Profile: Adriana Velasquez, Sr. Technical Service Engineer, Shell Polymers

Polymer Profile 2x4: Adriana Velasquez Senior Technical Service Engineer | Rotomolding

Our 2x4 series shares two fun facts and four expert tips from the people who are helping us to create an unrivaled customer experience.

By Shell Polymers on Feb 28, 2020

With the opening of its new polyethylene plant in Monaca, USA, right around the corner, Shell Polymers has been hiring a team of industry experts, aka Polymer Pioneers and Polymer Pros, who have a proven track record in PE. In this “2x4”, Senior Technical Service Engineer Adriana Velasquez reveals two personal facts and her top four rotational molding technical tips.

Adriana has more than 10 years’ experience of helping customers to innovate in pipe applications and resolving technical issues in rotational molding. 

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What are your daily duties as a senior technical service engineer?

Most of my day is spent attending to our customers’ technical issues, answering their questions and running trials and tests to address their needs. I am also Shell’s representative in external standards, certification and public safety organizations, including ASTM, and industry organizations such as the Plastics Pipe Institute and the Plastic Pipe and Fittings Association, of which I am the Technical Committee Vice-Chair.

“A deep understanding of our customers’ goals is vital.” 

How do you strive to create the unrivaled customer experience within your role at Shell Polymers?

I think a deep understanding of our customers’ goals is vital to enabling them to achieve their objectives. So I meet them frequently to learn about their processes, what they are working on and what their goals are. Then I provide them with a realistic timeline for the tasks necessary to address their issues or projects, and I strive to make sure we deliver on time.

Adriana presenting at a Great Minds event
Adriana presenting at a Great Minds event

What sets Shell Polymers apart from other suppliers?

The location in Monaca could be really valuable for customers because it’s right in the backyard of much of the current North American PE industry. That means we’ll be able to get product to most customers very quickly.

It also means that it will be easy for them to come and use the equipment in our application hall, which will be on the same site and will house cutting-edge analytical and product application equipment. They may be able to avoid shutting down their own lines by using this for testing or troubleshooting.

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What activities or hobbies do you participate in outside work?

In my role as a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) ambassador, I speak at local student events, and I am proud to be part of a global program helping to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers. 

I recently began Latin ballroom dancing, and last year I competed in the Las Vegas Open Competition. I competed in three single dances and two combined dances in my age and level category. I was awarded first place in all the single dances, first place in one of the combinations and second in the other.

Las Vegas Open Competition in March 2019
Las Vegas Open Competition in March 2019

How did you get started in these hobbies?

Our future is our children, so I grabbed the opportunity to talk to students about STEM careers. It’s so rewarding to think that a young person may consider a career in engineering that they had perhaps never thought of before. I would encourage anyone in a scientific career to consider becoming a STEM ambassador.

I’ve loved dancing all my life, but I never formally learned to dance; I just did what’s called street dance. I’d always admired ballroom dancers and wondered if I could do the same, so I started classes and realized that I enjoyed them very much, and I have done very well in the competitions.

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Adriana’s Top Four Technical Tips

  • 1. Take care when you transport resin from silos.

    If there are too many 90° elbows, the resin may develop “tails”, “angel hair” or what some people call “bird’s nests”, but these can be avoided with proper control of the equipment and lines used to move the resin.

  • 2. Select your additive package carefully.

    People need to remember that not every additive package will give you everything you need. Too much of one additive can affect the product attributes conferred by others. Therefore, I suggest selecting an additive package that meets your needs and maximizes your product’s key attributes.

  • 3. Optimize your water-to-air ratio during cooling.

    It’s always better to use water and air mist during rotational molding for faster cooling, but do not add too much water because it may act as an insulator and thus increase the cooling time and overall cycle time.

  • 4. Run thickness experiments when using a new mold.

    During rotational molding, the thickness will help to determine the optimum major and minor axis speeds and ratios.