In Memory of Robert “Bob” Charvat

Bob’s legacy lives on in the SPE CAD Scholarship program.

(March 2, 1930 – January 9, 2014)

Coloring of Plastics Fundamentals Cover

Robert “Bob” Charvat (12 papers) is probably one of today’s most recognizable presenters at the CAD conferences.  He was the last surviving founding member of the group who met in 1960 and formed the PAG that would eventually become the CAD. Bob was very generous with his time to the CAD division and to SPE in general during his 40+ years of participation. Bob joined SPE in November 1957. During that time, Bob  found time to present 12 times (not including his pre-conference tutorials) and moderated numerous times. Bob was the first general chairman of a RETEC to bring in a belly dancer at a cocktail reception at the 1974 RETEC in Cleveland, something to be very proud of at the time. Up until that time there were dinners rather than evening receptions at the CAD Conferences. Today the format of a welcome reception on opening night at CAD RETECs still holds, allowing attendees the opportunity to have dinners later in the evening with their customers and suppliers.   Bob was the last chairman of PAG before it was converted to the CAD Division

In 1994, Bob received SPE’s Honored Service Member award and in 2000 became a Fellow of the Society.5, 11 He qualified for Emeritus status in 2002.

Bob was also the editor of “Coloring of Plastics: Fundamentals – Volume 1” He was working on Volume 2 when he passed. One of the annual Scholarship awards is aptly name the “Robert Charvat Scholarship” in honor of Bob’s dedication to education.

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At the CAD Board’s 2015 Winter meeting, the following resolution was passed:

FOR Robert A. Charvat

WHEREAS, God with infinite wisdom has removed Robert A. Charvat from our ranks on January 9, 2014 and

WHEREAS, Robert A. Charvat has been an active and valued member of Society of Plastics Engineers Board of Directors since 1960 and SPE on Color and Appearance Division since its founding in 1957, and

WHEREAS, Robert A. Charvat served as the member of the Board of Directors on the Color and Appearance Division from 1960, and

WHEREAS, Robert A. Charvat continued efforts and contributions to the development of Society of Plastics Engineers Color and Appearance Division have made an important mark in areas served by Society of Plastics Engineers.

Be it therefore resolved, that the Board of Directors of the Society of Plastics Engineers, Color and Appearance Division, in General Session assembled this day July 30, 2014, bestow honor and pay respect to Robert A. Charvat.

Be it further resolved, that this resolution be spread in the official minutes of Society of Plastics Engineers, Color and Appearance Board of Directors and that a copy of this resolution, along with our sincere sympathies be conveyed to his family.

“Robert A. Charvat (Bob) has been extremely active in education within the plastics industry, and most specifically with the technology of the coloring of plastics.  In my 28 years within the coloring of plastics industry, I know of no one else who has contributed more to the general education of industry personnel than Bob.  Coloring of plastics technology is a combination of art and science, generally learned on-the-job.  Because of this, seminars and lectures are extremely important in the education process for individuals in the field of coloring plastics.  For many, this is the only classroom type education they receive that provides the fundamentals of this technology.  Bob has reached hundreds through his active participation as instructor for color seminars provided by the SPE Seminar Series, seminars at Color & Appearance Division RETECs, lectures at SPE Sections, and seminars provided by SPI.  Bob not only acts as instructor, but he developed most of the content for these seminars.  Publishing the textbook Coloring of Plastics: Fundamentals in 2003 provided Bob a way to reach hundreds more, and continues to serve as a text for courses and a reference guide throughout industry.  I know first hand that Bob is currently working on Volume 2, which will address applying those fundamentals to the specific polymers used in our industry.

Bob’s most important contribution to education in our industry was his involvement with developing and teaching as part of the Coloring of Plastics Program at Terra Community College.  In the mid 1980’s, the Color & Appearance Division saw that the demand for qualified color development specialists was increasing, but there was no place to develop this talent within academia.  As mentioned above, these specialists generally are hired with no experience or background in color or plastics, and have to learn on-the-job which not only takes significant time and resources for the company, but slows the individual’s ability to contribute.  My experience tells me that it takes about five years to develop a good color technologist using this approach.

The CAD decided to address this problem by partnering with a school to develop a two-year associate degree level program to train these specialists.  Terra Community College in Fremont, Ohio, was chosen because of its existing Plastics Program as well as its location.  It was estimated that 80% of the country’s coloring of plastics industry is located within a 500 mile radius of Fremont. Bob was instrumental in identifying Terra as the right partner and working with them to develop the curriculum for the program.  As a result, seven courses dealing specifically with color were developed for this program.  In addition, Bob served as an instructor for some or all of these courses from 1994 through 2006.

This program at Terra in the only program of its kind in the country (or world for that matter) that equips students with the theoretical and practical knowledge and skills needed in the specific field of color formulation in the plastics industry.  Fundamentals are taught in courses on color theory and colorants.  Students gain fundamental and practical knowledge of the procedures (ISO/ASTM), practices, and equipment commonly used in this industry.  They learn laboratory techniques to perform colorant evaluations, colorant compounding experiments, visual color matching, and instrumental color measurement and formulation.  The program at Terra graduated its first students in 1990.  Since its inception, over 250 students have enrolled in the program, with over 150 graduating.

