Seminar and workshop reaches North American audience

Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Plastics Innovation and Resource Center hosted its annual Extrusion Seminar and Hands-On Workshop in June, attracting 45 participants from 29 companies in the United States and Canada.

The workshop, led by extrusion experts Chris Rauwendaal and Penn College plastics technology professor Kirk M. Cantor, included course topics presented in a classroom setting, as well as hands-on training using the college’s industry-standard equipment.

In the classroom, participants learned about extruder hardware and design issues, polymer properties and how they affect extrusion, what happens inside the extruder, extruder die design, twin-screw extruders and troubleshooting.

In the college’s laboratories, where participants did about half of their learning, hands-on activities included single-screw throughput, blown-film extrusion, twin-screw extrusion, materials testing, computer-based extrusion engineering, screw design, thermoforming and injection molding.

“Rauwendaal’s class and the team at Penn College helped reinforce current practices and allowed me to question others,” said Curtis Rager, extrusion process technician for Dart Container in Leola. “I have gained a greater perspective of extruders and the process of extrusion.”

Rauwendaal is president of Rauwendaal Extrusion Engineering Inc. in Auburn, Calif., and has more than 35 years of experience in the plastics-extrusion industry, including work at BASF and Raychem Corp.

Cantor has been a faculty member at Penn College for 23 years and has worked with and taught extrusion for more than 26 years. Prior to joining the Penn College faculty, he worked as an engineer at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

“I learned many tools and methods to resolve the most frequent troubleshooting,” said Efrain Collante, quality-control manufacturing technician for Diba Industries Inc. in Danbury, Conn.

To learn more about the Plastics Innovation and Resource Center at Penn College, call 321-5533 or visit

Penn College is one of only five colleges in the nation offering plastics and polymer degree programs accredited by the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET. For more information on the degree programs, call 327-4520 or visit

For general information about the college, visit, email admis or call 800-367-9222.