Guest Post by Ian Duchene, Plastics Engineering Technology major
No matter how vivid the photos or descriptive the lecture, there’s nothing quite like seeing and experiencing another country in person. And, in today’s increasingly global business climate, it’s vital that students be versed in the culture and business practices of international partners. There is much to be learned from seeing how others do it. That’s why, every year, students in the Plastics Engineering Technology program have the opportunity to travel overseas to visit plastics companies and universities and attend a plastics trade show, too.
On Thursday, Oct. 20th, thirty-three PLET majors embarked on a 10-day trip to Germany. We asked them to tell us about their journey. In this blog post, students Ian Duchene gives us a report from days 4 & 5 of the trip:
Finally the moment we’ve all been waiting for… Day one of the K-Show. After two short train rides to Düsseldorf, we arrived. Unsure of what to expect, we were in for quite the surprise when we saw the size of the company booths. Many of which are larger than classrooms on campus at Behrend!
With the show spanning 17 buildings, there are endless places for the 33 Behrend plastic enthusiasts that came on the trip to get lost in a plastic engineering wonderland. Many injection molding companies offered samples of parts they were running fresh off the press. A couple of the most popular items include a collapsible step stool and watch from Arburg.
There is so much to do and see; it is impossible to see everything in one day.
This was our second day at the K-Show. Even with eight more hours to spend, we still did not see every booth. Each building we went to, we saw different technologies. The size of the show still baffles everyone.
The automation was one thing that blew everyone away. One automation company had a display of the capabilities of their robots where the robots were dribbling and shooting basketballs. Injection molding machine manufacturers were a hit with the class as they were not only revealing new presses but also supplying everyone with cool gear such as watches, stools, screwdrivers, personalized cups, bottle openers, performs for 2-liter bottles, and countless other items.
One thing that many of the students seemed to dislike was the amount of civilians at the show that did not truly appreciate everything. It seemed they were just there for the free gear. Also, with many of the machines, many of these same people were disregarding safety guards and shoving their hands in harm’s way. Our shock was probably reflective of the amount of training we have all gone through, both at Behrend as well as at our internship sites, where safety is stressed more than anything.
Overall, the K-Show was a great experience and we all are itching to go back in four years to see the emerging technologies after we have been in industry for a few years. It was certainly an eye opening experience as well as a great learning experience. Many, if not all, of the students had the opportunity to receive beneficial information about their senior projects from some of the industry’s most experienced and knowledgeable experts.