The plastics engineering specialization trains engineers in the design of parts or systems using polymers, as well as the related plastic forming processes. The plastics engineer’s role is therefore to design products and design, optimize and make production tools, organise the industrial production of products and master the most recent processing methods. Starting from a mechanical engineering base, the plastics engineer specializes in the scientific and technological aspects of the design of plastic parts and the related tools. Project management and the taking into account of societal and environmental issues when devising the product life cycle are also part of his/her skills.
The profile of the engineer specialized in plastics processing is based on:
- basic training as a mechanical engineer,
- a specialization in plastics engineering covering all the techniques involved in designing and developing objects made from polymers.
“Common training” modules and ‘common branch” modules (both taught within the school) are devoted to gaining a command of methodological tools intended to foster a systemic approach to the problems posed.
“Professional branch” modules are devoted to the acquisition of scientific and technical knowledge specific to the plastics engineering profession.
Individual and group work
Students complete six group projects during the four years of specialist training:
- in semesters 3 and 4, starting from the analysis of a concept, students work to find constructive solutions by creating experimental models and demonstration prototypes
- in semester 6, a complete concept-to-prototype project: students design a polymer part (or set of parts) to meet a specific functional or esthetic need, then choose a prototyping process and produce a functional prototype
- in semesters 8 and 9, based on a set of specifications, students design and make a set of parts and the related tools. During the realization phase (semester 9), the work sessions take place in foreign languages
- in semester 9, the technological research project (PRT) and the digital simulation project on the processing of the polymers or the mechanical strength of the parts complete the training.
The mechanical engineering platform and the materials and surface engineering resource platform are shared by the mechanical engineering department’s three specializations: mechanical engineering, mechatronics and plastics engineering
In addition to the resources necessary to the development of a project – design (CAD) and (computer-assisted design and manufacturing (CAD/CAM), manufacturing equipment (conventional, numerically controlled machinery including lathe, machining center, machining robots, electrical discharge machining, water jet cutter) – and to digital simulation, the students also have access to equipment specific to their future profession (for characterization tests, forming processes including thermoforming, injection molding, silicone casting, composites).
Internships and final course project
The internships and training projects occupy a total of 32 weeks. The aim of the internships is to introduce the future engineer to human relations within companies.
- At the end of Year 1: a mandatory “discovery” placement in a company (4 weeks minimum)
- In Year 3: a mandatory “application” placement in a company (4 weeks minimum)
- In Year 4: a mandatory “technician” placement in a company (8 weeks minimum)
- During semester 9: a technological research project (PRT)
- In year 5, the final course project (PFE) is an in-depth study intended to make an original contribution to the development of techniques in plastics engineering-related fields. It tests the future engineer’s abilities in a professional setting and in particular his or her autonomy and initiative.
During the final year of the engineering course, students can gain an insight into the research world by preparing a simultaneous research master’s.
During their training, mechanical engineering students can also study for:
- a master’s in materials science and engineering
- a master’s in imaging, robotics and biomedical engineering
- a master’s in applied and engineering physics
Students can also do their internship in one of the laboratories of the Matériaux et Nanosciences d’Alsace research federation (FR 3627), in particular at Institut Charles Sadron (CNRS UMR 22 ) or with the ICube laboratory teams, which are all partners of INSA Strasbourg.
Double degrees exist with institutions in the United States and in Canada and there is the possibility of a master’s in the United Kingdom.
Professional training contract
Plastics engineering students who have passed Year 4, completed their period abroad and passed the TOEIC exam to the required level, and who are not enrolled on a special course (sport, arts, dual course) can undertake their 5th year on a paid 12-month fixed term work contract, during which they will have salaried worker status.
Plastics engineers mainly work in industry. They mainly occupy three types of position: R&D engineer, quality engineer and methods engineer.
Xavier Cecchet, head of the plastics engineering specialization
Odile Wolff, secretary of the mechanical engineering department