Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Sheffield Branch News

The Sheffield branch programme commenced on the 17th of October with an excellent paper “CMA 72 a unique multicomponent calcium-magnesiumaluminate binder” presented by Fabien Simonin of Kerneos.

This was followed by a committee meeting in November and a joint meeting with Stoke branch in January. For many reasons I approached the joint meeting with a sense of trepidation, not least of which was the weather, however with the technology “gremlins” overcome, both branches hopefully enjoyed my presentation “Glass furnace Refractories, The Good the Bad and the Ugly” which is to be found in the edition of the Journal.

In February we unfortunately could not run the presentation, however we look forward to the 20th of March when Christian Lengdobler of RW Silicium visits to present a review of silica fume use in refractory manufacture.

A couple more dates for your diary; on the 24th of April the A.G.M will be held at the Harlequin Public House in Sheffield and the Sheffield Branch Golf Day will be held on the 26th of June at Wortley Golf Club. If you require further details please contact

Branch meetings meet new level in technology

Branch meetings meet new level in technology

President Chris Windle recently gave a paper at Ceram Research for Stoke Branch the paper was entitled the Good the Bad and the Ugly, and with the help of Andy Rotherham from Proskills the Institute were able to transmit the sound and images of Chris giving his presentation to the Sheffield Branch.

The Institute considered this to be a milestone and enabled us to have two separate audiences at separate venues. There would be no limit to the number of separate venues, and so in theory one paper could be simultaneously presented to all the Branches throughout the World, the only complication being the time difference. The cost of this was minimal and was transmitted by mobile phones and the internet although the transmission was not perfect we now feel that it can be improved on and will be an experiment that will be repeated in the near future. With Branch attendances being lower than in the past it certainly is a way of increasing the numbers in
the audience and making the work put in by the authors more rewarding. With the opportunity to get their message to a larger audience, it also means that less active
branches could share presentations with the more active branches and help stimulate interest in areas where it is difficult to get good speakers. It was very fitting that on this first presentation it was our current President giving the paper. The Stoke Branch did advertise that they were planning this event with Sheffield Branch and it was quite apt that there biggest audience for several years attended the meeting at Ceram, giving a total audience of almost 50 members. This was the largest audience in the UK for a single paper at a Branch meeting for many years. Our President’s paper is published elsewhere in the Journal.

Jayne Woodhead
General Secretary & Treasurer

IRE Training Day 2013

Institute of Refractories Engineers Training Day 2013

Shaped High Alumina Refractories

31st October 2013 Venue: Kenwood Hall, Kenwood Road, Sheffield S7 1NQ

Use the following link to download the application form

National Dinner Dance

Following the success of the Jubilee Ball last year. The Stoke Branch of the Institute will be hosting The National Dinner Dance on Saturday 11th

May 2013 at the De Vere Wychwood Park Hotel, Weston, Crewe. Book your table now to avoid disappointment. Ticket price to be confirmed.
On the morning of the Dinner, Tee times have been booked for you golf lovers, if you would like to play golf please let me know asap to avoid disappointment it is £30 per head and again numbers will be limited.

Please contact Jayne Woodhead on 01782 310234 or email

National Conference 2013

National Conference 2013

“The Competitive Edge-Refractories for Industrial Processing”

(New products, Installation and Inspection, Energy Efficiency)

30th October. 2013 Venue: Kenwood Hall, Kenwood Road, Sheffield S7 1NQ

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

2013 AGM Conference & Training Day - Date Change

Please note there has been a date change for the 2013 AGM, Conference and Training Day. These will now take place on Wednesday 30th October with the Training Day on Thursday 31st October. More details about these events will be publicised soon.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Presidents Column March 2013

Dear Members

 In my column back in July 2012, I mentioned that we intended to organise a joint technical meeting between the Sheffield and Stoke branches.

The date set was 22nd of January (2013) and despite wintry conditions which made the
Derbyshire-Staffordshire trip somewhat slow, we did manage to achieve it. Many thanks should be extended to Mr Andy Rotherham of Proskills Group for his persistence, patience and use of mobile phone to transmit audio.

At the Sheffield Branch I have been advised that Daniel from the Davy Sports and Social Club was instrumental in boosting their wifi signal through his mobile and I also thank Wade Cooke of DSF for his diligence and calmness when for some inexplicable reason the web hosting site decided to cancel our session and Andy had to re-set the meeting with revised
passwords etc.

Some “teething” problems were inevitable I suppose, however “Glass Furnace Refractories:- The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” was successfully transmitted from Stoke (Ceram) to Sheffield (Davy Sports and Social Club); in Sheffield they could see the presentation through the website and audio was very clear via the mobile phone. Apparently the only issue was that questions at the end of the presentation were inaudible in Sheffield although my responses were clearly heard; this is easily resolved by moving the mobile phone! A more detailed report of this lecture can be seen on page 8 of this journal. Those who are experienced with video conferencing or indeed skype may suggest that there are other methods that could be employed to create a joint meeting. The benefit of using this
system is that we’re able to use any room with a good wifi signal and audio is just via mobile phone so it’s merely a case of phoning a number. The mobile phone was plugged into some speakers through 3.5mm jack so that all could hear.

So, in summary it worked well and Andy is seeking to improve the system if we want to try again in the future.

It has become evident that it is increasingly difficult to persuade people to give presentations and I think this is a corollary of the amount of time that’s available for such things in current working life. Joint meetings therefore open up the opportunity of a reduced number of speakers required and naturally for the speaker a wider target audience. So an aim for the Institute should be that when branch programmes are established for 2013/2014, a couple of joint meetings are included. This could include South Wales and probably South Africa which is only 2 hours ahead time zone wise, although I’m not sure what the mobile cost would be!

As for further news from the Institute, I thank Mr Keith Andrews for the summary he gave of the council meeting in the January edition of the Journal. At the moment I have very little to add as the next Executive meeting will not be until the 11th of March.

The council’s attention will be on the National Conference and the associated Training Day. The Training Day programme is virtually finalised, the theme this year will be “Shaped High
Alumino-Silicate Refractories”.

We also have the National Dinner Dance and the organisation of this seems very well advanced.

On a wider note it appears that 2013 continues to be a difficult year for all manufacturing sectors and at the heart of this therefore refractory manufacturers and installers. Every year seems to get harder and sadly a little less enjoyable as all business is hard fought for.

I hope that during these difficult times the Institute provides not only information but a sense of community and most of all helps to invigorate our interest in this complex and ultimately rewarding industry.

Once again dates for your diary; National Dinner Dance 2013 will be held on Saturday the 11th of May at the Wychwood Park Hotel, Weston, Crewe and the National Conference & Training Days on the 25th and 26th of September at Kenwood Hall in Sheffield.

Chris Windle