News about PIRC

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.

PIRC Partner Donates Plastics Processing Equipment to College

Covestro LLC donated a complete advanced co-extrusion sheet processing unit to Pennsylvania College of Technology, where faculty and students will receive on-site training from company experts.

A longtime proponent of STEM education in the United States is giving students at Pennsylvania College of Technology valuable hands-on experience through its donation of plastics processing equipment.

As part of its i3 Give corporate giving program, Covestro LLC has donated a complete advanced co-extrusion sheet processing unit to Penn College. Covestro will also provide faculty and students with expert on-site training – including demonstration tooling – to initiate the project.

“We’re grateful for the opportunity to help Penn College elevate its curriculum in this tangible way,” noted Mark Matsco, director of application development for Covestro LLC. “Giving students access to this equipment not only enhances their skill set, but also helps us continue our mission to support improved STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education.”

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Penn College Embraces the PlastiVan

The Society of Plastics Engineers’ PlastiVan program recently visited Penn College to educate area students about the wonders of plastics and the rich career opportunities in the field. Students enjoyed hands-on activities revealing the power of plastics and toured the college’s plastics labs. Sekisui SPI sponsored the PlastiVan’s visit at the college, which is featured in this YouTube video:

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Plastics Professionals Converge at Penn College for Workshop

Plastics and polymer engineering technology major Noah L. Martin (third from left, in blue shirt), of South Williamsport, works closely with participants in the recent Thin-Gauge/Roll-Fed Thermoforming Workshop at Penn College.

Pennsylvania College of Technology and its Plastics Innovation & Resource Center brought plastics professionals from 10 states and Canada to campus for the recent Seventh Annual Hands-On Thin-Gauge/Roll-Fed Thermoforming Workshop.

The 32 participants, representing 21 companies, experienced presentations and hands-on sessions during the three-day workshop. Topics included heating technology, diagnostic tools, and thermoforming process techniques and troubleshooting.

Mark Strachan, senior technology director for First Quality Packaging Solutions in West Palm Beach, Florida, and former president of the Society of Plastics Engineers Thermoforming Division, served as keynote instructor.

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Heavy-Gauge Thermoforming Workshop Draws Participants’ Praise

Christopher J. Gagliano (left) leads workshop attendees on a tour of the Plastics Innovation & Resource Center's Thermoforming Center of Excellence.

The Plastics Innovation & Resource Center at Pennsylvania College of Technology recently hosted 21 industry professionals from seven states for its seventh annual national Hands-On Heavy-Gauge/Sheet-Fed Thermoforming Workshop.

The three-day course featured presentations from renowned industry experts and hands-on sessions focusing on materials, tooling, technique, diagnostics, machine maintenance and safety.

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Rotomolding Workshop Unites Industry Professionals, Experts

Gary E. McQuay, PIRC engineering manager, demonstrates a materials grinder in Penn College’s Rotational Molding Center of Excellence.

More than two dozen professionals recently gathered at Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Plastics Innovation & Resource Center to learn about rotational molding from some of the most knowledgeable practitioners in the business.

A total of 28 employees from 17 companies and nine states (California, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Tennessee) were represented at the eighth annual Hands-On Rotational Molding and Advanced Materials Workshop, joined by participants from Canada and India.

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TV Segment Shares College’s Responsiveness to Workforce Needs

"Stay Tuned" to WVIA-TV

Penn College’s success in answering the skilled demands of industry will be featured in the next episode of WVIA-TV’s “Stay Tuned,” premiering at 7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 21. The recurring series continues the public television station’s goal to highlight those making a difference in meeting critical community needs. “Television viewers often are bombarded with ‘What’s wrong with the world?’ news stories. WVIA’s ‘Stay Tuned’ reminds us that great people do great things every day in our region,” said Elaine J. Lambert, special assistant to the president for creative development and public relations. “It is an honor for Penn College to be featured in this episode.” Interviewed in the 10-minute segment are Tracy L. Brundage, vice president for workforce development; Kirk M. Cantor, professor of plastics technology; Christopher J. Gagliano, program manager, Thermoforming Center of Excellence; Alison A. Diehl, director, National Sustainable Structures Center; Ryan L. Newman, a former technician with the Plastics Innovation & Resource Center (who has since accepted employment in Louisiana); and students Madison T. Powell, of Linden (plastics), Eric M. Danz, of Hershey, and Kyle D. Bomboy, of Unityville (both physician assistant).

Plastics Students Use New Technology for Competition

Plastics and polymer engineering technology majors Jacob W. Fry and Madison T. Powell hold one of the parts they made for a recent competition at the Society of Plastics Engineers Thermoforming Conference in Atlanta. Christopher J. Gagliano (far left), program manager for the Thermoforming Center of Excellence at Penn College’s Plastics Innovation & Resource Center, supervised the student project.

Two plastics students at Pennsylvania College of Technology partnered with a global company to use a new technology for a major industry competition.

Plastics and polymer engineering technology majors Madison T. Powell, of Linden, and Jacob W. Fry, of Hughesville, worked with Bloomsburg-based SEKISUI SPI in their roles as research assistants at Penn College’s Plastics Innovation & Resource Center.

SEKISUI SPI is a thermoplastic leader serving a range of industries in 34 countries. The company contacted the PIRC in the summer requesting that students work with a new, innovative technique in thermoforming.

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Extrusion Workshop Renews Worldwide Spotlight on PIRC

Penn College plastics technology professor Kirk M. Cantor (second from left) engages seminar participants.

Pennsylvania College of Technology’s internationally renowned Plastics Innovation & Resource Center attracted a fitting global audience when it hosted its 17th Annual Extrusion Seminar & Hands-On Workshop, drawing attendees from the United States, Canada and Turkey.

Forty participants from 25 companies, many of them new to the industry, were led by extrusion experts Chris Rauwendaal and Penn College plastics technology professor Kirk M. Cantor in an informative three-day balance of classroom instruction and hands-on activities in the institution’s well-appointed labs.

“We have the perfect venue to host successful programs such as this seminar. Penn College has invested heavily in excellent equipment and facilities,” Cantor said. “The fact that many of our attendees come from companies that have sent people in the past is evidence that they are getting great value when they come here.

“We continue to attract attendees from all over the world. These programs are great opportunities to show off Penn College to decision-makers from across the globe.”

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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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Pennsylvania College of Technology is a special mission affiliate of The Pennsylvania State University