The new year presents several exciting opportunities for those who manufacture and work with valves, actuators and related products. All VMA events are designed to help further knowledge of the valve industry, and provide a way to meet with peers, exchange ideas and make valuable contacts.
The year starts off with the VMA Leadership Forum, Feb. 27-28 in New Orleans, LA. This year’s agenda has been designed to broaden the reach to include not only the top-level executives of VMA and VRC companies, but also the up-and-coming leaders within each company who seek to sharpen their skills in managing operations and in decision-making. The conference addresses some of the most critical issues facing the industry today, including:
National and Global Economics: Taylor St. German, an economic analyst at ITR Economics, will present the global and national economic outlooks from the perspective of the valve and flow control industry.
Legal Issues: Eric McClafferty, Kelley Drye & Warrant LLP, will discuss trades and tariffs and how they will affect valve industries, general issues that are now under discussion in Washington, DC such as infrastructure, climate change and the upcoming elections, and specific issues such as what’s happening across the country with marijuana legalization.
State Issues: Louisiana State Senator Eric LaFleur, chairman of that state’s Senate Committee on Finance, Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget and Joint Legislative Committee on Litigation, will share the issues and concerns state legislative bodies face today.
Smart Factories: Attendees will learn about the broadening opportunities provided by the technologies that help plants manage production-related resources, physical assets and schedules and see how companies today are advancing along the maturity curve from individual equipment investment to operating a connected factory network.
For information on the Leadership Forum, go to www.vma.org/LeadershipForum2020. Since the event is open to members only, non-members interested in attending may wish to explore membership in VMA. Learn more at www.VMA.org/AboutVMA.
Next up on the agenda for 2020 is the Valve Forum: Conference & Exhibits, which is April 29-May 1 in Phoenix.
This event, which is open to everyone, combines three areas of interest—technical, manufacturing and management/marketing—into one information-packed meeting so that attendees can pick and choose what sessions are most helpful in their current positions and can find ways to greatly broaden their network of peers.
The educational program starts off with a keynote address on one of the top issues in manufacturing today: how to face the shrinking knowledge pool and bring in new talent from the multi-generational workers of today.
This year’s forum will also focus on Industry 4.0 and how the Industrial Internet of Things plays a role in all three tracks of interest. Also, a joint session is planned to discuss how to use personality assessments to find ways to better communicate between manufacturing, engineering and marketing and management teams.
The Technical track addresses specialized topics that have to do with the technical issues facing the valves and flow control including corrosion analysis, sealing technologies, data mining, automation, industry standards and much more.
In the Manufacturing track, speakers address the specifics of operating and managing plants addressing areas such as virtual reality for assembly instruction and quality control, flexible manufacturing methods for high variety and low volume, and new developments in areas such as coatings, finishes, dimensional analysis, rapid prototyping and smart technology.
Management and Marketing is the focus of another track; presenters address ways that companies can successfully market and manage their operations addressing issues such as cybersecurity and data mining, employment law, preparing for a crisis, and how to use training and marketing materials such as videos and social media.
A special workshop held before the regular educational program begins will provide an overview of non-destructive testing techniques such as radiography, ultrasonic, magnetic particle, dye penetrant, hardness and PMI testing.
The Valve Forum also includes tabletop exhibits of vendors featuring the latest technologies and products. Tours are also planned for the day leading up to the regular program.
For information on this meeting, go to www.vma.org/ValveForum.
The next opportunity for learning is the Valve Repair Seminar & Exhibits, developed by the Valve Repair Council. This biannual meeting is geared to anyone involved in valve repair, service and maintenance—those who deal with fixing valve assemblies and with keeping those assemblies in top shape. The event takes place June 3-4 in Pasadena, TX.
The educational program addresses issues that cover both the ‘how-to’ aspect of dealing with valves and overall trends in the maintenance and repair industries. For example, the program includes sessions on specific issues such as bolting challenges, cleaning methods and testing methods. It also has more general sessions such as standards clarification, codes enforcement and legal/legislative issues. New to the program this year is a session on chlor-alky valves, a comprehensive valve actuation repair presentation and a report from the Department of Transportation on issues surrounding transporting hazardous materials and how that affects the industry.
