Gymnasium students from Klaipėda get to grips with engineering by exploring the opportunities of recycled plastics
Twelve students from the Klaipėda city Baltic Gymnasium’s engineering class concluded their one-year practical experience with PET and plastic producer NEO GROUP. During the year the students created a manufacturing process for aromatic polyester polyol (APP) – a material made from recycled plastic and used in the construction industry.
According to the students, such as involvement with industrial technologies and processes not only encourages them to choose engineering studies but also to contribute in the future to creating innovative and sustainable products in their home city. The Baltic Gymnasium High School’s experience in participating in company life has begun in 2018 and after a successful pilot project visits one of the largest and most modern European PET manufacturers NEO GROUP, which operates in Klaipėda FEZ, joined the initiative to encourage engineering practices and involvement. During the nine-month-long project, twelve engineering section students were split into four teams and within the project spent several hours a month working alongside NEO GROUP specialist-mentors. They gained experience in automation, energy systems, mechanics and technology, with the school year being crowned by a final engineering project, which combined all these elements – the presentation of a continuous APP manufacturing process.
NEO GROUP CEO Ruslanas Radajevas says that gymnasium students nowadays are particularly interested in the topics of sustainability, recycling, environmental or circular economy and are pleased to learn that these issues can be solved through engineering knowledge and experience.
“Therefore, for the main part of our project, we chose to look closer into the manufacturing processes and technologies of one of our most ecological and sustainable products – APP. For the production of this material, we use around 45% of recycled plastic, returning it back to a new, meaningful and effective life in the construction industry. We are pleased not only because we showed how an engineering industry company operates, but also because we demonstrated to our young people that engineering, mechanics, and technology are the fundamental tools to resolve global sustainability and environmental protection questions,”
— R. Radajevas comments.