Our March meeting visited Blacksburg, VA again this year. This is always a great meeting because on top of our incredible speakers we also have the chance to interact with the AFS Student Chapter at VA Tech. The students are eager to tell us about the projects they are working on and get to know many of the industry members that come to this meeting. If you missed the meeting, you missed a great opportunity to meet, and possibly hire, great young talent. *Note: Names highlighted in blue contain links to the presentations that were given.
This meeting focused on preparing for the upcoming silica regulations that go into effect June of this year. John Brown, of IAC, spoke on new baghouse technology and then Anthony Deluca, of Unimin spoke on silica sand itself and some recent improvements being made in that industry. Pete Satre, from Allied Mineral, gave a great talk about both silica and non-silica refractories, and Glenn Honeycutt of Charlotte Pipe & Foundry spoke on the new silica regulation itself.
After lunch Bryon Owens, of Tyler Union Foundry, spoke to us about what they have done at their foundry in order to prepare for the upcoming regulations. Jeff Krause from HA International followed with a talk about shellsand and coldbox resins. Libby Rider of Graham White gave us an update from FEF and we finished off the afternoon with VTFIRE students presenting some of the projects they have been working on.
During dinner we awarded our annual VTFIRE scholarships. This year was amazing! There was a total of $25,000 given away to 17 students. A few students received multiple awards. It is encouraging to see so much talent so enthusiastic about joining our industry. If you have not been to our meeting in Blacksburg, VA before, you definitely need to make plans to come next time! On top of recognizing those that are about to join our industry, we also recognize those that have come before us. After the scholarship presentations, we recognized all of our past chairmen of the Piedmont Chapter.
On Thursday morning we finished our meeting with a tour of Federal Mogul. This facility manufactures bimetal bearings. These primarily include the main bearings in automotive engines. They cast their own aluminum strips, then adhere the aluminum and steel strips together with a very impressive process. The tour was amazing and we want to thank Steve LaPlante and Niven Monsegue for a very in depth and informative tour of their facility.