News about PIRC

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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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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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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College’s Plastics Resources to Be Touted at European Conference

Christopher J. Gagliano (left), program and technical service manager for the Plastics Innovation & Resource Center, leads European visitors through Penn College’s Thermoforming Center of Excellence.

European visitors’ recent first impression of Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Plastics Innovation & Resource Center will lead to a second look when they promote the facility to a continental conference next year.

The four international guests and their American host talked with employees and students in labs featuring each of the college’s five plastics processes (injection molding, extrusion, blow molding, rotational molding and thermoforming) during a March tour of the PIRC and its Thermoforming Center of Excellence.

The group also learned from Director C. Hank White about the PIRC’s role in helping the industry remain competitive.

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Plastics Trade Journalists Learn Firsthand of PIRC’s Pre-Eminence

Christopher J. Gagliano, PIRC program and technical service manager, showcases the thermoforming lab.

C. Hank White, director of the PIRC, answers a question in the extrusion lab.

Julia I. Gilchrist, a plastics and polymer engineering technology major and a research assistant for the PIRC, holds court in the rotational molding lab.

Gary E. McQuay (left), PIRC engineering manager, and Jared W. Mahaffey, a plastics and polymer engineering technology major and PIRC research assistant, take measurements in the industry lab.

Timothy E. Weston, associate professor of plastics and polymer technology and department head, tells visitors that all 12 pending plastics graduates have secured jobs.

The excellence of the Plastics Innovation & Resource Center reached an international audience on Tuesday. Journalists representing plastics trade publications from India, France, Denmark, the Netherlands and the United States toured the PIRC and plastics labs at the college. Facilitated by the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development, the visit promoted the desirability of central Pennsylvania for international companies with a stake in plastics. According to Sarah Thomas, a spokesperson for DCED, Greiner Packaging, one of Europe’s leading plastic packaging manufacturers, opened a plant in Pittston within the past year because of its proximity to the expertise at the PIRC.  Hank White, director of the PIRC; Christopher J. Gagliano, PIRC program and technical service manager; Gary E. McQuay, PIRC engineering manager; Tracy L. Brundage, vice president for workforce development; and Timothy E. Weston, associate professor of plastics and polymer technology and department head, addressed the international contingent. Julia I. Gilchrist, of Hanover, and Jared W. Mahaffey, of Linden, both juniors in the plastics and polymer engineering technology major and PIRC research assistants, demonstrated equipment. The visitors were impressed to hear Weston report that all 12 plastics students scheduled to graduate in May have already obtained jobs.

College Included in Plastics Video Shown at High-Profile Expo

Penn College’s Plastics Innovation & Resource Center is included in a five-minute video being shown this week at NPE: The International Plastics Showcase in Orlando, Florida. Portions of the video, presented by the state Department of Community & Economic Development and focused on the commonwealth’s plastics industry, were shot Feb. 10 on main campus. A number of Penn College plastics students and faculty, as well as PIRC representatives, are attending the conference/trade show.