The exhibit for this event includes companies that cater to the repair industry or are clients to the industry. In 2018, the date of the last meeting, more than 20 companies shared their services and products with meeting attendees.
Economists and financial experts from around the nation are invited annually to present their forecast for end-user markets and relay how the domestic and global economy will fare in the months and years to come at the VMA Market Outlook Workshop.
The event takes place Aug. 6-7 in Boston.
This specialized meeting for VMA/VRC members is designed to provide a glimpse into the future for those responsible for making decisions based on what may happen in the markets where they sell their valves and flow control products. Among those markets are upstream, downstream and midstream oil and gas, water/wastewater, chemicals, mining, construction, renewables, power and more. The meeting also provides data and insight into general markets both domestically and internationally.
For information on Market Outlook, go to www.vma.org/MarketOutlook2020. Registration opens in May.
On Sept. 9-11, the VMA and VRC membership gather for their Annual Meeting, which will be in Santa Barbara, CA this year.
The meeting features presentations by experts on issues of concern to those who produce valves, actuators and controls, as well as suppliers to these manufacturers. Speakers include financial and economic forecasting experts and leading experts on the top issues of the day such as professionals knowledgeable about what’s happening in Washington, DC; technology, cybersecurity, Industry 4.0 and other current automation and technology trends; and consultants tracking the latest on human resources and operational issues, and more.
Extensive networking and social activities make this VMA’s largest membership gathering of the year.
For information on the annual meeting, go to www.vma.org/AnnualMeeting.
THE BASICS OF VALVES
The year’s educational events conclude where much of the industry begins: with lessons on the basics of valves and related equipment. The next Valve Basics Seminar & Exhibits is Oct. 13-15 at the Houston Area Safety Council, Pasadena, TX. The event is attended by those new to the valve world, those changing jobs within the industry and others who need a broader knowledge or a refresher course on valves and related equipment. A diverse group of participants include end users, AEC/EPC personnel, distributors, manufacturers and suppliers.
The Basics event includes three days of opportunity for people who need to learn about valves, actuators and controls. Day one and part of Day two is Valves 101, which covers the different types of valves, what they do, what challenges they face and what applications depend on those products. Day two transitions into Valves 201, which tackles control valves, automation and special applications. Day three begins with a conclusion of 201, but also includes a deeper explanation of specialized issues such as electric actuator asset management, feedback and monitoring, critical service applications and more.
During the three days, attendees can view and ask questions about products displayed at a tabletop exhibit and through the popular petting zoo, an area set up for hands-on demonstrations of what attendees learn during the rest of the event.
EDUCATION OPTIONS CLOSE TO HOME
For those in the industry unable to travel to meetings or who manage a large group of employees who need training, VMA offers two options: Valve Basics Online Training and a Custom Valve Training program.
The online training course is a narrated presentation covering the basic valve and actuator types. The content is designed for newcomers who need a quick way to learn what’s what in the world of valves. Individual licenses can be purchased via The VMA Store, but for groups of 10 or more, reduced fees are offered. Some companies routinely provide the program to all their new employees so they can get up to speed on the basics soon after they are hired.
- An Introduction to the industry, including pressure ratings and classes, standards organizations, valve components and more
- Multi-turn, check, quarter-turn and pressure-relief valves
- Actuators—pneumatic, hydraulic and electric
- Control valves and systems
Those completing the course are awarded a certificate indicated they have earned 6 professional development hours.
In addition, VMA developed the Valve Basics Custom Training program for companies with 25 or more people needing basic education—but are unable to send a large group to the annual basics seminar in the Houston area. For this program, VMA’s volunteer instructors will come to your facility or teach the program at a nearby venue.
In addition to saving travel expenses, VMA’s educational program is not brand specific, a feature that past attendees have appreciated.
Companies that have used the Valve Basics Custom Training in the past include a petrochemical facility in Louisiana, a government agency in Alabama, a valve manufacturer in New England and a large wastewater facility on the west coast.
For the latest listing of VMA and VRC events and to learn when registration opens, visit www.vma.org/Events.