Materials and Mentoring from Curbell Plastics Helps RIT All-Female Formula SAE Hybrid Vehicle Team

Curbell Plastics continues its sponsorship of the “Hot Wheelz” team from Rochester Institute of Technology

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Beth Summers
Curbell Plastics, Inc.
716.667.3377 x7439

Orchard Park, NY, July 12, 2018 – Orchard Park-based Curbell Plastics, Inc., one of the nation’s premier suppliers of plastic sheet, rod, tube, film, adhesives, sealants, and prototyping materials, has continued it support of the Rochester Institute of Technology’s (RIT) all-female hybrid vehicle team with material donations and mentoring of the students as they designed and built their vehicle for competition. Curbell Plastics extended the relationship that began last year when the team focused its efforts on an electric vehicle.

Custom accumulator container, built using polycarbonate supplied by Curbell Plastics as well as bonding agents, chemically bonded into the design called The Throne.
Custom accumulator container, built using polycarbonate and chemically bonded into the design called The Throne.

Hot Wheelz is an all-female Formula SAE Hybrid team made up of nearly 60 members, primarily in engineering fields based at the Rochester, NY college. 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 team, one of several at RIT and the only all-female one, is gaining a reputation among corporate interests who recognize the value of the hands-on training that being part of this team provides.

Alexandra Capodicasa & MacKenzie Woodhouse, from RIT All-Female Formula SAE Hybrid Vehicle Team (Hot Wheelz)
Alexandra Capodicasa and MacKenzie Woodhouse placing their rain certified sticker on Diana (car). To pass the rain test and receive the sticker, the car is placed under sprinklers for 2 minutes while running, then turned off and back on again.

Curbell Plastics worked with the team to identify their material needs and provided a polycarbonate material to be used to encase the batteries for the car. The lightweight, material was fused together with a chemical bonding agent recommended by Curbell that provided greater protection for the car’s interior parts. Patrick Castrechini, Curbell Plastics Business Manager for WNY and Rochester also worked with the team to provide guidance in material selection throughout the year as the team designed and built the new car from the ground up.

RIT Hot Wheelz competition team with Diana (car) after Formula Hybrid Competition
RIT Hot Wheelz competition team with Diana (car) after Formula Hybrid Competition.

MacKenzie Woodhouse, a fourth year electrical engineering student and electrical powertrain subgroup lead, describes how she was not sure she had chosen the right major in electrical engineering until she joined the team and gained practical experience and a better understanding of what the field was truly like. According to MacKenzie, “I fell in love with engineering as a result of the work we did on the car and I also gained real world experience in other ways. Having to reach out to potential donors and then work with a company like Curbell Plastics is part of the engineering profession. Potential employers are really impressed when our team demonstrates that type of experience as well as the hands-on work it takes to design and build the car. It has been very helpful getting advice and perspective from the people at Curbell to guide us.”

This was the team’s third competition, but the first time competing as a hybrid team. After taking first place in the all-electric category in 2017, the women decided to take on the challenge of designing and building a hybrid car which has batteries that power the motor to make the car move. When the power in the batteries gets low, there is a gas powered generator that turns on to charge the batteries while the car is in motion. They finished 3rd in the competition.

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 76-year history headquartered in Orchard Park, New York.