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Presidents Message - January 2011

By Peter Drechsler

Taking STLE Global

New initiatives and joint ventures are increasing our society's brand awareness worldwide.

While STLE is recognized as an international tribology organization, our brand awareness is primarily in North America and not as recognized globally. That’s why we are enhancing the STLE brand by participating with other organizations and events around the world. Our latest endeavors include a joint meeting with the Tribology Society of India (TSI) and the OilDoc Conference & Exhibition in Europe.

Our collaborative efforts with TSI led to a very successful threeday education event held in Gurgaon, India, last February. Dr. Robert Gresham and Mike Johnson represented STLE and taught courses on basic lubrication, friction and wear, base oils and additives, and condition monitoring. The feedback we received from participants was so enthusiastic that we are planning another joint TSI/STLE education event this year. This event, also in Gurgaon, is Feb. 14-16 and includes a course on metalworking fluids. Gresham and Johnson are returning, and Dr. Fred Passman, perhaps the leading authority on microbiology in metalworking fluids, is making a Web presentation.

STLE’s education and training courses are recognized globally, and now they are being complemented by our certification programs. While our certification programs are widely recognized in the U.S., they are not as well known internationally.

The purpose of a certification program is to demonstrate one’s breadth of knowledge and understanding in a particular field. Whether it is the Certified Lubrication Specialist, Oil Monitoring Analyst or the Certified Metalworking Fluids Specialist program, a person who passes one of these exams has demonstrated that he or she is an expert in the given field. Education and training and actual shop floor experience are the keys to passing a certification exam.

In the U.S., a holder of one of our certificates is recognized as an expert. The value of STLE certifications has been documented in the U.S. marketplace with increased income, respect and credibility and now is starting to gain traction internationally.

One of the hurdles we face in promoting STLE certification programs abroad is the “internationalization” of the exam material itself. Content of the exams could reference ASTM standards or work practices that are relevant to the U.S. marketplace but which might not be germane globally. Other standards such as DIN, IP or JIS or work practices might need to be referenced for the global community. This is an area that the CLS committee is currently working on, and other STLE committees soon will follow. While this may not be an easy task, it certainly is rewarding.

The OilDoc Conference & Exhibition is Feb. 1-3 in Rosenheim, Germany, and focuses on lubrication, maintenance and tribology. Several STLE members are presenting in technical sessions, and STLE Executive Director Ed Salek, Bob Gresham and I also are attending.

We encourage our STLE European members as well as those from around the world to attend this conference. Bob is providing an overview of STLE’s mission, education and certification programs during the conference’s opening day. STLE also has a booth in the exhibition hall, and I am sure we will have many visitors requesting information on our certification programs. OilDoc conference organizers tell us they already have received several inquiries regarding STLE certification programs. We are getting these inquiries from TSI as well.

All of these activities are leading to increased STLE brand awareness globally and certainly follow our vision to “be a leader in the global network of individuals, institutions, societies and corporate entities with a common interest in expanding the science of tribology and the practice of lubrication engineering.”


Peter Drechsler is a senior tribology specialist with The Timken Co. in Canton, Ohio. You can reach him at peter.drechsler@timken.com

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