Annual Extrusion Seminar Draws Industry Professionals

Published 06.23.2009

Polymer Engineering
Workforce Development

Thomas Stuck, of Double H Plastics in Warminster, participates in a twin-screw compounding workshop in a plastics and polymer technology laboratory at Pennsylvania College of Technology.Pennsylvania College of Technology's Plastics Manufacturing Center held its 11th Annual Extrusion Seminar & Hands-On Workshop on the college's campus in early June.

The seminar led by well-known extrusion consultants Chris Rauwendaal, of Rauwendaal Extrusion Engineering in Auburn, Calif., and Kirk Cantor, professor of plastics and polymer technology at Penn College attracted 35 participants from seven states, as well as Syria.

Extrusion is a process for molding plastic parts by melting the plastic and either pushing or pulling it through a dye to make such products as tubing, drinking straws, weather stripping and window frames.

Rauwendaal presented course topics in a multimedia format, and Cantor led participants in hands-on training in the facilities of the college's plastics and polymer technology department. Penn College students part-time research assistants for the Plastics Manufacturing Center also enhanced their education during the event, where they helped guide participants in the hands-on laboratories.

"Dr. Cantor and his students all were helpful and very knowledgeable toward any questions we had," said Rick Moffitt, lead operator/quality technician for Lane Enterprises Inc., of Wytheville, Va. "They would go the extra mile to find and understand any questions I had."

Eighteen companies sent representatives to the conference, which covered both molding and product and materials testing.

"The PMC Annual Extrusion Seminar & Hands-On Workshop provides industry professionals with the necessary tools to improve current extrusion efficiency," said Nam Nguyen, project engineer for Kensey Nash Corp., of Philadelphia.

Christopher E. Kohler, a plastics and polymer engineering technology student from South Williamsport (right), helps to lead a twin-screw extrusion workshop.%0A%0A"It offered me a professional understanding on plastics technology and how the extrusion works properly, and if I have the chance again next year, I would come back again to increase my knowledge," said Kevork Hagopian, PVC Compounding and Profile Extrusion for Plastco, of Aleppo, Syria.

Rauwendaal has more than 31 years of experience in the plastics extrusion industry, including work at BASF and Raychem Corp. He has worked on both practical and theoretical problems such as screw and die design, troubleshooting, modeling and computer simulation, material analysis, and failure analysis. He holds several patents and has written more than 90 articles on extrusion, five books, two video training courses, and two interactive CD-ROM courses.

Cantor has been a faculty member at Pennsylvania College of Technology for 19 years. He has worked with and taught extrusion for more than 22 years. Prior to joining Penn College faculty, he worked as an engineer at NASA, Goddard Space Flight Center. Cantor has been active in developing multimedia training tools for the plastics extrusion industry. He was co-developer with Rauwendaal on two CD-ROM courses. He authored the book "Blown Film Extrusion: An Introduction."

The Plastics Manufacturing Center at Penn College serves plastic-industry companies through training and projects (materials development, testing services and technical consulting).

For more information about the Plastics Manufacturing Center, which is part of Penn College's Workforce Development & Continuing Education Office, call 570-321-5533, e-mail or visit on the Web .

Photos by Jessica L. Tobias, student photographer