By SARA UDDIN
You may be asking yourselves, ¨What is Berry Botics Inc.?¨ Berry Robotics Inc. is the robotics team based out of Cranberry Area High School. The team is split into two sections, the marketing team and the build team. The team, however, includes a total of approximately twenty students ranging from the junior high level to the senior high level.
Berry Botics was officially formed approximately two years ago by Gayle Mitchell, Cranberry’s gifted program teacher, and Zach Bedee, Cranberry’s Physics teacher. The CEO of this year’s robotics team is Jenna Seigworth. Seigworth, along with other team members, is currently trying to prepare for the annual BEST (Boosting Engineering, Science, & Technology) Robotics Competition on Oct. 20 at Penn State DuBois.
Each year, the competition is based around a theme, usually one designed to better the environment. This year, the goal is to have a robot that is able to pick up trash from the ocean. Berry Botics Inc. will have to battle head to head with approximately nine different schools.
Last year, Berry Botics Inc. placed third at the regional event and is currently aiming for the first place title this year.
Since Berry Botics Inc. is not a school funded club, the team reaches out to local businesses and explain what they are doing in an attempt to receive sponsorships.
This year, a local business named Green Line Polymers donated $1,000 to Berry Botics Inc. to help fund their robot. Berry Botics Inc.’s marketing advisor, Mitchell stated, “We were so surprised and grateful to receive such a generous donation.”
Green Line Polymers, directly owned by Advantage Drainage Systems (ADS), is a high-density polyethylene recycling plant in Shippenville. It is one of four such operating facilities in the United States. Green Line Polymer started production April 22, 2013, which was also Earth Day. Since then, they have expanded their facilities tremendously.
Green Line Polymers is one of the largest polyethylene buyers in the region. They buy large quantities of colorful bottles/jugs from companies all across the nation.
As noted by Erik Schroder, Green Line Polymer’s Plant Manager, “Our Goal is to manufacture a cost effective, high quality, raw material allowing us to control our own destiny while having a positive environmental impact.”
Not only is Green Line Polymers one of the leading recycling plants in the country but they also employ slightly over 4,000 employees throughout their various plants. In addition to the environmental work Green Line Polymers does, they often take the time to give educational tours to local students such as the members of Berry Botics Inc..
Berry Botics Inc. recently toured their facility on Oct. 3, seeking the ability to learn more about the process of recycling and the different properties of various plastics.
“It was an amazing experience to be able to see exactly what we have been researching for the last month in action,” said Seigworth.
Soon after arriving at the plant, the members of Berry Botics Inc. witnessed the sorting of various plastics to identify the individual ranges; the plastics were then melted into pellets. Students seemed shocked at the complexity of the recycling process.
As students moved through the facility, they were guided and educated about the process by Plant Manager, Erik Schroder, and Production Manager, Clint Hartle. After the robotics team observed the polyethylene bottle process, students were informed about the black corrugated pipes which Advanced Drainage Systems presently produces.
As noted by Seigworth, referring to the trip, “It makes the long hours worth it knowing that the effort that we are putting in has real world application.”
Sara Uddin is a student at Cranberry High School and a member of the school’s journalism/publications group.