Penn College

Heavy-gauge thermoforming workshop draws participants’ praise

Christopher J. Gagliano, left, leads workshop attendees on a tour of the Plastics Innovation & Resource Center's Thermoforming Center of Excellence at Penn College.  Credit: Pennsylvania College of Technology / Penn StateCreative Commons

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — The Plastics Innovation & Resource Center at Pennsylvania College of Technology recently hosted 21 industry professionals from seven states for its seventh annual national Hands-On Heavy-Gauge/Sheet-Fed Thermoforming Workshop.

The three-day course featured presentations from renowned industry experts and hands-on sessions focusing on materials, tooling, technique, diagnostics, machine maintenance and safety.

“It was a diverse group who attended the workshop that included resin suppliers, sheet extrusion companies and processors of thermoformed products,” said Christopher J. Gagliano, program manager for the Thermoforming Center of Excellence at Penn College. “It is encouraging that many companies see the value in the Penn College workshops and return each year.”

Attendees — who represented 11 companies in Alabama, Colorado, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin — offered typically effusive reviews of the workshop:

“As a salesperson for a custom thermoformer, becoming an expert in the ... process is important to me,” said Todd St. Germain, vice president of sales for Formed Plastics, Carle Place, New York. “This workshop will help me to become more successful.”

His co-worker, Tom Wise, said the course was a “great learning experience for beginners to experts, (with) lots of practical information disseminated.”

“An excellent hands-on experience in a well-equipped lab environment,” added Jeffrey Beachell, employed in applications tech service by Sekisui SPI in Bloomsburg.

The workshop featured several speakers: James “Jay” M. Waddell, founding partner and key management principal, Plastics Concepts & Innovations LLC; Roger C. Kipp, of Roger C. Kipp & Associates; Paul Uphaus, of Primex Plastics; and Terrence Woldorf, of CMT Materials.

Penn College faculty, staff and students played a major role in facilitating several sessions, including Kirk M. Cantor, professor of plastics andpolymer technology; Joseph E. LeBlanc, assistant professor of physics; Christopher J. Gagliano, PIRC program manager and technical service manager of the Thermoforming Center of Excellence; Gary E. McQuay, PIRC engineering manager; and Brennan B. Wodrig, PIRC laboratory supervisor and project coordinator.

Plastics and polymer engineering technology majors Logan A. Tate, of Williamsport; Noah L. Martin, of South Williamsport; and Wilson R. Michael, of Hughesville, assisted throughout the workshop.

Penn College is one of a handful of colleges in the nation offering plastics degree programs accredited by the Engineering Technology Accreditation Commission of ABET. For information on the plastics degrees and other majors offered by the School of Industrial, Computing & Engineering Technologies, call 570-327-4520 or visit

The PIRC is one of the top plastics technology centers in the nation for research, development and education related to injection molding, extrusion, blow molding, rotational molding and thermoforming. Its Thermoforming Center of Excellence is a technical resource offering independent, hands-on applied research and development to the thermoforming community.

To learn more about the PIRC and the Thermoforming Center of Excellence, visit or call 570-321-5533. For more about Penn College, a national leader in applied technology education, visit, email or call toll-free 800-367-9222.

Last Updated July 28, 2016