Bob’s involvement with education in the field of coloring of plastics is unparalleled.  Most other aspects of the plastics industry have many avenues for teaching and preparing individuals for careers in industry.  The coloring of plastics industry has basically two – the undergraduate program at Terra and continuing education seminars offered by organizations like SPE.  Bob Charvat is the common thread to the success of both of these avenues and the growth and success of our industry.  I feel that Bob is truly deserving of this SPE Education Award.”
–Bruce Mulholland, Honored Fellow, SPE

 A Career of Contribution Summarized:

Membership in Technical or Professional Organizations:

Organization Dates of Affiliation
Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE) 1957 – present
Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI) 1986 – present
Inter-Society Color Council (ISCC) 1957 – present
Federation of Societies for Coatings Technology (FSCT) 1957 – present
Detroit Colour Council (DCC) 1962 – present

ther Significant Accomplishments in the Field of Plastics:

  • Last chairperson of Color & Appearance PAG before CAD became a division of SPE, and instrumental in the process of establishing CAD as a full division.
  • Significant contribution on developing weather specifications for vinyl within the Vinyl Institute of SPI
  • Chairman of the Committee on Weathering of the Vinyl Institute/SPI
  • First to discover and report on the IR reflection capabilities of colorants (lead to SPE Fellow status)
  • With BFG, became one of the first polymer companies to employ computer color matching in its infancy
  • Co-editor and major content providor of the SPE CAD Archive DVD, a technical paper compilation of every CAD conference since 1961, published in 2008.

Education Specific Information:

  • Program or Course Development, courses taught, years of experience
    • Bob was intimately involved with the development of a two-year Coloring of Plastics associate degree level program at Terra Community College in Fremont, Ohio.  Bob was instrumental in developing the overall curriculum for that program, as well as the specific courses listed below.

PET 124    Color Theory

PET 132    Organic & Inorganic Colorants

PET 211    Visual Color Matching

PET 215    Color Matching Projects

PET 220    Advanced Color Matching

PET 221    Instrument Color Matching

PET 233    Color Evaluation Lab

    • Bob was an instructor for these classes from 1994 to 2006
    • Bob has lectured on color theory and the coloring of plastics at the University of Akron, New Jersey Institute of Technology, and the University of Toronto.
  • Administration or supervisory support of polymer programs
    • Coloring of Plastics Industry Advisory Board member, 1998 – present
      • Advises Terra Community College regarding that program
      • Bob has been an active participant on this board since its inception in 1988, acting as part of the Terra program team and not from the industry side
    • Member of the Terra College Foundation Board, 2000 – present
      • Scholarship and general college fund raising organization
    • Member of the search committee for the Dean of the Engineering Division at Terra, 2002
    • Solicited R&D projects/grants for the Coloring of Plastics program, including working with major colorant manufacturers
      • Projects have included research on pigments, dyes, special effect pigments, and additives for plastics
    • Solicited equipment donations, colorant donations and resin donations from industry.
      • Equipment included a 75-ton injection molding machine, a twin-screw extruder, lab balances, QUV weathering device, and various other testing equipment
      • Color measuring instrumentation and software from all of the major equipment suppliers
      • Colorants and natural resin from many major suppliers.  Since the program started in 1988, it has never had to buy colorant or resin because of this.
    • Active in graduate placement, 1988 – present
  • Texts or manuals published
    • Coloring of Plastics:  Fundamentals
      • 2nd Edition, Wiley-Interscience (Nov 2003)
      • ISBN: 978-0-471-13906-5
      • This book is a required text for courses at Terra Community College
      • This book has gotten excellent reviews within the color industry
    • Bob authored at least one chapter in a text book regarding PVC, but he could not recall which one.  A book preview ofWho’s Who in Plastics shows that Bob wrote 4 chapters for books, but doesn’t cite references.
    • Bob has contributed to Modern Plastics Encyclopedia 2+ times over the years.
  • Contributions to professional groups active in polymer education
    • Society of Plastics Engineers
      • Has served as the Chairman of the Education Committee of the Color & Appearance Division for 14 years
      • Has been the instructor for the color seminar/workshop as part of the SPE Seminar Series for over 15 years
      • Has taught a coloring of plastics tutorial run in conjunction with the Color & Appearance Division RETECs for over 15 years
      • Has been program chairman for at least two CAD RETECs and two ANTEC Color & Appearance technical programs
    • Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI)
      • Numerous color seminars taught
  • Specific educational contributions to the industry or continuing education
    • Presented many technical papers at conferences.  The list below are just the ones presented at Color & Appearance Division conferences:
Publication Proceedings
Pigments and Fillers are Particulate Matter RETEC 2000
Terra Community College Coloring of Plastics Program RETEC 2004
Back to Basics 1 – Color Theory RETEC 2006
Back to Basics 2 – Color Measurement RETEC 2006
Back to Basics 3 – Colorants RETEC 2006
Back to Basics 4 – Color Perception & Optical Illusion RETEC 2006
Inorganic Yellows and Oranges for the Plastics Industry RETEC 1981
Rigid PVC Panel Weatherability Assessment … RETEC 1982
Comparative Abrasion Resistance Performance of Mercury …. RETEC 1988
Heat Build Up Characteristics of Selected Pigments RETEC 1989
Survey of How Selected Pigments Shift in Color as they … RETEC 1998
Current and Future Light Sources Confronting the Color matcher RETEC 2007
    • Lectured at various SPE Sections including Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Firelands and Akron
    • Lectured as part of Intertech Para including internationally in The Netherlands and Greece
    • Jointly developed and conducted a color lecture for the Colored Pigments Manufacturers Association (CPMA)