More than 150 plastics professionals attended the Innovation and Emerging Plastics Technologies Conference at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, on June 18 and 19.
This marked the fifth year that Penn State Behrend has hosted the conference, and it was the largest so far. The conference had also been held at Behrend in 2007, 2008, 2011, and 2013.
During the two-day event, participants listened to a series of presentations by industry experts and also took part in hands-on tutorials, many of which were held in the college’s 10,500-square-foot plastics processing lab, the largest, most comprehensive plastics training lab in the country.
“We had a wide range of topics and a diverse audience, so there were numerous takeaways,” said Brad Johnson, lecturer in engineering and conference chair. “We had sessions that should help managers understand some of the trends in the plastics industry, and we had more technical sessions on topics such as additive manufacturing, processing, materials, material analysis, product development, and tooling.”
The conference was held in conjunction with the twenty-fifth anniversary of Penn State Behrend’s first graduating class of the Plastics Engineering Technology bachelor’s degree program. The program is the only plastics-specific major available within Penn State and one of only four accredited programs in the United States.
“Just over one-third of the attendees were alumni of the program,” Johnson said. “We had 24 sponsor companies that exhibited at the conference this year, and I have heard from several of them that they think that they need to have a presence here because they see our alumni everywhere they go.”