Newly Renamed AFS FiltCon 2018 Excels

At the AFS luncheon awards were given to accomplished scientists and leading filtration companies.

By Edward C. Gregor

Beginning its 31st year, the AFS hosted its 61st conference on April 22-25 with gorgeously sized and high-quality hotel rooms, meeting rooms and Expo area. The location was at such an elevated-level, many delegates praised the location and diversified activities while others suggested coming back in the future. The luncheons and hors d’oeuvres provided no less a remembrance. The following companies sponsored AFS FiltCon 2018: Berry Global, Cerex Advanced Fabrics, Dexmet Corporation, GKD Industrial Mesh, GVS Filter Technology, Henkel Adhesives, IBR Laboratories International, Hollingsworth & Vose, International Filtration News, Lydall Performance Materials, Math2 Markets, Parker Filtration, Pentair, W.S. Tyler and Yamashin.

The Monday conference consisted of short courses having strong attendance with a choice of nine technical training filtration courses taught by the who’s who in the industry.  If you or your company associates haven’t taken one of these courses, you’re missing one of the exceptional career learning experiences whether a newcomer or journeyman.

Monday evening continued with what is quickly becoming a popular spring conference event.  The evening consisted of a networking supper, entertainment and an industry presentation, this year from Water Planet, Inc. widening our thinking on Intelligent Fluid Filtration Management Systems.

Beginning in earnest, the conference opened with plenary talks from company executives Andy Fox of 3M on Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) in China and Phil Rolchigo of Pentair with World’s Water Challenge insights.  The recently revised AFS FiltCon 2018 Expo booths were also opened.  The main conference followed consisting of 4 concurrent tracks with 48 presentations each day on a host of topics. Moderators for the individual sessions included: Jayesh Dharia, Arvind Purushothaman, Jay Forcucci, Dr. Martin Lehman, Peter Cartwright, Kenneth Winston, Michael Madsen, Al Vatine, Wenping Li, Jon Nichols, Anfrew Goodby and Bob Burkhead.

Rahul Bharadwaj, Ph.D. AAF/Flanders and AFS Second Vice Chair,
judging student posters.

At Tuesday’s sit-down AFS Awards luncheon, several annual awards were given plaques including five new Corporate Sponsors: A2Z Filtration, Ascend Performance Materials, Mann + Hummel, Permabond, LLC and Porometer.  The Senior Scientist Award was presented to Dr. Swarna Agarwal, and the Young Scientist Award to Dinesh Lolla. Congratulation to both these winners who are employees of Parker Hannifin – Filtration Division.  Dr. Martin Lehman from Mann+ Hummel accepted the 31st Product of the Year award for their IQORON VP, two-stage clean (power pack) air filter.  All awards were judged by industry peers.

A Corporate Sponsors meeting was held late Tuesday afternoon.  Corporate Sponsors Chairman Mark Willingham updated a contingent of sponsoring and new candidate companies.  A special thank you was offered to Corporate Sponsors, who have supported the AFS over the years, including 30 percent who are foreign based with North American operations or sales offices.  Announcements were made on a variety of topics, including: the status of the pending WFC13 Conference and Expo in San Diego where the 13 global Filtration Societies will gather in 2020, exclusive Corporate Sponsors market research reports, revamping of the Sponsors Buyers’ Guide available to Sponsors, and no-cost job postings for Corporate Sponsors on the AFS website.  One Sponsor earlier reported a savings of $30,000 for a new hire – no small benefit for an inexpensive AFS annual Sponsorship repaid many times over.

Tuesday evening, the Expo hall stayed open for its long-standing Expo networking reception with lots of yummy food and libation to the delight of exhibitors and delegates alike.  The exhibitors reported heavy traffic, meeting their expectations and gratitude.

During the networking Expo reception, a Student Poster Session competition was held.  Winners of student educational funds were: Session One Winners – First Place: Sara Ottoboni, University of Strathclyde, U.K.; Second Place: Patrycja Wierzba, Warsaw University of Technology; Third Place: Shweta Narayan, University of Minnesota. Session Two Winners – First Place: Seung Koo Kang, University of Minnesota; Second Place: Xinjiao Tian, University of Minnesota; Third Place: Bartosz Nowak.  Over 20 different universities have now participated since Professor George Chase of the University of Akron brought his first Master’s, PhD. and Postdoc candidates to the AFS.   Many of these students have since secured high-level positions at AFS Corporate Sponsor companies upon graduation. Congratulations to all excellent posters and participants.

Graham Rideal, Ph.D. Corporate Sponsor entertaining during networking reception.

Individual day sessions consisted of 48 technical presentations from both leading domestic and international organizations. AFS FiltCon 2018 may have been the strongest program yet, in an ever increasing broad and comprehensive program, now expanded to 4 concurrent tracks; a compliment to the three chairs who organized the overall event and presentations; Dr. Swarna Agarwal, John Hancock and Mitch McCreary. Moderators for Wednesday’s sessions were: Lin Zhao, Jonathon Palmer, Mark Willingham, David Pui, Christine Sun, Thad Ptak, Swarna Agarwal, Tim Johnson, Saravanan Andan, Godwin Severa, Yogesh Ner, Khaled Sadek and Mark Willingham who lead the “Latest & Greatest” session.

At the Wednesday AFS hosted luncheon, Steve Riedel from the Minnesota Trade Office, highlighted 10 water company innovators located in Minnesota.

Thursday’s program was comprised of facility tours with AFS provided transportation to the University of Minnesota Particle Technology Lab and TSI Incorporated, both long-standing academic and corporate supporters for which the AFS is appreciative.

2018 Fall Venue
Delegates departed AFS FiltCon 2018 with information about the AFS Fall Conference in historical Charleston, S.C. with the focus topic, titled: Filtration on the Move; Protection for the Automotive and Aerospace industry coming September 10-12. The program is being organized by representatives from Freudenberg, Mann + Hummel and Aerfil. With Boeing moving substantial operations to Charleston and automotive companies now in the area and populating throughout the south, the conference will focus on mobile filtration.

The American Filtration & Separations Society is the largest global Filtration Society and principal educator of the industry. The Society hosts two annual conferences in support of the industry, academia and North American infrastructure where filtration and separations is an essential factor in the success of American business and filtration education.