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Extrusion Workshop Renews Worldwide Spotlight on PIRC

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.”


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

Rauwendaal, president of Rauwendaal Extrusion Engineering Inc., based in Auburn, California, has more than 37 years of industry experience, including work at BASF and Raychem Corp.

Industry instructor Chris Rauwendaal leads a session.
Industry instructor Chris Rauwendaal leads a session.

Cantor has been a faculty member at the college for 25 years and has worked with and taught extrusion for more than 28 years. Prior to joining the Penn College faculty, he worked as an engineer at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

“The longevity of this annual event, coupled with the glowing testimonials written by a large number of attendees, really speak to the tremendous job that the PIRC does in putting together these international programs,” Cantor said.

Those testimonials from the mid-June workshop – written by a far-ranging group representing Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas and Wisconsin – affirmed the PIRC’s pre-eminence as a go-to resource for the plastics industry:

Penn College's hands-on philosophy extends to professional workshops.
Penn College’s hands-on philosophy extends to professional workshops.

“The hands-on experience was great. I was able to see some processes that were unfamiliar,” said Tiffany Jackson, manufacturing engineer, 3M, Menomonie, Wisconsin.

“The course material was at a level that I was able to understand, but, at the same time, even the more experienced attendees were able to benefit,” said Rob Minard, plant manager, Snyder Manufacturing Inc., Dover, Ohio.

“If you’re new to the industry, Chris has the knack for breaking the complexity down to make it easier to understand all the nitty-gritty details,” said Blake Swinford, plant manager-project development, Greenwood Plastics, Danville, Illinois.

“I am new to the extrusion process. Within the first hour of the seminar, I had learned enough information to move forward with some ideas. By the end of the seminar, I had learned much of what I needed to feel comfortable to make recommendations on future operations,” said John E. Albers, plant manager, Trigard, Danville, Illinois.

PIRC Technician Ryan L. Newman talks with attendees.
PIRC Technician Ryan L. Newman talks with attendees.

“After the seminar, I have knowledge of the critical parameters I should consider when I return to work and encounter problems with our extrusion processes,” said Matthew Crilley, quality engineer, Martech Medical Products Inc., Harleysville.

Penn College is one of only five colleges in the United States that offer plastics degree programs accredited by the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET.

For information on the plastics majors in the college’s School of Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies – a bachelor’s degree in plastics and polymer engineering technology and an associate degree in plastics and polymer technology – call 570-327-4520.

The PIRC is one of the top centers in the nation for research, development and education related to the processes of injection molding, extrusion, blow molding, rotational molding and thermoforming. To learn more, call 570-321-5533.

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

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