Daily News

ATAS sponsors local science center

Allentown, Pa.-based ATAS International Inc. is sponsoring the Summer of Manufacturing at the Da Vinci Science Center in Allentown. The Summer of Manufacturing highlights the manufacturing heritage of eastern Pennsylvania and the companies that contribute to the technology-driven area.

ATAS embraced the sponsorship opportunity and got involved in many different ways, including creating a mini-rollformer. This machine teaches the children how metal roofing and wall panels are created, as well as how to compare strengths of panels. Instead of metal, the kids receive a piece of flat paper (a panel) for the hands-on demonstration. They first test the strength of the “panel” by placing metal washers on paper that is resting on a support at either end. As the paper buckles under the weight of just a few washers, it shows that a flat panel isn’t very strong. They then run the paper through the rollformer to create a corrugated “panel,” and next they test this “panel” for strength. From the experiment, the kids learn that a corrugated piece of paper (panel) can hold three to seven times more weight than a non-corrugated one.

The exhibit also includes a display of panels in different manufacturing stages to teach how metal panels are formed. The first panel is flat, the second is a piece of metal formed halfway through a rollformer and the last panel is the finished profile. All the panels have corresponding pictures of the rollformer that created them and descriptions to tie everything together.

ATAS also created an experiment comparing asphalt shingles and metal roofing. ATAS staff built two mini-homes-one with an asphalt roof and one with a metal roof. The homes are equipped with temperature gauges inside and heat lamps outside pointing on the rooftops. The children are asked to guess which roof is cooler, and then they can read the temperature gauges for proof. Time after time, the metal roof proves much cooler than the asphalt.

A final experiment gives kids the opportunity to “emboss” metal. The children use fondant mats, paint rollers and aluminum foil to understand the concept of embossing.

Lastly, ATAS created the “I’m a Maker” series of video profiles. The concept for the video profiles came from “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” and his tours of factories. ATAS’ three-minute video introduces children to ATAS, its employees and its facility, and the interviews discuss the equipment, skills and technology needed to create ATAS products. Some ATAS employees even discuss the importance of kids staying in school, as well as the value of continuing education within employees’ careers.

The Summer of Manufacturing continues through Oct. 16. For more information, visit www.davincisciencecenter.org.