ATLANTA — Five industry innovators and two product designs were singled out for awards at the Society of Plastics Engineers' Annual Technical Conference, held April 26-30 in Atlanta.
SPE gave each winner a $2,500 honorarium and an acrylic plaque.
Harvey E. Bair, a member of the technical staff at Lucent Technologies, formerly AT&T Bell Laboratories, in Murray Hill, N.J., received the Fred O. Conley Award in plastics engineering and technology.
Throughout his career, Bair has worked on the innovative application of thermal analysis techniques to solve problems with the quality, performance, processing and reliability of plastics in engineering applications.
Bair, who has been with Bell Labs since 1965, said during the years he has had fun searching for solutions to new problems. He strives, he said, to learn ``why something goes wrong and what we can do to make it better.''
SPE presented Igor Catic with the Education Award. Catic is a professor on the faculty of mechanical engineering and naval architecture at the University of Zagreb in Croatia.
Catic does research in many areas of polymer engineering, particularly mold making and design. He has instructed thousands of students in Croatia and other regions of the former Yugoslavia, and, since 1974, has led a group of courses called ``Polymer Processing.''
Catic celebrated the award as a symbol of international unity in the plastics engineering industry.
``This is a big day for my students ... and the University of Zagreb,'' he said.
Robert W. Gore, president and chief executive officer of W.L. Gore and Associates Inc. of Newark, Del., received the John W. Hyatt Award for his service to mankind. In 1969, Gore discovered a new form of expanded polytetrafluoroethylene, which led to many well-known Gore-Tex products, like Gore-Tex fabrics.
Gore-Tex expanded PTFE also has medical uses such as for vascular prostheses, synthetic blood vessels, patches for soft tissue reconstruction and surgical sutures. Gore is the inventor of numerous patents.
SPE gave its Research Award to Montgomery T. Shaw, a professor of chemical engineering at the University of Connecticut's Institute of Materials Science.
Shaw is an internationally known researcher in polymer rheology and processing, polymer blends, microcellular foams, electrorheological fluids, electric cable insulation and, most recently, polymer recycling.
His contributions include model development for relating the rheological properties to molecular weight distribution and fundamental studies in the rheology of liquid crystalline polymers.
Shaw said he will donate his $2,500 honorarium, dedicated to his late wife, to a foundation that aids female graduate students in the polymer science program.
William F. Patient, chairman, president and CEO of Avon Lake, Ohio-based Geon Co., received the Business Management Award. Patient joined BFGoodrich Co. as senior vice president and president of its Geon Vinyl Division in 1989. In 1993, BFG spun off Geon, and under Patient's leadership its operating income climbed from a $23 million deficit in 1992, to a $15 million profit in its first year as an independent company.
Since 1992, Geon has cut business costs by more than $100 million, while increasing annual sales to more than $1.2 billion.
Patient also is a past chairman and currently a director of the Vinyl Institute, a unit of the Washington-based Society of the Plastics Industry Inc. He also serves on the board of the Chlorine Chemistry Council.
He said the honorarium will go toward a training program for future chemical engineers.
SPE also presented two Plastic Product Design Awards:
The Industrial Product Design Award went to Tennant Co. of Minneapolis, for development of the Powered Sweeper Frame.
The frame for Tennant's Model 6080 power sweeper uses most of the technologies available in rotational molding. The one-piece, lightweight polyethylene frame replaces more than 120 existing steel parts.
The Consumer Product Design Award was given to Herman Miller Inc. of Zeeland, Mich., for its Aeron Chair.
The chair was created with a high degree of technological innovation using a combination of materials, rather than the typical fabric-covered foam cushion process, SPE said. Similar materials of dissimilar configurations were insert molded to achieve high-quality aesthetics without additional material finish treatments.
The chair, which SPE said maximizes user comfort, is made of glass-filled PET, glass-filled polyester copolymer and DuPont's Pellicle polyester yarns.
SPE is in Brookfield, Conn.