Plastics students visit Denmark

Guest Post by Molly Joyce, senior Plastics Engineering Technology major

Day 4 Sunday, October 21, 2018

The fourth day was a day that the students became experts in public transportation in Copenhagen. Not really, but a couple of us did successfully use the bus and subway a few times. This sounds like a simple task, but most of use are from rural areas back home without public transportation systems, and it was in a different language. We had some bumps along the way; we may have jumped on the right bus but it was going in the wrong direction, but we still arrived at our destination, and we (or I) considered it a successful feat. All of us, both students and professors, ended up climbing the Church of our Savior at one point or another. This meant climbing up very steep steps in cramped areas for about 20 minutes until you got to see an unforgettable view of the city. Another group of students learned the laws of the road for bicycles and biked to the Copenhagen zoo. In the afternoon, we took a train ride from Copenhagen to Fredericia. This gave us the opportunity to see a little bit of Denmark’s country side. Our hostel had a view of a pond and a “little” village.

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Day 5 Monday, October 22, 2018

LEGO day! Today, after a quick train and bus ride we arrived at LEGO headquarters. Usually, Mr. Meckley does a great job at transportation and getting us places. However, today was not his best day. I will give him that the building was under construction. Nonetheless, we walked in very cold weather for a bit. But we did find it after some touring of the city of Billund. It was amazing to see the LEGO factories surrounded by cow pastures. Our tour started with a quick history of the company LEGO, where we learned that it started as a wooden toy company by a carpenter. We learned about LEGO’s motto of ‘Learn through play’. They gave each of us a bag of six LEGOs. Then, they started the clock and told us we have 45 seconds to create a duck with these six pieces. It was interesting to see some of the different designs, some resembled a duck, one resembled a platypus, and we’re not really sure what Mr. Meckley was going for in his. Next, we got to tour the evolution of LEGO throughout the years. We met a design engineer that explained product development to us. It was neat to hear his story. He wanted to be a LEGO engineer since he was little, and emailed LEGO to ask about how to become one. They responded with a list of qualifications for the job title but could not guarantee a job at the end. Well, he completed those qualifications and ended up getting a job with them as soon as he graduated. It was clear to see that the employees at LEGO are passionate about what they do and the message they convey. Afterwards, we had lunch at their cafeteria, which made me want to be a LEGO employee, so I could eat their food every day because it was delicious. We then took a tour of one of the buildings. One building had 64 injection molding machines, and there were 12 buildings. That’s 768 injection molding machines!! The process they have for the LEGOs is efficient and minimizes human error. There are robots that take the parts from the press to the conveyor belt on the other end of the room. From there, we took another bus and train back to Copenhagen for our last night there. This was a night that the students had to book their own hostels so we all went our separate ways.

Day 6 Tuesday, October 23, 2018  

Today was a tour of the Technical University of Denmark (DTU). We had two awesome PHD students named Macerana and Sebastian to give us a tour and tell us what they do. They served some of the best pastries I’ve ever had at breakfast. The program we were learning about was Additive Manufacturing (AM), and they told us about their projects and gave us a tour of the lab. They are trying to make innovations in their fields, so they can share their knowledge in this topic. It was really neat to see they strongly believe that we need collaboration across universities and companies in order to expand our knowledge on areas in this field. Sebastian’s project was building a mock machine of one that already exists so he can modify it and see if it is replicable.

Plastics Engineering Technology student produces video that finishes third in national competition


By Steve Orbanek
Marketing Communications Specialist, Penn State Behrend

“There’s a great future in plastics.” It’s one of the most iconic lines from the 1967 classic The Graduate.

But it’s more than just a movie line for Stephen Levy. It’s one of the prime reasons the Pittsburgh native chose to enroll at Penn State Behrend.

Levy, a senior plastics engineering technology major, has a passion for the plastics industry and his potential in it. This past fall, he displayed that passion by producing a video that ultimately took third place in The Society of the Plastics Industry’s Student Video Contest. The video was produced independently by Levy, outside of the classroom.

The contest, which featured an “Innovating in the 21st Century” theme, tasked students with creating a two-to-four minute video that explored the future of the plastics industry in the 21st century in the areas of innovation, design freedom and the economics of plastics.

Levy’s video, titled “Impact of Plastics on Society,” covered the benefits of plastics, touching on how plastic is more environmentally friendly than many people think while also offering a glimpse at what the future of the industry may look like.

“There is just so much that can be done with plastics, especially when you think about the future and 3-D printing. That’s one of the main reasons that I wanted to pursue a degree in PLET because I see the applications for the future,” Levy says.

Levy received a $3,500 gift for his third-place finish. He estimates he spent at least 10 hours working on the video, and he was satisfied with the final result. However, even he was a tad surprised when he received notification in late January that his video has been selected as one of three winners.

“I was so excited,” Levy says. “I spent a lot of time on the video, and I thought it was good, but I really didn’t think it could win.”

Watch Levy’s video here.