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First National Hands-On Thermoforming Workshop Held


Plastics industry professionals participate in the National Hands-On Thermoforming Workshop at Pennsylvania College of Technology. (Photo by JoAnn Otto, secretary, Plastics Manufacturing Center)The first National Hands-On Thermoforming Workshop was held April 8-9 at Pennsylvania College of Technology, immediately following the Grand Opening for the college’s Thermoforming Center of Excellence.

Instructors for the two-day industry workshop were Mark Strachan, of Global Thermoforming Training Technologies Inc., and Jay Waddell, of Plastic Concepts & Innovations LLC. Guest speakers included Ian Strachan, of MGA Southern Africa Ltd.; Michael Roche, of Geiss Thermoforming USA; Julie Griswold, of W.R. Sharples Co. Inc.; and Jesse Williams, of FARO Technologies Inc.

Thirty registrants attended from 13 companies, eight states and Canada. Some comments shared by participants include:

  • “The instructors brought a great deal of industrial experience to aid in problem-solving and very helpful processing hints.” Robert Schoppe, technical service representative, Silberline Manufacturing, Tamaqua.
  • “The workshop covered a lot and crossed over between both sheet and roll-fed processes.” Barry Becker, lead tool set up, Tray-Pak, Reading.
  • “For a new manager, (I) learned a great deal about thermoforming and the basic fundamentals.” Sean England, thermoform manager, Myers Industries, Lawn & Garden Group, Brantford, Ontario.
  • “Mark Strachan is extremely knowledgeable and honestly cares about problems in our industry.” Tim Lemirande, production manager, Plastic Ingenuity Inc., Cross Plains, Wis.
  • “The seminar provided a nice blend of classroom information and laboratory demonstrations. I learned a lot that I will be able to use in my plant.” Charlie Polichonowski, plant manager, Plastic Ingenuity Inc., Oxford, N.C.

An attentive audience listens to Julie Griswold, of W.R. Sharples Co., during a session on trimming thin-gauge thermoformed parts.The new Thermoforming Center of Excellence provides opportunities for industry to partner with Penn College and its Plastics Manufacturing Center on projects such as material and mold trails, material development, process development and troubleshooting. Thermoforming training will be conducted for industry workshops and will also be included in the academic plastics and polymer degree programs offered by the college.

For information about industry training and other services offered through the Plastics Manufacturing Center, visit online or call 570-321-5533.

To learn more about majors in plastics and polymer technology and other academic programs offered by the School of Industrial and Engineering Technologies at Penn College, visit on the Web or call 570-327-4520.

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