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Penn College plastics students embrace competition


Two Pennsylvania College of Technology plastics students embraced the challenge of taking additive manufacturing to the next level by vying for the 2019 Solvay AM Cup.

Seth D. Hummel, of Lebanon, and Andrew W. Woods, of York, both seniors in the plastics and polymer engineering technology baccalaureate major, represented Penn College in the invitation-only competition asking students to 3D print parts from Solvay’s high-performance polymer, polyphenylsulfone. Solvay is an advanced materials and specialty chemicals company.

Andrew W. Woods (left), of York, and Seth D. Hummel, of Lebanon, recently represented Pennsylvania College of Technology in the 2019 Solvay AM Cup, an international competition requiring students to 3D print parts from a high-performance polymer. Both Woods and Hummel are seniors in the college’s plastics and polymer engineering technology baccalaureate major.
Andrew W. Woods (left), of York, and Seth D. Hummel, of Lebanon, recently represented Pennsylvania College of Technology in the 2019 Solvay AM Cup, an international competition requiring students to 3D print parts from a high-performance polymer. Both Woods and Hummel are seniors in the college’s plastics and polymer engineering technology baccalaureate major.

Temperature requirements for polyphenylsulfone exceed the capacity of commercial 3D printers, so students had to design and fabricate or modify a 3D printer to achieve the necessary printing conditions before establishing process settings and printing several parts for submission.

“Seth and Andrew went above and beyond what I expected them to achieve with the limited budget and resources available for this project,” said Adam C. Barilla, instructor of plastics and polymer technology, who served as the duo’s project mentor. “They developed creative solutions using not only techniques discussed in class, but they also utilized knowledge about rapid prototyping from past industry internships.”

Due to technical limitations, Woods and Hummel were unable to print a full part for judging, but they did manage to make several partial samples.

“It was a valuable experience for them,” Barilla said. “They were essentially tasked with developing the technology necessary to print high-performance materials. They were exposed to many of the technical hurdles of research and development work, which will certainly benefit them as they embark on their careers.”

Participating in the 2019 Solvay AM Cup was an exclusive opportunity. Only 31 colleges and universities worldwide were invited to compete, including just seven from the United States.

Penn College is one of six institutions nationwide offering plastics degrees that are accredited by the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET. In addition to the bachelor’s degree in plastics and polymer engineering technology, students may seek an associate degree in plastics and polymer technology.

Information about those majors and other programs offered by the college’s School of Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies is available by calling 570-327-4520.

For more on 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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