The Society of Plastics Engi-neers' certification examination has been upgraded and readied for administration at ANTEC, set for May 5-10 in Indianapolis. When introduced at last year's SPE Annual Technical Conference in Boston, volunteers took a pilot exam for the group's Certified Plastics Technologist certification.
Jack Contessa, managing director of education for SPE based in Brookfield, Conn., said data from that exam was instrumental in revising the newest version of the examination.
The examination is geared toward people who already have a degree from one of the plastics technology programs at a school such as Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Mich., Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kan., Penn State University at Erie, Pa., or others.
This is the primary difference between SPE's certification and the program being developed by the Society of the Plastics Industry Inc.'s Molders Division, based in Washington.
The program leading to qualification as a certified plastics technologist, defined as an engineering support person, is to be the first of a two-pronged program leading to certification as a plastics engineer.
Contessa said the certification examination measures an individual's knowledge in specific industry areas, taking into consideration the person's work experience.
SPE has prepared a study guide with sample test questions. Section I covers fundamentals in mathematics, statistics, physics, plastics chemistry and communications. Section II is the core and covers plastics testing, product design, mold and die design, and primary and secondary plastics processing, auxiliary equipment, control systems, trouble shooting and safety considerations.
Sample test questions range from simple algebraic equations to more complex equations and questions concerning plastics chemistry.
``[The examination] is really to give people a good idea of where they are [in plastics-related knowledge] and provide additional statistical data for us as we continue to refine and revise the exam,'' Contessa said.
The examination was to be given May 8. Candidates who successfully completed the examination will be certified as plastics technologists.
SPE has developed the Certified Plastics Technologist examination to provide standards for measuring employee knowledge and to encourage people to keep up with changes.
``To maintain their certification status, the person must participate in continuing education programs offered,'' according to Contessa.
Although SPE is probably best known for its annual ANTEC meeting and more frequent regional technical conferences (RETECs), the organization is seeking to broaden its appeal to a variety of personnel by offering training on several levels.
To overcome some industry perception that ANTEC and RETEC conferences are too high-brow for the average production-floor employee, SPE had designed an in-plant seminar that leans more toward grass-roots basics.
One example of this is the Production Injection Molding Manufacturing Techniques Work-shop.
Most recently, with the help of workshop leader Alex Mora of Formula Plastics Inc., this program was held in Ontario, Calif.
The course covers plastics, molds and machinery for injection molding, in classroom and plant situations. Attendees went to both Formula Plastics and Cal-Mold Inc. in Industry, Calif., for that training.
SPE offers the in-plant training programs in many areas including blow molding, extrusion, reaction injection molding, part design, stereolithography, thermosets and others.
For companies that want to offer in-house training programs, the Plastics Education Foun-dation offers videotapes that can be rented or purchased. A new computer-based training program based on the book Polymeric Materials and Processing by Jean Michel Charrier is another in-house training tool.