Plastics engineering encompasses the processing, design, development, and manufacture of plastics products. Chemical engineering is the father of polymer engineering, which involves designing of processes and equipment for producing new and different types of synthetic material.
A plastic is a type of synthetic or man-made polymer; similar in many ways to natural resins found in trees and other plants. Webster’s Dictionary defines polymers as: any of various complex organic compounds produced by polymerization, capable of being molded, extruded, cast into various shapes and films, or drawn into filaments and then used as textile fibers. Plastics are being used since 100 years and they are relatively new if we compare them with other materials. Since the 1970s, we have witnessed the advent of ‘high-tech’ plastics used in fields such as health and technology. New types and forms of plastics with new or improved performance characteristics continue to be developed. Plastics are used in such a wide range of applications because they are uniquely capable of offering many different properties that offer consumer benefits unsurpassed by other materials. They are also unique in properties and can be used for packaging, to plastic plants, to domestic items, containers, pipes and automobile parts and what not.
Plastics engineering encompasses the processing, design, development, and manufacture of plastics products. Chemical engineering is the father of polymer engineering, which involves designing of processes and equipment for producing new and different types of synthetic material..
Nature of Work
Their job is to produce a plastic that is best suited for a specific purpose, by altering the molecular arrangement and enhancing certain properties of the material. Plastic and polymer engineers develop plastics and polymers of various types and capacities.
Working in plastic industry needs high-grade skill, to convert the knowledge into reality. Based on the process the performing professional varies
- Designer and Processing Technologist are the specialized key players.
- The Plastic Part designers design Industrial and Consumer parts by using high end CAD System.
- Mould Designer plays a vital role of building Automatic Mould Design, Ejection system etc. He is a professional who knows the entire process of Know-how of plastic industry and perform his duties on CAD/CAE/CAM System.
- Plastic Mould Maker converts the Mould design into reality; it is a highly skilled and honored job in Tool Room. He is on-hand Professional who converts Know-how to Do-how.
- After mounting the mould on machine, the Processing technician take care of the production normally done in lots. He sets the requires injection and claming pressure, cycle time, Mould temperature so that perfect finished part comes out at regular intervals. The finished part goes to the Quality control where a team of
- Plastic Testing Technicians do mechanical testing like tensile test, flexural testing, compressive testing etc. They also perform Thermal tests like Specific heat, Thermal conductivity; linear coefficient expansion etc and also they perform Electrical Testing as per requirement.
- The Polymers Professional studies and works on the science of polymer, more specifically raw material research and developments.
A BE in chemical/polymer engineering or a B.Sc in chemistry is available for those who are interested in this field. In addition to the degree course there are diplomas in plastic/polymer technology. Postgraduate courses are available in plastic/polymer technology for graduates in chemistry who have cleared the
GATE exam. Those having an M.Sc degree in chemistry or physics can take up the M.Tech course in plastic technology.
Candidates, who have successfully completed the 10+2 examinations, with a background in science, are eligible for the B.Tech courses in plastic technology.
The eligibility criteria for the M.Tech programme in plastic technology are a B.Tech /BE degree in chemicals engineering or plastics and rubber technology or mechanical engineering or textiles technology. Candidates with an MSc degree in chemistry or physics are also eligible for the M.Tech program in plastic technology. Candidates who have qualified in the GATE (Graduate Aptitude Test in Engineering) exam will find it is an advantage for admission to the M.Tech courses in most of the institutions
Plastics engineering specialization fields are:
- Medical plastics is studies about developing new materials and technologies, equipment manufacturers are developing new processing machinery for medical plastics.
- Automotive plastics these plastics reduce costs and benefits automakers by allowing geater flexibility for carmakers as these plastics are scratch and mar resistant, have dimensional stability, stiffness and are shrinkage and impact resistant.
- Recycled or recyclable plastics this plastic is a wood-like product made from recovered plastic or recovered plastic mixed with other materials, which can be used as a substitute for concrete, wood, and metals.
- Biodegradable plastics these are environment friendly plastics made of plant products for which they are sometimes known as green plastics also.
- Elastomers Elastomers refer to ductile, tough polymers that frequently have high elasticity which were developed either as cost competitive substitutes for vulcanized natural rubber or were formulated to meet a specific property requirement found lacking in natural rubber
- Epoxys these are a kind of polymers which are used for making coatings, adhesives and composite materials. They are known for their excellent adhesion, chemical and heat resistance, good to excellent mechanical properties and very good electrical insulating properties.
