[Image above] Credit: ACerS

Over 100 attendees converged in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana, June 24–27 to take part in the combined meeting of the ACerS Structural Clay Products Division, ACerS Southwest (SW) Section, and Clemson University’s National Brick Research Center (NBRC). The meeting was successful due to the combined efforts and teamwork between members of the ACerS SCPD and SW Section and NBRC staff.

National Brick Research Center meeting

The meeting kicked off with the NBRC Spring Executive Committee Meeting on Tuesday morning. NBRC director John Sanders, testing services manager Mike Walker, and graduate research assistant Nate Huygen provided the members with updates at the center.

NBRC director John Sanders leads the NBRC’s Executive Committee Meeting on Tuesday morning. Credit: ACerS

Technical sessions

On Tuesday afternoon and Thursday morning, attendees heard from 15 industry experts on a wide range of topics including emission reduction, block mining, drying practices, 3D printing, plant safety, computerized maintenance management, regulatory updates, and more.

Christophe Aubertot of Direxa present results of a robotic setting machine at the Acme Bricks Montgomery (Alabama) plant. Credit: ACerS
Marc Bradburry ofTriangle Brick gave an innovative presentation on the use of 3D printers to design and create replacement wear parts on demand. This method has significantly decreased downtime and unnecessary overtime at his plant. Credit: ACerS
Attendees enjoy the Tuesday evening Suppliers Mixer. Credit: ACerS

Brick plant tours

On Thursday, attendees toured four brick plants— General Shale (Mooresville), Meridian Brick (Terre Haute), Brampton Brick (Farmersburg), and Brickcraft (Center Point). The multiple issues encountered with Bus #2 will be no doubt be remembered. The bus finally broke down in front of Brampton Brick and a “rescue bus” was dispatched to pick up stranded attendees.

Mike Badgett, plant manager at General Shale, answers questions during the tour of his plant. Credit: ACerS
Attendees were greeted with a “Welcome ACerS” banner as they pick up their safety glasses before the Meridian Brick tour. Credit: ACerS
Attendees tour plant operations at Brampton Brick. Credit: ACerS
The “left behind” group who kindly volunteered to be picked up by the rescue bus at Brampton Brick plant in Farmersburg. From left to right: Tim Buckley (Danser), Angela Tadlock (Danser), Tom LeBietz (Travaini Pumps), 
Frank Richards (Danser) and Brian Newbanks (Danser). Credit: ACerS

Networking and awards

Meeting attendees reconnected with old friends and built new relationships each evening in the hospitality suite, at the Suppliers Mixer reception on Tuesday, and at the awards banquet on Thursday. Danser, Inc. once again took on the role of host for the hospitality suite.

During the banquet, Luke Odenthal (Acme Brick) received a certificate of appreciation for his service as SCPD chair by incoming chair Mike Walker (NBRC). David Ziegler (Prince Minerals) received the SW Section Past Chair Award from Japa Castro (Columbus Brick Company). Mary Ann Keon (Acme Brick) received the inaugural SCPD Best Paper award for her 2018 presentation titled “OSHA’s Silica Rule Deadline is June 23, 2018Are You Ready?” For the final award presentation, Paul Anderson received the prestigious SW Section Harry E. Ebright Award.

Mike Walker presents SCPD certificate to Luke Odenthal. Credit: ACerS
SCPD Trustee John Dowdle (Old Hickory Clay) presents Mary Ann Keon (Acme Brick) with the SCPD Best Paper award. Credit: ACerS
Japa Castro present SW Section plaque to Davide Ziegler. Credit: ACerS
Mike Shipley (Prince Minerals) presents Harry E. Ebright Award to Paul Anderson. Credit: ACerS

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