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SPE Thermoforming Division provides matching funds to support PlastiVan

Clare Goldsberry

August 16, 2016

2 Min Read
SPE Thermoforming Division provides matching funds to support PlastiVan

The Thermoforming Division of the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE; Bethel, CT) has made a $20,000 matching grant to support SPE’s PlastiVan traveling plastics education program for elementary and secondary school students. The first in what is expected to be an annual series of grants will be used by the SPE Foundation to match contributions of thermoforming industry companies to fund PlastiVan visits to schools or company facilities hosting student programs, according to James M. (Jay) Waddell, a division official and Managing Partner of Plastic Concepts & Innovations (Mt. Pleasant, SC).

“The SPE Thermoforming Division considers the PlastiVan program a very important part of our mission to educate young people about plastics,” said Waddell. “Our board intends to make contributions to support the program a budget line item.”

I’ve always admired the SPE Thermoforming Division and the tremendous participation it elicits from members, who support its successful conferences every September and contribute to the industry. The division will celebrate its 25th anniversary at this year's conference on September 26 to 28 in Schaumburg, IL. I’ve been fortunate to have attended most of those events. I attended their second conference in 1992, and recall that it was held in a hotel with a small conference room that was large enough to hold the table-top exhibits and parts competition.

The conferences have grown over the years, as have the venues. I loved the excitement generated by this group. From a journalist’s vantage point, I watched the industry grow each year and observed the parts submitted for the competition become more intricate and more complex. I also learned more about the thermoforming processes—both heavy gauge and thin sheet—and the possibilities that these companies turned into reality.

I was struck by the fact that injection molders had some real competition! Some of the parts looked like they’d been injection molded, as thermoforming technology advanced.

If you want to experience a great conference and catch the wave of excitement that permeates the SPE Thermoforming Conference, I’d suggest you head to Schaumburg next month and see what that group has to offer. I promise you won’t be disappointed!

I also suggest that more of you participate in helping the PlastiVan’s cause by donating money or sponsoring them to come to your area and work with schools to promote the plastics industry. There just might be some future employees sitting there watching Marjorie Weiner perform her magic with plastics! Contact her at [email protected].

About the Author(s)

Clare Goldsberry

Until she retired in September 2021, Clare Goldsberry reported on the plastics industry for more than 30 years. In addition to the 10,000+ articles she has written, by her own estimation, she is the author of several books, including The Business of Injection Molding: How to succeed as a custom molder and Purchasing Injection Molds: A buyers guide. Goldsberry is a member of the Plastics Pioneers Association. She reflected on her long career in "Time to Say Good-Bye."

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