Plastics Technology program receives charitable donation
By Dylan Randolph, Editor in Chief
Back when the automotive industry was first created it was not uncommon for all vehicles to be created out of steel. This element would dominate the automotive world until the 1990s when cars slowly started to integrate fiberglass and plastic into their design, creating a more lightweight and user safe mode of transportation. As more companies start to introduce vehicles made almost entirely of plastics, they are also looking to train the new workforce that will be applying. In hopes to improve one’s knowledge on how these machines work, the International Automotive Components (IAC) donated a 110-ton $50,000 KraussMaffei injection-molding machine to the college to be utilized in the Plastics Technology training program.
The idea for this machine initially came about during a Board of Trustees meeting in 2016. Once the machine was introduced to the Board and received approval, it was then transported and installed during the summer. Ever since the installment of the machine it has become a major component of the college’s plastic materials and processing and plastics technology skills classes.
“This is really a shot in the arm for the program, and there are great things ahead,” said Robert Leadley Dean of Occupational Programs and Economic Development in an interview with crainsdetroit.com.
The KraussMaffei injection molding machine is designed to create plastics molds and help the students learn more about how each of these machines work so they are skilled in their profession once they enter the workforce. The way the machine works is that it takes melted down plastic in the form of granules and uses pressure to inject them into a specific mold. Once the mold cools down and hardens, the plastic can then be removed and copied through the same process making it so one can make exact replicas at tremendous speeds. This particular machine helps test how strong certain plastics are compared to others.
“This is really an opportunity to connect how the part is designed to it being molded, and how it’s molded. It’s true learning. They learn in the class and they come out to the lab and apply it,” said Professor Sassan Tarahomi, to crainsdetroit.com
Many companies have gotten involved in the college’s plastic technology program in a variety of ways. The Detroit SPE chapter has donated $50,000 to the school’s program so they could purchase additional parts for the machine while Milacron donated a chiller and a thermolator. RheTech also showed their support by pledging to donate $10,000 over the next five years. On top of all the generous donations, KraussMaffei also donated a 200-ton injection-molding machine, which has not yet been installed in the program.
Due of the extraordinary donations Schoolcraft has been given the ability to transform its once one credit class into a 16-credit certificate program as they train students with the new equipment. Students will now be able to get hands-on training with their new plastic injection-molding machine, as they will be able to create different molds for multi-purpose use.
“The machine gives students hands on experience with the equipment. You can explain all you want in a classroom…nothing really beats hands on work. To see how it works, to show what you need to do if the plastic is not molding well or making a good part, what you need to do to change the conditions to make it mold well” said Professor Armando Sardanopoli.
With over 40 graduates from the course already in the workforce and an additional 144 students currently enrolled in the course, the donations are sure to help students excel in their profession. Hopefully in the near future the college will be able to use the second injection-molding machine. Until then, students will get to explore the new age of technology with a more hands on approach.
For more information on the plastic technologies program and the machines themselves please contact 734-462-4400.