AFS attendance reaches post-recession record at fall conference

November/December 2014 | Volume 33, No. 6

Attendence at the AFS Fall Conference was more than double that of last year's, signaling that perhaps the long recession in the USA is over and the industry is upbeat about the future.
Attendence at the AFS Fall Conference was more than double that of last year’s, signaling that perhaps the long recession in the USA is over and the industry is upbeat about the future.

The 2014 American Filtration & Separations Society Fall Conference realized double attendance compared to the 2013 event covering the topic of filtration media. This is a positive sign the recession is drifting into the rear-view mirror and the industry is beginning to look forward to the future with a positive embrace. The 2014 Conference titled “Next Generation Filtration Media…Embracing Challenges” was held at the Hilton Rosemont at Chicago O’Hare Airport, October 13-16. Conference co-chairs were Andrew Goodby, Ahlstrom Filtration, LLC; Sebastian Stahl, DuPont; and Sneha Swaminathan, Hollingsworth & Vose.

The conference began with broad contingent of both domestic and foreign attendees taking part in eight in-depth courses, all taught by industry specialists at its half- and full-day short courses. The AFS has been offering these courses on various filtration, separation and coalescing subjects since its inception in 1988. This fall’s offerings were (1) Introduction to Liquid Filtration, (2) Filter Media Design for Liquid Filtration Applications’ (3) Filtration, Separation & Coalescing Media Use and Markets; (4) Ultrafiltration Membranes; (5) Liquid Filtration Testing Basics; (6) Microfiltration Membranes; (7) Nanofiber Technology In Filtration; and (8) Advanced Engine Filtration. Each AFS course provides CEU credits. As an added conference activity, AFS offered two tours; one at the University of Illinois (Chicago) Filtration Facility and another following the conference at the Stickney Water Reclamation Facility with transportation provided for those attending.

The conference introductory plenary speaker was VP Technology and Chief Technology Officer, Dr. John Fitzgerald, from Hollingsworth & Vose. The AFS luncheon speakers were the National University of Singapore, Director of Center of Nanofibers and Nanotechnology, Dr. Seeram Ramakrishna and Darrell Reneker, University of Akron, who spoke on the topic Nanofiber Morphology of PVDF.

This fall’s conference once again consisted of three concurrent tracks with 72 presentations including a specific AFS on-going plan to offer at least one complete track on Air Filtration, not limited to this conference but for future conferences as well, in addition to its historical Liquid Filtration Separation and Coalescing tracks. Beginning in the spring of 2015 in Charlotte, N.C. and future spring and fall events, the AFS will also add, in addition, one more new track ÔÇö the Theoretical, Applied Science and Design track specifically for those who have specific interests in academic and/or industrial basic research, applied science and design subjects.

The leadership of the AFS has felt for some time that it needs additional tracks based on requests of varied tailored interests by its members and is responding accordingly with Air Filtration and the Theoretical, Applied Science and Design tracks to start. As interest grows in one or more of these or other areas and there appears to be a large enough and growing demand, the society will add new subjects and/or multiple tracks on related subjects at both its future spring and fall conferences. The society anticipates growth on a number of fronts in future years and is developing the needed infrastructure at this time in anticipation of evolution and expansion of the Society.


At the Corporate Sponsors meeting, a review of existing and new programs were revealed, including the announcement of booths at future conferences beginning modestly with a limited number of booths at the 2015 AFS Power Generation Conference in Charlotte, N.C. Immediately prior to the recent business recession, the AFS typically had 70-80 booths at its events and well over 120 booths, just shy of 500 presentations when it hosted the World Filtration Congress in 2004 in New Orleans. With continuing growth of Corporate Sponsorships and the addition of a number of new benefits, the leadership of the AFS feels it’s time to begin once again, in a modest way, to offer booths as well as continuing to offer tabletop locations for those sponsors and non-sponsors who wish to have tabletops. For the 2016 spring Houston conference, which will focus on oil, gas and chemical industry filtration needs, the AFS is also exploring the possibly of much larger displays in addition to booths as the conference organizer has had substantial interest in even larger exhibits.

The AFS is fortunate to have a strong loyal industry following and leadership of many dedicated companies and individual volunteers. The Society is now managed by a small, but highly focused management company, XMi in Nashville, and administered by Lyn Sholl and Betsy Hilt. Industry volunteers provide AFS leadership on the executive committee, board of directors, and on fifteen committees at the local chapter level. The society is growing and continues to seek assistance in many ways, so people who have some time or interest and want to feel part of something important can contact either Lyn ( or Betsy (, or call 615-250-7792.

The American Filtration & Separations Society is the largest Filtration Society in the world and the principal educator of the industry.

For more information visit:

Previous Sonobond's Ultrasonic machines out-perform conventional filter assembly methods as synthetic blends gain in usage
Next Tiny particles and the bigger picture