The plastics and polymer industry is growing at fast pace. The transport sector, household appliances and goods, packaging and electricity and telecommunication are the major areas, which demand plastics, hence are creating employment opportunities in this sector. For instance, synthetic rubber is now in great demand. In the public sector, plastics engineers / technologists and technicians may find employment in:
- The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas
- Oil and Natural Gas Commission, and
- Oil India Laboratories
- Petrochemicals Engineering Plants
- Indian Institute of Petroleum
- Polymers Corporations of different states
- Petroleum Conservation Research Association of India
- Petrofiles Cooperative Limited and other such organizations.
Many private companies and MNCs that deal with the production and marketing of plastic commodities also offer employment to plastics technologists and engineers. Plastic technologists also play a significant role in the key sectors of the economy, including agriculture and water management, automobiles and transportation, building and construction, telecommunication and electronics, besides defense and aerospace, computers and power transmissions and even in manufacture of artificial limbs. Polymer use in India is very less as compared to the other developed countries, so this field offers a high potential of growth and so are the employment opportunities.
Designer and Processing Technologist are the specialized key players. Other professionals include Plastic Testing Technologist, Plastic Mould Makers and the Mould designers. The Plastic Part designers who design Industrial and Consumer parts by using high end CAD System. Mould Designer plays a vital role who extras Core and cavity of the Part Design and Build Automatic Mould Design adding Runner, Ejection system etc. Before releasing drawing he finalizes the design by doing mould flow analysis, which addresses Solidification, Mould temperature, Gating, Clamping and Injection pressure etc. He is a professional who knows the entire process of Know-how of plastic industry and perform his duties on CAD/CAE/CAM System. Plastic Mould Maker converts the Mould design into reality; it is a highly skilled and honored job in Tool Room, a set-up with team of professional who makes all kinds of Moulds and Dies in CAM and CNC. Mould maker is on-hand Professional who converts Know-how to Do-how and is one of the important factors in Indian industries. The Processing technician takes care of the production normally done in lots. The Polymers Professional studies and work on the science of polymer, more specifically raw material research and developments.
The starting salary of Plastic Technologists in public sector ranges from Rs.8000 to Rs.10000 per month. In the private sector, the starting remuneration can be in the range of Rs.9000 to Rs.12000 per month whereas for those with an M.Tech degree can earn as high as Rs.15000 to Rs.20000 per month at starting level.
University college of Science & Technology, 92 Acharya Prafulla Chandra Road, Calcutta -09 www.caluniv-ucsta.ne
Tezpur University, Napaam, Tezpur 784028 www.tezu.ernet.in
Harcourt Butler Technological Institute, Kanpur 20009 www.hbti.ac.in
University of Bombay, Department of Chemical Technology, Matunga Road, Mumbai 400019 www.mu.ac.in
Laxminarayan Institute of Technology, Nagpur 440010 www.nagpuruniversity.org/litnagpur/
Cochin University, Department of Polymer Science & Rubber Technology, CUST, Kochi – 68202 www.psrt.cusat.ac.in
Dr Thomas Kurian – Polymer Science and Rubber Technology
Premier Institutions offering courses in Plastic Technology
Central Institute of Plastics Engineering and Technology (www.cipet.gov.in) is at Guindy, Chennai. It is an autonomous institute under the Department of Chemical and Petro Chemicals, Ministry of Petroleum and Chemicals, Government of India established in 1968 and assisted by UNDF. The Institute caters to the plastics industries through managerial and supervisory manpower training, testing, consultancy, advisory and development services.
The Institute has Regional Extensions Centers at Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Bhopal, Bhubaneswar, Lucknow, Hyderabad, Mysore, Patna, Goa and Imphal.
Selection for the courses is based on academic record, a pass in Joint Entrance Exam and interview conducted simultaneously in July at Ahmedabad, Agartala, Amritsar, Ambala, Bangalore, Bhopal, Bhubaneshwar, Mumbai, Calcutta, Chandigarh, Delhi, Gauhati, Hyderabad, Imphal, Jaipur, Lucknow, Chenai, Patna, Simla, Tiruchirapalli. CIPET reserves a quota for SC/ST candidates with a relaxation of age limit up to 3 years and such students are eligible for stipends at appropriate rates
Addresses for references
- CIPET, Corporate office, Guindy, Chennai 32. www.cipet.gov.in
- CIPET Extension Centre, Ahmedabad-46 www.cipetindia.com
- CIPET Extension Centre, Amritsar-04 www.cipetindia.com
- CIPET Extension Centre,Bhopal-23 www.cipetindia.com
- CIPET Extension Centre, Bhubaneswar-31 www.cipetindia.com
- CIPET Entension Centre, Hyderabad-51 www.cipetindia.com
- CIPET Extension Centre, Imphal-01 www.cipetindia.com
- CIPET Extension Centre, Lucknow www.cipetindia.com