in front of equipment), program manager for the PIRC’s Thermoforming Center of Excellence at Penn College, leads a lab tour during a May workshop for industry professionals.

Plastics employees from five states were schooled by industry experts and campus professionals when the Plastics Innovation & Resource Center at Pennsylvania College of Technology held its sixth annual Heavy-Gauge/Cut-Sheet Thermoforming workshop in May.

The three-day course offered enlightening classroom presentations from several industry luminaries, as well as numerous hands-on sessions that covered operation and troubleshooting of thermoforming equipment, materials testing and introduction to new mold-making materials.

“Year after year, it is good to see that many companies across the country continue to invest in their employees and see the value in attending our workshops,” said Christopher J. Gagliano, program manager, Thermoforming Center of Excellence.

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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.”

Plastics Professionals Converge on Penn College Campus

Aided by student Madison T. Powell (left), a part-time Plastics Innovation & Resource Center research assistant, Gary E. McQuay (right), PIRC engineering manager, preps attentive participants for the hands-on portion of the workshop.

The renowned Plastics Innovation & Resource Center at Pennsylvania College of Technology extended its expertise to plastics professionals throughout the country by hosting the seventh annual Hands-On Rotational Molding & Advanced Materials Workshop earlier this month.

With support from the Association of Rotational Molders and the Society of Plastics Engineers Rotational Molding Division, the PIRC’s workshop brought 31 individuals to campus, representing various sectors of the plastics industry and 11 states.

“It was tremendous to host diverse plastics professionals from throughout the country for this year’s workshop,” said Gary E. McQuay, PIRC engineering manager. “Attracting such talent on an annual basis speaks to the high quality of both the workshop and our plastics facilities at Penn College.”

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Peggy Madigan Scholarship Awarded to Jersey Shore Student

Sapphire Naugle is awarded the 2015 Peggy Madigan Memorial Leadership Scholarship by state Sen. Gene Yaw (left) and Robb Dietrich, executive director of the Penn College Foundation. Naugle, a senior at Jersey Shore Area High School, will be a plastics and polymer engineering technology major at Penn College starting this fall.

A Jersey Shore Area High School student was presented with the 2015-16 Peggy Madigan Memorial Leadership Scholarship at Pennsylvania College of Technology.

Sapphire Naugle, of Jersey Shore, will enroll in the plastics and polymer engineering technology baccalaureate major at Penn College for Fall 2015.

The scholarship – named in memory of the late wife of former state Sen. Roger A. Madigan, who represented the 23rd District – may be used to help defray the costs of tuition, fees, books, tools and other required supplies. Applicants are required to write an essay describing the community service they have performed and the value that service has added to the community.

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Welding Students Bring ‘Student Bodies’ to Life in YouTube Video

Following the lead of metal sculptor and welding instructor Michael K. Patterson, welding majors at Penn College employed their skills to create “Student Bodies,” abstract human forms that line the main campus mall. The project, one of three outdoor art installations dedicated during the college’s 2014 Centennial celebration, is chronicled in a new YouTube video. “The school obviously gives us a lot. A lot of skills. A lot of stuff we can take out into the world,” says Peter K. Ptacek,  a welding and fabrication engineering technology major from Lewisburg. “It’s just really nice to be able to leave something behind.”

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