Sunday, 15 January 2012

Monday, 2 January 2012

Presidents Column Jan 2012

Dear Members,

Firstly,  may I wish you all a happy and prosperous 2012!

I hope that you’ve been able to have a rest over the festive season, although I do realise that for many this time of year is taken as an opportunity to reline, repair or rebuild and therefore the last few weeks may have been spent in the bowels of re-heat furnaces, cements kilns etc; specifically I hope that the good weather holds (in the UK) for those working with castables; it’s really no fun keeping the material and indeed yourself warm (I suspect this is not a problem with our South African and Australian members at this time of year).

Looking ahead into 2012 with the branch programmes in full swing; an annual conference and training day planned for September (26 th & 27 th); the essential foundations for the Institute year have been laid, however we must now build on this platform.

Over the last few years it has become very evident that there is a training need in our industry and the industries that use our expertise; certainly I have experienced a defined shift from customers specifying refractory lining concepts to reliance on supplier recommendation. This process has generally been associated with the demise of customer based refractory engineers and it’s now pleasing that this trend is being reversed, although throughout this evolution I must note that some companies have maintained their refractory interests.

It is my considered opinion that the most successful refractory enterprises are resultant of a multi-disciplinary approach with interaction between supplier and customer. We must therefore be talking the same language and this is where the Institute has a role.

Our training days and other Institute training courses have been well received and consequently our membership has grown. Training is obviously a key component of our future and the executive committee has endorsed the creation of a sub-committee specifically to focus on the Institute’s approach and what kind of “qualification” we could offer (still at an embryonic state).

Unfortunately “refractory engineering” has been chiefly abandoned by further education establishments; diluted by the materials approach which cannot undertake the examination of the vast range of ceramics yet alone the diverse refractories subgroup.

With the considerable knowledge and experience within the Institute membership, I believe we can deliver a high quality of training and thereby support the growth and future of the Institute itself.

In conjunction with the training agenda; I’m keen that we provide easy access to the information data base already available to the Institute and there are a plethora of information technology tools available to do this.

I want to fulfil the aims of the Institute to “disseminate information” and “encourage the exchange of information and ideas amongst the members”; perhaps a member forum to discuss issues. At the moment these proposals are very much at a planning stage, however your ideas are very much welcomed and please feel free to e-mail me on with your views in this regard.

At this point in my column I want to look toward the past rather than the future. On the 13 th of November 2011 we celebrated the Institute’s 50 th Anniversary; the Jubilee Ball on the 12 th will definitely be a night to remember.

As I was recalling at the Cutlers’ Hall the small group of six who had “generally agreed that the idea (forming of an Institute) in principle was sound”; I didn’t know that recently one of those six had passed away and I would like to send my and the Institutes’ condolences to the family of Mr Raymond (Ray) Stokes; although I never met Ray, he was fundamental to the founding of the Institute and will be remembered fondly by all those who knew him and those who review the “first minutes” published in the 50 thAnniversary booklet.

Once again I hope that you all have a very happy 2012; look forward to seeing you at branch meetings and the annual conference.

Chris Windle

Sunday, 1 January 2012

IRE National Conference 2012

National Conference 2012:
Wednesday 26th of September 2012, Kenwood Hall, Sheffield

Training Day:
Thursday 27th September 2012, Kenwood Hall, Sheffield

Further Information will be made available when possible.