Robert L. Miller |
Robert L. Miller, P.E., 93, a chemical engineer who was internationally known as a expert in plastics extrusion, died of heart failure on August 22, 2013 in Barberton.
He was a Fellow of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (A.I. Ch. E.), which in 1988 named him Akron's Outstanding Chemical Engineer. He later led in creating The University of Akron Chemical Engineering College. In 1990 Theta Tau, the national engineering fraternity, elected him to its Hall of Fame.
For over 40 years his Norton, Ohio consulting practice, Northern Ohio Engineering, designed and supported plastics and rubber fabricating processes worldwide. He was an innovator in using recycled materials, and designed and patented a widely used feed throat for extruders. He also founded and headed Prime Plastics, a maker of plastic welding rod in Clinton, Ohio.
Still active at 91, Miller contributed to the three-extruder manufacturing process behind a new Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company multi-piece cushion technology for truck tire retreads. In 2012, Goodyear's technology won Tire Technology International's "Tire Manufacturing Innovation of the Year" award.
His designs helped realize such consumer products as corrugated drain pipe, flexible drinking straws, and "leaky" irrigation pipe. In the 1960s and 70s he ran operations for national plastic pipe producers Carlon and NRM.
As an American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) member he helped set standards and wrote a plastics extrusion handbook. He served on A.I. Ch. E.'s national Pollution Control Committee, chaired the Institute's Akron Section, and represented it on the Akron Council of Engineering and Scientific Societies. He also belonged to the Society of Plastics Engineers and co-founded the Corrugated Plastic Tubing Association.
Robert Leonard Miller, son of William Miller and Laura Pothast Miller, grew up on his parents' farm in Waverly, Iowa. He received a Bachelor of Science cum laude from the University of Iowa, and a Master of Science from Case Institute of Technology. On moving to Barberton, Ohio, he produced strategic chemicals at Columbia Southern, earning a 1944 War Department Board commendation, and met his future wife, Eleanor Hutson, granddaughter of longtime Columbia plant superintendant G.L. Hutson. Their marriage ended with her death in 1998. Miller is survived by sister, Marion Fruehling of Waverly, and by son, Robert, Jr., and granddaughter, Alexis Hutson Miller, both of Washington, D.C.
The family will host a memorial gathering on Sunday, September 29, from noon to 4 p.m. at the Barberton Brookside Country Club. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Theta Tau Foundation, Robert L. Miller Scholarship Fund; see www.thetatau.org.
Published in Akron Beacon Journal on Sept. 26, 2013