Plastics Program


Plastics processing technology was added to the UW-Platteville Department of Industrial Studies list of minors in the fall of 1992 when final approval was given by the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents. This is a unique educational program in the state of Wisconsin and perhaps in the upper Mississippi River region. This minor was designed to prepare qualified technologists for one of the largest and fastest growing industries in this geographic area.

The plastics processing technology minor combines coursework in plastics processing with business courses in management. The program involves a dynamic and conceptually based curriculum requiring students to have a strong understanding of science (chemistry and physics), mathematics, management, materials science, and industrial production techniques. Internship experiences and field trips are incorporated into this minor to provide students with a realistic understanding of the plastics industry and the requirements needed to enter the plastics field as a plastics processing technologist.

The new curriculum requires a minimum of 24 credits of coursework in the area of plastics processing technology. This is in addition to the general university requirements and the coursework required to complete a major in manufacturing technology management.

The plastics program is supported by a newly-equipped Plastics Processing Research Laboratory (PPRL) located in V.M. Russell Hall. This laboratory is equipped with state-of-the-art industrial grade equipment. The above equipment is complimented with the most up-to-date accessories including monitoring and controlling devices.

Special testing equipment is also available in this laboratory. This equipment includes a microprocessor based melt indexer, impact tester, spectrophotometer, and tensile/compression tester; and ultrasonic tester; weathering tester; stress testing equipment; and a recently acquired scanning electron microscope. The department is currently negotiating to acquire a Reaction Injection Molding machine (RIM). With the addition of the Reaction Injection Molder, the laboratory will contain some of the most sophisticated industrial equipment used in contemporary plastics industries.

State-of-the-art computer software is now available to acquaint students with industrial procedures used in mold design and mold analysis.

This software includes Moldflow, Moldex 3D, T-sim, Surfcam, Pro-E, Autocad, Matrox Inspector, Prospector, GE Database, and others.

Graduates with a degree in Manufacturing Technology Management with a Plastics Processing Technology minor will be expected to assume managerial positions including: first-line supervisor; quality control manager; production supervisor; and plant manager. Plastics technologists will be expected to assume technical leadership positions in product and process development, manufacturing, production, and technical sales in the plastics and composites industries.

Representatives of the Society of Plastics Engineers, state and regional plastics processors, the Industrial Advisory Council and the faculty from the department of industrial studies provided input into the development of this program to insure its pertinence and viability for students entering the plastics processing industries.


Required if not completed as part of the ITM Major
1430 Basic Metals Processes
1830 Synthetic and Composite Materials

2910 Plastics Technology 3
3150 Polymeric and Ceramic Materials 3

Select a minimum of twelve (12) credits from the following:
3940 Material Testing and Evaluation 3
4020 Topics in Industrial Studies 3
4130 Industrial Laser Applications 3
4850 Injection Molding Technology 3
4860 Thermoforming Technology 3


Plastics Processing Technology Minor

Students pursuing a minor in plastics processing technology are required to complete coursework in Synthetics and Composite Materials and Basic Metals Processes if not included as part of a major. In addition, Plastics Technology and Polymeric and Ceramic Materials are required. Students will complete the minor selecting 12 credits from coursework in Organic Chemistry, Production Machining and Manufacturing, Cast Metals Technology, Injection Molding, Extrusion, Thermoforming, Compression Molding, CNC and DNC Processes, and Laser Technology.


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