Orchard Park, NY, May 23, 2017 – Orchard Park-based Curbell Plastics, Inc., one of the nation’s premier suppliers of plastic sheet, rod, tube, film, adhesives, sealants, and prototyping materials, played a key role in the success of Rochester Institute of Technology’s (RIT) all-female electrical vehicle team as they took first place in the championship Formula Hybrid race in the Electric-Only category. The “Hot Wheelz” team was also honored with the IEEE Excellence in Electrical Vehicle Engineering design award. The award was based on the innovation and robustness of their design and was presented at the event held at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in early May.
Hot Wheelz is an all-female Formula SAE Electric team based at the Rochester, NY College made up of nearly 50 students, primarily in engineering fields. The team was created out of the school’s Women in Engineering program to provide female students an opportunity to gain valuable hands-on design and build experience in a comfortable, all female environment.
The Hot Wheelz team reached out to technical experts at Curbell Plastics for advice on material selection for a battery enclosure to be mounted on the vehicle. The team redesigned the enclosure to be smaller than previous designs and needed advice on materials, design, fabrication, and bonding the enclosure together. Two Business Development team members worked with the students via phone and email to mentor, answer questions, and provide recommendations. Curbell’s Rochester and Syracuse locations coordinated material donations of TUFFAK® (formerly called Makrolon®) polycarbonate sheet from Curbell and the supplier that met the safety specifications for the build.
Annika Garbers, sophomore engineering student and Electrical Mounting and Isolation Subgroup Lead for the team, commented, “Curbell was so generous with their time and advice for our team. They really helped guide us to better material choices for our vehicle as well as in the manufacturing process that made a big difference for our vehicle. We all learned so much from Curbell.”
Liz Grimes, Business Development Manager at Curbell Plastics added, “We are so thrilled to hear that the team was successful both in winning the race and in winning the design award. We love to see young people interested in careers that involve plastics and it is particularly gratifying to see female students so enthused and engaged. The team is a great group of intelligent, hardworking young women and we are so pleased to have played a small part in their victory.”
Curbell Plastics, Inc. strategy of investing for the long term and focusing on customer needs has led the organization to grow from a small machine shop to one of the nation’s leading suppliers of plastic materials serving commercial and industrial customers since 1942. Curbell not only supplies plastic materials in nearly every form for thousands of commercial businesses, Fortune 500 companies, and government agencies but also provides innovative services, creative problem solving, and next-day delivery. Curbell Plastics has ISO 9001 certification for nine of their locations and corporate headquarters as well as ITAR and EAR compliance. A subsidiary of Curbell, Inc., Curbell Plastics is a privately held company with a 75-year history headquartered in Orchard Park, New York.