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Professional Development

Plastics Engineering Technology

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This three-course certificate program provides practical instruction applicable to materials, processing, product design and tooling. The main emphasis is on practical aspects of Plastics Engineering Technology without being extremely technical so that the knowledge achieved can be applied in day-to-day applications. The PowerPoint presentation used throughout this course is descriptive, practical and presented in simple, easy to understand language. It is widely illustrated with diagrams and photographs to assist students in understanding the sometimes-detailed subject matter.

The program is targeted for technical and non-technical audiences including Sales and Marketing personnel, Engineers, Product and Tool Designers, Purchasing Managers, Plant managers, Tool Makers, Molding Supervisors, Quality Assurance personnel and for audiences desiring to acquire basic knowledge, expand their horizon, enhance their career or simply to take a refresher course in Plastics Engineering Technology.

Note: Courses will be taken in the order listed below. Course dates are listed under each course below. 

Required Courses (3 Courses)

This course is designed to introduce participants to basic concepts and techniques used throughout the plastics industry. The objective is to expose everyone to the fundamentals of plastics, product design, basic processing techniques, secondary operations, and tooling. Participants will be given handouts showing how and where to get more detailed information on a variety of plastic related topics. This course should be valuable to all technical, scientific, and engineering personnel, either entering the field of plastics or who are interested in broadening their knowledge of materials and processing techniques.  It is also suitable for individuals in plastics sales, marketing, purchasing, and quality assurance.

Course Content:

  •     Plastics Industry Overview, History, Growth, Future
  •     Polymer Chemistry Basics
  •     Polymer Structure-Properties-Applications
  •     Modified Plastics-Alloys-Composites
  •     Elastomers
  •     Product Design Basics
  •     Material Selection Process & Interpreting Material Data Sheets
  •     Plastics Identification Techniques
  •     Processing Techniques
  •     Plastics Tooling
  •     Decorating and Printing
  •     Assembly and Secondary Operations
  •     Part Costing
  •     Testing and Failure Analysis
  •     Plastics Industry Standards and Organizations
  •     Recycling
  •     Educations and Seminars
  •     Where to Get Information

Dates: February 10, 2024, and February 17, 2024
(These meetings are offered virtually via ZOOM)


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This combined course is designed for toolmakers, apprentices, technicians, product designers, process engineers, and other plastics personnel desiring to acquire basic knowledge of product design and tooling technology. This course provides an overview of the design process for injection molded plastic parts. The emphasis is on concurrent engineering practices, which leads to elimination of barriers between various engineering groups, toolmakers, and manufacturers. The participant will learn about the importance of proper material selection, part design fundamentals, manufacturing (moldability) considerations, design for assembly, tooling considerations, rapid prototyping techniques, and testing.

Design fundamentals discussed are applicable to parts designed for all plastics processing techniques. In the tooling portion the emphasis is on various mold components, mold design principles, cooling, venting, draft considerations, shrinkage, mold polishing, and tool surface enhancement techniques. Topics such as use of simulation software to enhance mold design, how to improve productivity, reduce down time, and lower maintenance costs by optimizing tooling design will be covered in detail.

Course content:

  • Plastics materials and material selection process
  • Plastics material identification techniques
  • Concurrent engineering, plastics part design process overview
  • Manufacturing considerations; design for molding
  • Basic part design and design related product failures
  • Rapid tooling and prototyping
  • Design for assembly and review of assembly techniques
  • Tooling considerations
  • Injection molding process
  • Injection molds (types of mold construction)
  • Tooling considerations
  • Mold metallurgy, runners, gates, sprue bushing, sprue pullers
  • Tour local tool making facility
  • Mold design and simulation software
  • Venting, cooling
  • Draft angles, shrinkage, mold polishing, tool surface enhancement
  • Hot runner molds and systems

In addition, students will receive a variety of useful handouts showing How and Where to get more detailed information on a variety of plastics-related topics.

Dates: March 2, 2024, and March 9, 2024
(These meetings are offered virtually via ZOOM)


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The course emphasis is on scientific approach to a somewhat complex injection molding process in order to simplify and eliminate basic misunderstandings about processing techniques employed today throughout the industry. Participants will learn the importance of understanding polymer basics, material flow properties, viscosity-shear rate curve, major plastics variables in molding, decoupled molding techniques, data analysis, and interpretation. The course will cover fundamental and scientific approaches to material drying, venting, cooling, use of regrind, how to prepare a universal set-up sheet, cycle time optimization, tooling considerations, etc. Use of modern tools and techniques, such as mold flow analysis, cavity pressure transducers, and data acquisition tools along with troubleshooting techniques will also be covered.

Course content:
  • Polymer Basics, Plastics Materials, and Flow Characteristics
  • Part Design Fundamentals
  • Overview of Basic Injection Molding Process
  • Drying, Material Mixing, Coloring, Regrind Usage
  • Major Process Variables
  • Decoupled Molding, Universal Set Up Sheet
  • Tooling Considerations, Venting, Cooling, Ejection
  • Cycle Time Optimization and Troubleshooting Techniquesbr
  • Mold Flow Analysis
  • Tricks to Improve Productivity
  • Modern Injection Molding Operation

Dates: April 6, 2024, and April 13, 2024
(These meetings are offered virtually via ZOOM)

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Technical and administrative staff employed in the plastics sector. This includes sales and marketing personnel, engineers, molding and tool designers, plant supervisors, and quality assurance personnel.

Vishu H. Shah is an active member of Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE), and his career spans over 45 years in the Plastics industry.  As a Plastics Engineer, he was in charge of processing, design, technical services, compounding operation, and test facilities. As a President and co-founder of a custom Injection Molding business for eighteen years, he is responsible for the entire manufacturing operation. As a consultant and expert witness, he provides failure analyses to Law firms and companies throughout the world.  He has conducted seminars and short courses globally on a variety of subjects for supervisors, engineers, purchasing, sales, and marketing personnel. 

Vishu H. Shah received his BS and MS degrees in Plastics Engineering from the University of Massachusetts Lowell. He is an author of the Handbook of Plastics Testing and Failure Analysis, and his handbook is used as a textbook in many universities. 

The current course schedule which includes class meeting times, locations and design is subject to change without notice or obligation. The University does not guarantee the availability of a particular course or section, and reserves the right to cancel due to insufficient enrollment.
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Phone: 909-869-2288
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