News about PIRC

State Senate Appropriations Committee chair tours campus

Always engaged and advocating for the college, Yaw (right) converses with Browne in the atrium of the Breuder Advanced Technology & Health Sciences Center.

State Sen. Patrick M. Browne, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, visited Pennsylvania College of Technology on Thursday.

Browne, who represents the 16th District – which includes Allentown and other municipalities within Lehigh County – came to campus after presenting an election and legislative update at a breakfast sponsored by the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce.

He was invited by fellow Appropriations Committee member Sen. Gene Yaw, who also serves as chairman of the Penn College Board of Directors. Yaw also hosted the Chamber legislative update event, held at the Genetti Hotel in Williamsport.

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Penn College plastics students network, compete at conference

Wagner prepares to race the college’s entry during the RC Car Competition at the 26th Annual SPE Thermoforming Conference in Fort Worth, Texas.

Networking with industry leaders and participating in a remote-controlled car contest highlighted the activities of a trio of Pennsylvania College of Technology plastics students at the 26th  Annual SPE Thermoforming Conference in Fort Worth, Texas.

Conducted by the Thermoforming Division of the Society of Plastics Engineers, the conference attracted over 70 exhibitors and offered several technical workshops. Thermoforming refers to the practice of heating a thermoplastic sheet until pliable and – by use of a vacuum – forming the sheet into a three-dimensional shape.

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Dream Matches Real-World Need Addressed by Penn College

For a class assignment, 9-year-old Trevin Allen described his dream of working in plastics at SEKISUI SPI with his father, Lucas, a graduate of Pennsylvania College of Technology. Trevin’s mature goals prompted an invitation from the college, where he experienced various facets of applied technology. From left are Shannon M. Munro, vice president for workforce development; Tom F. Gregory, associate vice president for instruction; and Trevin and Lucas Allen.

The dreams of many 9-year-olds transform them into adult superstars. What kid hasn’t dreamed of making the pivotal play to win the big game, belting out a tune to adoring fans or basking under the bright lights of Hollywood?

Trevin Allen.

No disrespect to athletes, rock stars and actors, but the fourth-grader’s dream – described for a class assignment – actually matches reality’s need: a need addressed by Pennsylvania College of Technology.

Trevin’s aspirations connect applied technology education to rewarding careers in the skilled workforce, which is grappling with a shortage of qualified professionals. His words are timely and impactful beyond his classroom at Bloomsburg Memorial Elementary School.

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Be Smart, Rule the World

A group from New Covenant Academy in Mansfield makes final adjustments to its wearable back massager during a STEM Design Challenge hosted by BLaST Intermediate Unit 17 in the college’s Field House.

From the Fall 2018 Penn College Magazine: To prepare the next generation for the jobs of the future, make them curious about how things work, faculty experts say. Read “Be Smart, Rule the World.”

Attendees Add to Toolkit at Heavy-Gauge Thermoforming Workshop

Program manager Christopher J. Gagliano (left) conducts a laboratory session in the Plastics Innovation & Resource Center's Thermoforming Center of Excellence.

The Plastics Innovation & Resource Center at Pennsylvania College of Technology recently hosted 11 industry professionals from six states for its Ninth Annual National Hands-On Heavy-Gauge/Sheet-Fed Thermoforming Workshop.

The three-day program featured presentations from renowned experts and hands-on instruction in forming, trimming, assembly, techniques, materials, tooling, diagnostics, and machine maintenance and safety.

“The PIRC provides a unique opportunity to present both theory and practice in heavy-gauge thermoforming by allowing the participants to use their classroom instruction on a state-of-the-art former,” said keynoter James “Jay” M. Waddell, from Plastics Concepts & Innovations LLC. “Participants were able to use multiple forming techniques and learned how to adjust the equipment to achieve the best results.”

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Plastics Professionals Sharpen Skills at Penn College

The Ninth Annual National Hands-On Thin-Gauge/Roll-Fed Thermoforming Workshop at Penn College offered a mix of classroom and lab sessions for 33 participants, who learned from keynote instructor Mark Strachan, college faculty and staff, and guest speakers.

The latest training initiative offered by the Plastics Innovation & Resource Center at Pennsylvania College of Technology advanced the skills of plastics professionals representing a dozen companies, eight states and Canada.

The Ninth Annual National Hands-On Thin-Gauge/Roll-Fed Thermoforming Workshop offered a mix of classroom and lab sessions for the 33 participants, who learned from keynote instructor Mark Strachan, Penn College faculty and staff, and guest speakers.

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Plastics Professionals Converge on Penn College Campus

The 20th Annual Extrusion Seminar & Hands-On Workshop at Penn College’s Plastics Innovation & Resource Center attracted a group of industry professionals representing 28 companies in 11 states and Kuwait.

Plastics industry professionals representing 28 companies, 11 states and Kuwait enhanced their knowledge at the 20th Annual Extrusion Seminar & Hands-On Workshop at Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Plastics Innovation & Resource Center.

Forty participants attended the three-day session led by extrusion experts Chris Rauwendaal and Kirk M. Cantor. President of Rauwendaal Extrusion Engineering Inc. in Auburn, California, Rauwendaal has more than 40 years of industry experience. Cantor, a professor of plastics and polymer technology at Penn College, has taught extrusion for 30-plus years.

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Rotomolding Pros Share Perspective at Hands-On Workshop

Participants in the 10th annual Hands-On Rotational Molding and Advanced Materials Workshop take turns in Penn College’s polymer testing lab with Noah L. Martin (in checked shirt), of South Williamsport, a student and Plastics Innovation & Resource Center research assistant.

