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Season of well-regarded plastics workshops continues


Nearly two dozen registrants from eight companies in Illinois, New York and Pennsylvania attended the recent Plastics Materials, Processing and Testing workshop hosted by Pennsylvania College of Technology’s world-renowned Plastics Innovation & Resource Center.

The May 20-22 workshop, one of many that attract industry professionals to campus each summer, provided participants with a fundamental knowledge of polymers and how they are processed, tested and characterized.

Patrick White, of Thermo Fisher Scientific in Millersburg, performs a hands-on exercise during a Plastics Materials, Processing and Testing workshop at Pennsylvania College of Technology.
Patrick White, of Thermo Fisher Scientific in Millersburg, performs a hands-on exercise during a Plastics Materials, Processing and Testing workshop at Pennsylvania College of Technology.

Attendees gained knowledge of how materials testing can improve plastic product design and processing considerations. The basics of polymer structure were covered, and interactive sessions showed how certain properties – such as melt index, tensile strength and impact resistance – are determined.

The workshop, which combined Penn College’s time-tested mix of classroom lecture and hands-on activities, also introduced such techniques as injection molding, extrusion, rotational molding, vacuum forming and extrusion blow molding.

Joshua J. Rice, instructor of plastics technology, was the lead presenter. Facilitating the laboratory sessions were Brennan B. Wodrig, PIRC program manager; Christopher J. Gagliano, PIRC project manager; and student research assistants (and plastics and polymer engineering technology majors) Spencer L. Cotner, of Muncy, and Brandon B. Zechman, of Granville Summit.

“Their knowledge and passion for polymers is contagious,” said Kristin R. McVicar, controller-finance for SEKISUI SPI in Bloomsburg. “Great energy from the (Penn College) team!”

“Fantastic class. Perfect blend of classroom instruction and hands-on work with the equipment and the materials that we discussed in class. Excellent instructor!” added Frank Aponte, an electrical engineer with Thermo Fisher Scientific, Millersburg.

“The mix of classroom time and hands-on labs was a great balance to keep me tuned in for the entire 2½ days,” said Cliff Howell, a die designer for Zip Pak in Carol Stream, Illinois.

The PIRC – observing its 25th anniversary this year – is among the leading centers in the nation for research, development and education related to injection molding, extrusion, blow molding, rotational molding and thermoforming. To learn more, call 570-321-5533.

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 others offered by the college’s School of Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies is available by calling 570-327-4520.

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

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