2017-2018: What a Year!

Michael Anderson | TLT President's Report June 2018

From points all around the globe, STLE sent the message  that tribology is everywhere.

STLE staff and executive board members attend the 6th World Tribology Conference in Beijing, China. From left: Vice President Greg Croce, President Mike Anderson, Executive Director Ed Salek and director of professional development Robert Gresham.

This past year was STLE’s year with me, Mike Anderson, as president. And what a year it has been!

Never had I dreamed of being president of such a distinguished organization when I attended my first Chicago Section meeting in 1979 shortly after graduation. Nor did I ever think that I would be involved in tribology 40 years later.

But this year was very special. As president, I visited and made presentations in 12 foreign countries and several locations in the U.S. in the promotion of STLE and tribology-related activities. Along with establishing a presence in China and Europe, these activities are confirming STLE’s vision of becoming the global leader in advancing the science of tribology.

As president of STLE I have had the opportunity to meet and work with some of the greatest tribologists in the world, many of whom are attending this year’s annual meeting in Minneapolis. This year brought about a lot of exciting new activities to STLE: the Jeanie S. McCoy Scholarship for promoting females to enter the field of tribology studies, participation in Latin America, the STLE 365 Mobile App, certification exams in Spanish, Learning Pathways for enhanced education, introduction of a scholarship-funding program, the updated STLE Emerging Trends Report and the LimeLight project to work with other organizations in exposing tribology that exists in their industries and the new Foundations of Lubrication Engineering transportable education course.

Mike Anderson and Life Member Jeanie McCoy holding the plaque that recognizes the new scholarship named in her honor for women pursuing careers in tribology.

Spreading tribology and STLE is a major part of being president. During the year, STLE Vice President Greg Croce and I met with a group of engineers in Bangkok interested in forming a local section under STLE. At the same meeting, various attendees were interested in forming a local presence in Singapore. The highlight of the Asia trip was attending the 6th World Tribology Conference in Beijing, China. More than 2,000 tribologists and young engineers attended, presented papers and participated in an Olympic-style event complete with opening and closing ceremonies done on a grand scale. The event was assisted by more than 150 volunteers, including over 100 students who are now studying to become our industry’s future tribologists. This was certainly an awesome experience to be remembered my whole life. During the same time, STLE participated in two other major tribological events in China: the 18th International Chinese Lubricant and Technology Exhibition and the Chinese Lubricant and Technology Forum. Cutting the opening ceremony ribbon at the exhibition was quite the experience. STLE’s participation further confirms its desire to be a part of the growing Asian movement in tribology.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony at the 18th International Chinese Lubricant and Technology Exhibition in Beijing.

In January 2018 STLE participated in the 21st meeting of the prestigious International Colloquium Tribology at Technische Akademie Esslingen in Germany. This event is held every two years and features tribology-related papers, networking opportunities and activities, including a plant tour of a local car manufacturing assembly plant. As STLE president I participated as a speaker in the plenary session with a presentation that asks: “Can Tribology Save the World?” At the end of the presentation, it was clear; everyone agreed that indeed tribology can save the world. Tribology cannot create energy, but it can reduce its need through friction reduction, development of longer-lasting wear resistant materials and new, energy-conserving designs.

Mike Anderson in front of the Mercedes-Benz assembly plant in Sindelfingen, Germany. Anderson went on the plant tour after the 21st International Colloquium Tribology at Technische Akademie Esslingen.

Closer to home, STLE has become quite active in Latin America. STLE has entered into a memorandum of understanding with a local STLE member to support a series of education seminars that promote tribology in Central America. Local industrial professionals and university students attend these seminars with upward of 350 attendees. By interacting with the students and appreciating their intermediate and long-term goals for success, STLE is working on developing a better platform for these students to interact with universities offering programs in tribology. Additionally it will help them to network with potential employers and students in other parts of the world. The Emerging Trends Report has identified the lack of well-trained young professionals entering our field as a major industry imperative. Assisting these students could fill this need and help them to become a part of the future of tribology.

STLE presented an award to conference chair Jianbin Luo honoring his team’s efforts in producing the 2017 World Tribology Congress in Beijing.

Riding on the back of the successful German translation for the Certified Lubrication Specialist™ (CLS) exam, STLE has translated both the CLS and Certified Oil Monitoring Analyst I™ (OMA I) exams into Spanish and will be offering these exams in Spanish at future Latin American seminars.

This year’s annual meeting, our 73rd, is in Minneapolis and brings to an end my term as president. It has been a busy and incredibly rewarding year. I will miss all the activities of being president, but the future of STLE is in good hands with 2018-2019 President Croce and the board members who will support him in his duties. I plan to continue supporting STLE in areas where I can best offer my services.

Mike Anderson along with the event organizer, STLE-member Luis Urrutia of Total, attended the First Congress of Maintenance and Lubrication in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Anderson spoke on the benefits of STLE membership and later on Tribology: An Industrial Perspective.

At this time I wish to thank Falex Corp., including Andrew Faville, Leslie Heerdt, Thomas Peterson and James Hepp for their corporate and personal support of my activities as president. Their financial contribution to my STLE presidency affirms their dedication to STLE and their belief that the world will be a better place because of tribology.

I also wish to thank the members of STLE for your comments on my columns, the warm receptions received on our section and corporate member visits and for your past and future financial support of STLE activities through member dues and contributions. This is your society and, like me, you want to see it grow and improve. And as long as there is friction and wear in the world, tribology has a place.

I don’t know what the future will bring, but you can be sure that tribology will be a part it. As I have said in every one of my columns, “Tribology, it’s everywhere!”

Mike Anderson is area manager Asia Pacific/Latin America for Falex Corp. in Sugar Grove, Ill. You can reach him at manderson@falex.com.