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Polar vortex can't stop determined plastics engineers

By: Bill Bregar

March 12, 2014

Those compounding engineers are a hardy bunch...

Case Western Reserve University closed early March 12 as a snowstorm pounded Cleveland. But the show went on at Society of Plastics Engineers' Continuous Compounding Topcon.

After the lunch break, João Maia, director of CRWUs Center for Advanced Polymer Processing, announced the the university was closing at 1:30 p.m., but that the Topcon would be allowed to continue, in the ballroom of Thwing Hall.

The Cleveland area was under a winter snow warning. Attendees of the extrusion conference could hear high winds howling through the windows.

The day before, when the Topcon started March 11, it was 60° F outside. Then one of the worst winters in years hit once again, as temperatures were expected to drop to the single digits.

But it didn't slow down the 150 extrusion enthusiasts at the SPE conference. They heard technical presentations on co-rotating, intermeshing twin-screw extrusion; counter-rotating, non-intermeshing extrusion and long-fiber compounding.

Oh yes, Maia, the local conference organizer, did say the tour of the CWRU's polymer center was postponed until the next morning.

But good news! The wine and cheese reception WILL GO ON. Speaking to Plastics News outside of the ballroom, Maia was philosophical: "We paid for it and we're going to do it."

(Thanks to Plastics News senior reporter Bill Bregar for braving the bad weather to cover the Topcon meeting, and for contributing this item.)