SPE honors members for their efforts

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Rakesh Gupta

LAS VEGAS — The Society of Plastics Engineers named six new honored service members and seven fellows at an awards banquet April 27, kicking off Antec 2014 in Las Vegas.

Honored service members are recognized for their contributions to SPE, based in Newtown, Conn. They are:

Rakesh Gupta, a professor at West Virginia University, was nominated by the West Virginia/Southeast Ohio Section, where he served in a variety of positions, including chairman. He played a key role in the Plastics in Building and Construction Special Interest Group, and created an annual Plastics Day at West Virginia University.

Sadhan Jana, professor of polymer engineering at the University of Akron, was nominated by the Engineering Properties and Structure Division. He was recognized for long-time service to the division, the Akron Section, the university’s student chapter, and the overall society. He is active in SPE’s New Technology Committee, where he spearheaded “green” ideas at New Technology Forums at Antec. Jana also chairs the Education Award sub-committee.

Thomas Miller

Thomas Miller, automotive OEM manager at BASF performance polymers, was nominated by the Detroit Section, where he served as president and held many other positions. He is especially recognized for increasing the cooperation between the Detroit Section and the Automotive Division, helping develop the AutoEPCON TopCon. For more than 15 years, Miller has coordinated visits by the PlastiVan in metro Detroit, while increasing the section’s sponsorship rate from $7,500 to $50,000 a year.

Scott Steele, president of Plastic Technologies Inc. in Holland, Mich., was nominated by the Blow Molding Division. He has chaired that division, and also served a two-year term on SPE’s finance committee. Steele has played an active role in the Annual Blow Molding Conference, including establishing Blow Molding 101 courses, that draw more than 50 people.

Lih-Sheng (Tom) Turng, professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, was nominated by the Injection Molding Division, which he has chaired. He also is active with the university’s student chapter. He served as a manuscript reviewer for two SPE journals, and as session moderator at Antec—both for 15 years. Over the years he has recruited, and paid for, more than 30 student members at UWM. He was a member of the SPE fellows election committee for four years. He is especially recognized for service to the Injection Molding Division, and for development of technical programs at Antecs, MiniTecs and most recently, the China TopCon 2013.

Scott Steele

Parimal (Perry) Vadhar was nominated by the Thermoplastic Materials and Foams Division, for his long-time service, including division chair. He is especially recognized for his work as best paper chair chair for Antecs and TopCons, his work on the division’s new educational webinar series in sustainable foams, the introduction of student scholarship support to attend conferences, and the launch of the division’s new website.

Seven new fellows

SPE announced these seven new fellows of the society. The designation is for contributions in plastics engineering, science and technology, or for the management of such activities.

Newly named SPE fellows are:

Martin Mack, vice president of research and development at KraussMaffei Corp., was nominated by the Extrusion Division for his extensive work with twin-screw extruders. Mack’s contributions include using the water ring pelletizer for hot face cutting of engineering resins, where the underwater cut process was considered to be not practical because of freeze-off. He also demonstrated the economics of inline sheet extrusion of industrial roofing membranes compounded with flame retardant powders, and conducted trials for melt degassing, to confirm materials could be run on large extruders.

Laurent Matuana, associate professor at Michigan State University’s School of Packaging, was nominated by the Vinyl Plastics Division for his significant work in the field of wood/plastic composites, used for windows, decking and fencing, doors, docks, landscaping and bridges. Together with his students, he also studies foamed composites.

Lih-Sheng (Tom) Turng

Anthony Neubauer, fellow of Dow Chemical Co., was nominated by the Extrusion Division for his expertise in the co-rotating and counter-rotating twin screw mixers and extruders, gear pumps, melt filtration technology and pelletizer die design. He invented and commercialized melt filtration technology to disperse and distribute high molecular weight gels to acceptable levels, with negligible pressure rise with time. He also developed technologies to improve the properties of polyethylene film and pipe. He is the lead engineer for a patented twin-screw extrusion process called Bluewave, that produces aqueous polyolefin dispersions used in the packaging, carpet, coatings and personal care industries.

Masahiro Ohshima of Kyoto University in Japan, was nominated by the Thermoplastic Materials and Foams Division, for his research in the fields of foam processing and supercritical carbon dioxide-assisted polymer processing. According to SPE, Ohshima was the first person to experimentally prove the existence of an influence region surrounding a nucleated bubble, using a high-speed video, than correlating the results to foam nucleation and growth models in microcellular plastics using environmentally save blowing agents, like carbon dioxide. His recent work focuses on nanocomposite and nanocellular foams.

Irvin Poston, former head of General Motors Co.’s technical center, was nominated by the Detroit Section for his groundbreaking accomplishments to bring plastics into automotive, for body panels and structural applications, among others. Poston developed processes and materials for sheet molding compound, leading to applications such as front supports, doors and body panels. He also developed thermosetting polyurethane for bumper fascia and a reaction injection molding process to make fenders for the SportOmega in 1981, which lead to future fascia and exterior trim applications made by RIM.

Ashkisk Sukhadia, general manager of polyethylene applications for Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. LP, was nominated by the Engineering Properties and Structure Division, recognizing his major contributions on the processing engineering and structure property behavior of PE materials. In one blown film development, he used bubble kinematics to scale up the processing structure-property analysis of film production, so that small-scale studies could be expanded to full-scale commercial production.

Sassan Tarahomi, advanced engineering manager for materials at International Automotive Components Group, was nominated by the Detroit Section, for his contribution to the packaging and automotive industries. He designed and commercialized a new tooling technology that is widely used in packaging that involves the manufacturing of small caps and enclosures, used in the production of child-proof, tamper-evident and tamper-proof closures and caps for the pharmaceutical industry. In automotive, he invented and let engineering and design for the 2002 Ford Thunderbird’s removable hard top. Tarahomi also developed an energy-absorbing system for vehicle front and read fascia to absorb head-on and read-end low-speed collisions, without the need to replace the components.