SPE Honors Noel Tessier

The Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) Thermoforming Division has presented Noel Tessier of CMT Materials, Inc. with its lifetime achievement award.  The honoree was selected by the Division’s Executive Committee, and the award was presented to Mr. Tessier on September 27, during SPE’s Thermoforming Awards Dinner in Schaumburg, IL. For the full press release from SPE, please visit the official website here.


(SPE Thermoforming Division Chairman, Bret Joslyn, presents the Lifetime Achievement Award to Noel Tessier of CMT Materials)

In addition to the official release, we would like to share one of the testimonials that Noel received from his industry colleagues in both Europe and the US. This one came from Sven Engelmann, Dipl-Ing., Director of Packaging Technology at Illig in Heilbronn, Germany:

“Ever since the early days of thermoforming, the use of plug assists has played a major role in this processing technology. We all know that in polymer processing, thermoforming is also referred to as the “black art”. Thermoform tool and mold makers have designed structured systems which make the operation of thermoforming applications easy. Most thermoforming molds require the use of a plug assist in order to improve material distribution and to manage critical deep-draw ratios.

It is not only the shape of a plug assist that determines whether an application will be successful, it is also the material from which the plug assist is made that plays a major role in final part construction. Plug assist material contains certain properties like low density, ductility, durability and thermal insulation, all of which affect the coefficient of friction, one of the most important variables in plug-assist thermoforming.

Since the first thermoforming applications were developed, several materials have been used to help improve the effectiveness of the plug-assist process. Materials like wood, felt, nylon, polyacetal, syntactic foam and aluminum were used. This wide variety of materials did not support a simple solution for people engaged in thermoforming nor did it allow for those companies supplying such materials to gain knowledge of the processing behavior of the materials being used as plug assists.

Some 15 years ago, Noel Tessier, who came from the material developing industry, recognized that the plug assist material supplier must play a major role in order to achieve improved repeatability in thermoforming. That role would help to close the gap between highly-sophisticated machines and molds on one side and the poorly-understood science of plug assist materials on the other. Noel understood that not only did the thermoforming industry need a new supply of materials for plug assists, but it also needed the transfer of knowledge about plug assist material properties.

It is given that different polymers require different plug assist materials. Noel’s aim was to supply plug assist materials suitable for all tasks. Therefore he had to develop different materials which all belong to a series. For instance, there are specific materials for the production of high transparent drinking cups, polypropylene applications, FDA-approved products, barrier films, polyethylene layers which act as sealants in MAP food applications. This level of specification was simply not available to processors before Noel’s work.

Noel conducted a tremendous amount of test trials and visited customers all around the world. He worked together with universities who specialized in polymer processing and thermoforming (e. g. University of Stuttgart, Queens College, University of Massachusetts, Lowell). During the last decade, Noel established a whole family of HYTAC® materials that is now widely regarded as the global benchmark for thermoforming.

Noel continues to work in an R&D capacity while previous and current iterations of HYTAC materials continue to find acceptance in thermoforming applications around the world. Beyond his technical acumen, Noel has always had a keen ability to listen to users and tackle challenges with a good sense of humor.

Noel Tessier is certainly a person whose contributions have helped an entire industry become more sophisticated, more reliable with a more repeatable process.”