Hartsville, SC

R&D Engineer – Thermoformed Packaging

This role falls under the supervision of the R&D Director for the Thermoformed Packaging department and involves the development, design, and qualification of new thermoplastic materials and processes for our target markets.

The individual will play a key role in finding sustainable packaging solutions for our clients by applying their technical expertise and innovative ideas in polymer technologies to manage and execute important projects from inception to commercialization.

The ideal candidate should possess a deep understanding of plastics extrusion, thermoforming, and material handling, along with extensive knowledge of the thermal, mechanical, and rheological properties of thermoplastics. They will also be responsible for identifying growth opportunities and driving initiatives to increase productivity, capacity, and efficiency across our manufacturing facilities.

Your responsibilities will include:

  • Serving as a subject matter expert in the processing of plastic materials for consumer packaging
  • Providing recommendations and expertise on manufacturing equipment necessary to support present operations and enable future growth
  • Addressing internal and external customer needs and identifying packaging opportunities within a manufacturing setting
  • Collaborating with internal cross-functional teams, suppliers, and equipment manufacturers to manage the technical integration of projects and solve complex problems in order to enhance product performance for Sonoco’s customers in a timely and cost-effective manner
  • Generating new ideas to support the R&D product innovation and technology strategy
  • Cultivating an environment that motivates and engages others in the R&D organization to achieve desired outcomes
  • Promoting a positive and safe work environment through open communication and teamwork
  • Ensuring compliance with company safety policies and procedures to safeguard all employees
  • Travel requirement of up to 30%, primarily within the country

This position is based at our Corporate Office in Hartsville, SC

We are looking for candidates who have:

  • B.S./M.S. in Mechanical Engineering, Plastics Engineering, Chemical Engineering, or Polymer Science
  • At least 7 years of relevant experience with a solid technical background in plastics manufacturing and processing (e.g., extrusion, thermoforming, tooling); experience in consumer-based food packaging would be advantageous
  • Experience in a manufacturing environment and a track record of successfully leading capital projects involving Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and suppliers
  • Working knowledge of resins, additives, coatings, and laminates
  • A results-driven mindset with a strong sense of personal initiative, energy, and accountability for success
  • A curious mindset, actively keeping abreast of new and emerging technologies within and outside the industry
  • A self-motivated individual with a positive attitude and the ability to work independently
  • Experience leading projects that involve collaboration across various functions within the organization (e.g., commercial, manufacturing, supply management)
  • Excellent technical capabilities and problem-solving skills
  • Effective written and verbal communication skills
  • The ability to thrive in a fast-paced, results-oriented environment
  • Highly organized and self-motivated, with a hands-on work ethic
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