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Penn College awarded grant for plastics equipment

A grant totaling $85,137 has been awarded to the Pennsylvania College of Technology by the Appalachian Regional Commission according to an announcement by Congressman Fred Keller, R-Kreamer.

The grant award matches a local contribution of $85,137 for total project assistance of $170,274.

According to Shannon Munro, vice president for workforce development at the college, the grant funding will be used to purchase a new injection molder for the college’s Plastics Innovation & Resource Center and the Plastics & Polymer Engineering department.

“This purchase will allow us to further equip the plastics labs with leading technology and will complement equipment for other processes that include thermoforming, extrusion, blow-molding and the recent addition of a new rotational molder,” Munro said.

Munro explained that injection molding is a manufacturing process for producing parts by injecting plastic material into a mold. Injection molded parts are common and include products such as toys, packaging, automotive and medical parts. It is common for high volume production of parts.

“A significant issue facing the plastics industry is the need for employee understanding of plastics technology to capitalize on the latest manufacturing advancements. There is a need for education and training focused on preparing students to make significant contributions as they obtain strategic functional positions within the plastics injection industry,” Munro said.

With the purchase of this equipment Penn College will be able to support projects and student learning. R&D projects will focus on opportunities in the development, manufacture, and improvement of injection-molded products.

“Education and training initiatives will prepare students to further their knowledge of the injection molding industry and related technologies,” Munro said.

Munro added that Penn College anticipates the procurement process will start when equipment requirements are complete. It is expected that the equipment be in place by December 2020 and ready for student use during the Spring 2021 semester.

On announcing the grant, Keller echoed Munro.

“The equipment to be purchased as a result of this grant money will allow students and those looking for the most up-to-date skills in plastic injection molding to have the latest equipment and remain on the cutting edge of plastics education,” Keller said.

Penn College is one of only six institutions nationwide to offer plastics degrees accredited by the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission.

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