Building 'foundational knowledge' and critical thinking skills.

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Left to right: AIM instructors David Hoffman, John Beaumont, and Mike Sepe.

Beaumont Technologies, Erie, Pa., is launching an injection molding certification program, teaming up with some well-known instructors to fill the education gap facing the industry. At NPE2015, John Beaumont announced the creation of the American Injection Molding Institute (AIM), which he founded after stepping down from 25 years of plastics education at Penn State University. Beaumont explains that AIM is about “education rather than training.” He notes that there are many plastics training courses available. What they don’t offer, he says, is “foundational knowledge and development of critical thinking.”

AIM is intended to remedy this with a 9-12 month certification program. It starts with an assessment test to determine the level of knowledge of the applicant. Only those deemed sufficiently prepared are accepted into the program. The first stage is a week-long lecture and lab course on the fundamentals of plastics materials. That is followed by a three-month series of scheduled online classes, with homework assignments and quizzes, to cement the newly acquired knowledge. This process of one-week lecture/lab followed by online classes is repeated for the core topics of Mold Design, Process, and Product Design. At the end of the program, a proctored exam is administered at the AIM Institute or regional testing centers.

Among the eight instructors for the program are noted plastics experts and trainers John Bozzelli and Mike Sepe, as well as David Hoffman, former senior instructor at Beaumont Technologies. The first certification class of 10-12 students began at the end of February. It included students from Cleveland-area custom molder Thogus Products. In addition to the certification program, AIM will offer its established continuing-education courses and Autodesk Moldflow training.