Marking a decade of intensive staff development for rotational-molding professionals, Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Plastics Innovation & Resource Center recently hosted more than two dozen employees in another of its renowned industry conferences.

A total of 27 people from 15 companies – representing eight states and Alberta, Canada – attended the 10th annual Hands-On Rotational Molding and Advanced Materials Workshop on the college’s main campus on May 22-23.

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Cornfield Brainstorm Leads to Student’s Success in Plastics

An entrepreneurial idea spurred Anthony P. Wagner, of Williamsport, to pursue a bachelor’s degree in plastics and polymer engineering technology at Penn College.

Lying for hours in a cut cornfield waiting for unsuspecting waterfowl to become inviting prey gives a person plenty of time to think. Granted, the brown remnants of the fall’s harvest and gray morning sky aren’t typical ingredients for inspiration. But for Anthony P. Wagner, the setting was the birthplace of a dream.

A dream that requires him to trade his binoculars for safety glasses and camouflage for blue jeans.

The avid hunter is aiming for a rewarding future in the plastics industry. Thanks to his education at Pennsylvania College of Technology and proactive networking, Wagner is on target for career success.

“I honestly love plastics,” Wagner said. “I didn’t know what to expect when I enrolled. I knew I had an end goal and needed this education to reach that goal. It’s been quite the rollercoaster ride for me. It’s been awesome.”

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Magazine Touts PIRC’s Contribution to Statewide Workforce

Penn College’s renowned Plastics Innovation & Resource Center, which incorporates hands-on learning across the industry’s varied production processes, is featured in the online Keystone Edge magazine. The article by news editor Elise Vider – headlined “At Penn College, Plastics Provide a Path to Success” – includes a Q&A with Shannon Munro, vice president for workforce development.

Plastics Professionals Converge on Penn College Campus

Mark Strachan (in green shirt), senior technology director for First Quality Packaging Solutions in West Palm Beach, Florida, and former chairman of the Society of Plastics Engineers Thermoforming Division, reviews results of a temperature change with participants at the Eighth Annual National Hands-On Thin-Gauge/Roll-Fed Thermoforming Workshop at Penn College’s Plastics Innovation & Resource Center.

Plastics professionals representing 13 companies, nine states and Canada attended the Eighth Annual National Hands-On Thin-Gauge/Roll-Fed Thermoforming Workshop at Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Plastics Innovation & Resource Center.

Mark Strachan, senior technology director for First Quality Packaging Solutions in West Palm Beach, Florida, and former chairman of the Society of Plastics Engineers Thermoforming Division, served as keynote instructor for the 24 participants. Penn College faculty and staff assisted Strachan throughout the three-day workshop.

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Roll-Fed Thermoformer Adds to Center of Excellence at College

Christopher J. Gagliano, program manager for Penn College’s Thermoforming Center of Excellence, operates the new equipment.

A custom-built, roll-fed, thin-sheet thermoformer is the latest addition to the Thermoforming Center of Excellence at Pennsylvania College of Technology.

Thermoforming is a process by which plastic film or sheet is heated and then molded into three-dimensional shapes for such everyday uses as packaging, displays and components for a variety of transportation applications. The new equipment is a semi-commercial scale thermoforming machine that feeds rolls of plastic film into the thermoformer to produce and duplicate multiple formed packaging techniques used in industry.

According to Christopher J. Gagliano, program manager, Thermoforming Center of Excellence, “This equipment expands Penn College’s capability, which already includes a heavy-gauge thermoformer, to support additional (research-and-development) projects and teach incumbent workers and students using the latest technology.”

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International Expertise Abounds at Rotomolding Workshop

Matthew Jackson, of Tennant Co., Minneapolis, a participant in a recent Rotational Molding Workshop at Penn College, attaches a radio telemetry system to a rotational mold to measure internal air temperature.

Scores of industry professionals gathered at Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Plastics Innovation & Resource Center this summer for advice about rotational molding from well-versed – and well-traveled – authorities in the field.

A total of 42 participants from 26 companies – representing 16 states, as well as Canada and Mexico – attended the ninth annual Hands-On Rotational Molding Workshop on the college’s main campus in June.

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Penn College Extrusion Workshop Proves Popular

Adam C. Barilla, instructor of plastics and polymer technology at Penn College, demonstrates tensile testing to participants during the 19th annual Extrusion Seminar & Hands-On Workshop at the college’s Plastics Innovation & Resource Center. (Photo by Tia G. La, student photographer)

Nationwide plastics industry professionals converged at Pennsylvania College of Technology’s renowned Plastics Innovation & Resource Center for the 19th Annual Extrusion Seminar & Hands-On Workshop.

Forty-three participants, representing 20 companies and nine states, attended the three-day event led by extrusion experts Chris Rauwendaal and Kirk M. Cantor. Rauwendaal is president of Rauwendaal Extrusion Engineering Inc. in Auburn, California; Cantor is a professor of plastics and polymer technology at Penn College. Combined, the duo has approximately 70 years of experience in plastics.

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PlastiVan’s Visit Showcased in Industry Publications

Thermoforming Quarterly

February’s extended visit from the PlastiVan is featured in the latest issue of Thermoforming Quarterly, a Journal of the Thermoforming Division of the Society of Plastics Engineers. Photos by Larry D. Kauffman, a digital publishing specialist/photographer at Penn College – including a cover shot taken at the Feb. 16 Science Festival in the Field House – and a two-page article colorfully recap the hands-on peek at plastics careers: Thermoforming Quarterly

The PlastiVan is also featured in a piece by Eve Vitale, SPE Foundation director, published in Plastics Engineering.

Penn College is a special mission affiliate of Penn State