Extrusion R&D pioneer Norton Wheeler, Jr. passes away
Wheeler’s 60-year career was spent entirely with Pawcatuck, Conn.-based extrusion equipment maker Davis-Standard LLC, where in the early 1980s he patented the well-known DSB screw design.
Extrusion industry pioneer and inventor Norton Wheeler, Jr. passed away on Sept. 29 in Mystic, Conn. aged 96.
Wheeler’s 60-year career was spent entirely with Pawcatuck, Conn.-based extrusion equipment maker Davis-Standard LLC, which he joined in 1951. He spearheaded Davis-Standard’s first lab in the 1960s, growing the facility from a small space to a building equipped for customer trials and extensive R&D within a decade. During the following 20 years, he conducted extensive research on feedscrew design and extrusion process control. In the early 1980s, Wheeler patented the well-known DSB screw design, which overcame limitations of existing barrier screws by optimizing the screw’s melt region, leading to improved stability and performance. The DSB quickly became one of the industry’s premier feedscrews, helped Davis-Standard company expand into multiple processing areas such as pipe and profile and sheet, and continues to be the basis for all the company’s screw designs. “Norton’s achievements not only defined Davis-Standard as an R&D leader, but they changed the industry,” said John Christiano, Davis-Standard’s vice president of extrusion technology.
After his retirement in 1989, Wheeler remained engaged as a consultant until the age of 90. He was awarded Fellow of the Society of Plastics Engineers in 1985 and received the Bruce C. Maddock Award in 1998 for his pioneering work in R&D.