orderForm.noItems PRESIDENT’S COLUMN

Dear Members and Colleagues

A very warm welcome to the July 2018 journal! I was told, to be a proper Englishman you have to talk about the weather all day long. Every discussion should be introduced by a chat about the weather. Indeed, the heat is just flooding in from the South, not allowing any Atlantic cool air to enter the space above this little island. Grass is as dry as winter on the Highveld in South Africa. Saw some lawn bowlers the other day; also a very English sport, however, played in many countries now for those who may start to think I am biased towards the English. Those who are not so familiar with the sport; it is normally played on a large, precisely levelled, manicured and rectangular field, known as a bowling green. I am sure this is one of those very rare occasions where the name should rather be bowling area, because there was no indication of anything green. In fact, when they rolled a ball there was a trail of dust following the ball’s trajectory.

When we talk about heat in the UK, it reminds me of the relativity of this thermodynamic concept of energy. Tex (a very dear colleague of mine) and I had to do an inspection in the channels of a primary reformer in the Middle East. A task considered to be simple under our “normal” conditions. However, for an Englishman having to work in temperatures in excess of 40 degrees Celsius accompanied by high humidity, in a confined space, delivered results similar to the tasks performed during spacewalking – very slow with lots of breaks. The mere bending down and taking a reading from a tape measure felt more like operating a paving breaker in hell. Then, on the other extreme, I stayed over in Goa when the temperatures dropped to a record low of 17.8°C and the locals put their coats and jerseys on, complaining it was too cold.

The results of the survey came out. The response was considered to be good for similar surveys and the details are given further on in the journal. It is encouraging that there is still a need for the institute to exist. It is one of those things that when one is involved in it,

it just seems logical and

obvious that people would want to be part of it, however, not everybody may share the same sentiments as me. There


has been a number of suggestions as to what could be improved to liven it up a notch or two. All the comments are considered important and relevant even though some may be full on the nose. The challenge now is to figure out the best ways to get it implemented. I think I am starting to get an idea of what it must be like to be a politician.

Regarding the conference, we are still looking for a brave end user or two to give us their views on the challenges facing them when selecting designs or operating and maintaining their thermal oxidisers or waste incineration units.

Finally, the golf day is still being organised. Apparently, and I am no golfer, it is not so easy to find a course that would allow us to occupy the full circuit at once. The idea was to start everyone at the same time, but different holes (hope I got that right).

Greetings till next time and enjoy the summer holidays.

Jan DuPlessis Theron President

Institute of Refractories Engineers

President’s Column

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