Thermoforming Center of Excellence

The Thermoforming Center of Excellence at Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport, PA, is an 1,800 square foot facility dedicated to serve the education, training, and research and development needs of thermoformers, sheet extruders, resin suppliers, mold builders, and equipment manufacturers.

The Center is operated by the Plastics Innovation and Resource Center (PIRC), one of the top plastics-technology centers in the country. The PIRC offers industry access to extensive material-testing laboratories, industrial-scale process equipment, world-class training facilities, and highly skilled consulting staff.

Training Services

A significant need for plastics industry employees to understand the latest technology advances exists. The Center offers both credit and noncredit courses to prepare new workers entering the workforce or to advance the knowledge and skills of the current workforce within the thermoforming industry. In addition, it will develop and deliver general and customized noncredit courses and seminars to meet the needs of industry members and client companies. Seminars are offered at the Center; specific training can be delivered on site as requested by member companies.

Project Services

The Center's industrial scale, state-of-the-art process equipment supports member- and client-driven research and development. Services focus on opportunities and issues related to the development, manufacture, and improvement of thermoformed sheet products, both rigid sheet and film forming. Programs suggested by industry to advance manufacturing technology, develop products and processes, and lower costs are offered. Potential projects include:

  • Reduced material use through tooling design advancements and processing control
  • Advanced theory development of mold temperature control and its effects
  • Optimization of vacuum/air to allow faster forming, better part definition, and faster cycles
  • Documentation and evaluation of the impact of recycling material properties
  • Processing to optimize material recycling capability
  • Bio materials development research

Thermoforming Equipment

The thermoforming machine includes the following features:

  • Upper and lower moving platens
  • Capable of forming 36" x 48" molds with a depth of 10"
  • Upper and lower heating ovens with multiple heating zones
  • Clamp frames capable of 0-0.5"
  • Mold temperature control unit capable of heating & cooling of molds
  • 35 ton forming press capable of up to 100psi of form pressure (36" x 48" mold)
  • Servo third motion actuators on each press platen for accurate plug assisting and additional mold platen movements

Thermoforming Center Partners

The Center is currently expanding close relationships with major thermoforming companies, resin suppliers, equipment manufacturers, and entrepreneurs defining several projects based on specific partner needs. Other relationships include the Thermoforming Division of the Society of Plastics Engineers, Pennsylvania's Keystone Innovation Zones, University of Wisconsin, and international thermoforming consultants.

The following individuals have been an integral part of the formation and operational planning of the Center:

Mark Strachan
Mark Strachan
Consultant, Thermoforming Workshop Leader

Jay Waddell
Jay Waddell
Consultant, Thermoforming Workshop Leader

Ian Strachan
Ian Strachan
Consultant, Strategic Planner

Roger Kipp
Roger Kipp
Market Planning, Society of Plastics Engineers Liaison

Pennsylvania College of Technology
One College Avenue
Williamsport, PA 17701


© 1995 Pennsylvania College of Technology. Penn College® and degrees that work® are registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.