President’s Column PRESIDENT’S COLUMN

Dear Members and Colleagues

Refractories are often

subjected to thermal shock and is indeed one of the common means of failure. In coming back to the UK from a Christmas spent in the southern hemisphere (South Africa) where the seasons are reversed and temperatures were on average in the mid-thirties, and then being exposed to temperatures close to freezing, was such a significant change that I could not function properly. Interestingly enough, the change from cold to hot did not affect me in the same way as hot to cold, and this made me think about how heating rates for refractory linings are often considered very carefully, however,

cooling rates are often neglected. It is my

experience that more damage is generally done during unit cool downs rather than with start-ups. I guess I must have a lot in common with refractories.

Not surprisingly, but the cold weather has delayed my reactions in wishing you all a very fulfilling new year!!! By the time you read this, all good intentions for the New Year may all be gone already? Let’s hope not.

The year 2019 has started with wheels turning even before we hit the ground. Preparations are in full swing for the conference in November which, this year, will focus on the petrochemical industry with the title being: 'Advances in the use of Refractories in the Petrochemical Industry'. New developments in materials and anchoring systems along with design has been slow, but some of it has been piloted and is hopefully ready to share with the rest of the industry. Even though the culture that exists within the petrochemical world are often considered scary, this should of course not deter anybody from other industries to attend the conference. One often learns a lot from other industries with different problems.

Exciting times lies ahead of us with the development of the new website that will hopefully reflect a more professional outlook of the Institute. In the end it is now up to each member to inspect the site with a critical eye. Imagine it is


a new brick lining and you are to sign it off for operation, or maybe not? I think what I want to say is that nothing will change by itself if constructive criticism is not provided.

It has been mentioned a number of times in the past that the IRE constitution is old fashioned, not relevant, dinosaur, old man’s club, etc. I have some good news about changing this archaic status of the Institute; Katy Moss has been elected to serve on the executive committee as Senior Vice President. This was indeed an extraordinary event in the sense that all the members voted positively to appointing someone into this position without having to serve a term upfront on council. My guess is that this may just be the beginning of more changes, and therefore it will be important that members stay awake and on top of what is happening.

In reflection to the past year; the conference, “The Witches Cauldron”, which focussed on the Waste-to-Energy Industry, went very well. Excellent papers were presented and there was good attendance with a round off figure of fifty. Tina Svensen from Zampell gave a very good overview of the business in Denmark indicating that soon they will run out of raw materials (waste) to process. She also discussed the effectiveness of simpler refractory linings. Laurie San- Miguel presented a paper on the latest Silicon Carbide tiles from Saint-Gobain with much higher resistance to alkali attack. Markus Horn from Junger + Grater GmbH showed us very innovative solutions to common, but complex movement of refractory materials in specific areas. Mariana Loo-Moorey from the Health and Safety Executive gave us a bit of insight into the way accidents and incidents are handled and investigated. Marius Cronje from Simera did a video presentation from South Africa. He discussed the use of Industry 4.0 in a manufacturing environment and how modelling, and in specific Finite Element Analysis (FEA) forms key components of the Industry 4.0 processes. All being very futuristic aspirations for the refractory industry indeed!

For those who missed out on the conference, some of the presentations will in due time be transcribed into the journal, which you should receive through your letterbox or if you wish on your tablet.

Jan DuPlessis Theron President

Institute of Refractories Engineers ENGINEER THE REFRACTORIES January 2019 Issue

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