Fulfilling the Industry’s Needs
The plastics industry as a whole is becoming more complex. Manufacturers in the injection molding industry are seeking to create new processes and components that exceed previous capabilities. As a result, machine, resin, mold, and auxiliary equipment manufacturers must improve their products to meet new demands.
Some of the most significant innovations in the industry have been in the area of polymers. Compounders are creating advanced resins to address specific industry needs. Molders must understand the fundamentals of polymers and their properties. Even more important is how these properties affect material testing and processing.
Addressing the Industry’s Needs
RJG, based in Traverse City, Michigan, focuses on training, technology, and consulting for the injection molding industry. They operate training facilities in Woodstock, Georgia, and Gibsonville, North Carolina, within the United States.
Recently the RJG United Kingdom office, located in Peterborough, England, created a course specifically for educating injection molders about polymers, their properties, testing methods, and processing. The Materials Technology course was introduced in England and brought to the US in February of 2020.
Partnering with the Polymers Center
When RJG decided to bring the Materials Technology course to the US, they needed a training facility that meets specific criteria. The facility had to offer an environment conducive to learning. It had to provide access to molding machines to allow students a hands-on learning experience. And finally, the location had to offer material testing equipment, including Tensile, Gardner Impact, Izod, and Melt Flow Index Testing.
The Polymers Center in Charlotte checked all of the boxes for RJG’s needs. The injection molding lab offered the best of both worlds, a classroom environment complete with three molding machines. The materials testing portion of the course could efficiently be executed in the vast testing lab at the facility.
“Not only did the facility meet our needs, but the staff at PCE were professional and accommodating”, said Marty Key, trainer and consult for RJG. “From our initial contact with PCE to the completion of the course, we could not have been more pleased with the support that the entire staff at PCE offered. We knew executing the class would mean finding a unique location that allowed us and our students to demonstrate how polymers and their properties affect their selection and use.”
The PCE facility also offered RJG some additional opportunities to educate the industry. Since PCE does compounding, students were able to tour the facility and see the resins they use daily, being compounded. They were given a brief overview of the extrusion compounding process, which allowed students to tie the material manufacturing with the material they would learn about in the classroom.
The materials testing lab allowed the students to experience tests they only read about on datasheets. Molding parts and testing them in the same facility, on the same day, allowed the students to understand not only the testing, but how processing conditions can dramatically affect the results. One of the most significant learning experiences for the students was the Melt Flow Index testing, which tests the viscosity of the material. Students could see how temperature directly affects material flow during processing.
The students’ feedback from the class speaks for itself:
- The hands-on experience in materials testing really made this class. It is something we read about on data sheets, but the knowledge of how it’s done, and being able to connect that back to processing conditions, helped make sense of the ‘why’ behind the data.
- Great experiments – got to collect and analyze real data by creating and observing what happens to real parts, and got to use specialized equipment for material testing
- The staff at PCE was very helpful
RJG has enjoyed partnering with the Polymers Center for this class. They are an asset not only for plastics in North Carolina, but for the entire plastics industry on a global scale.
Learn more about RJG.