Another historically autumn ASM Heat Treat Show is in the rearview mirror, and it was great to see many of you there. That also means we are officially headed toward winter, which is significant for those of us in the Midwest or northeast.

Some have asked me if it was a good show. I guess that depends on whom you ask, but it certainly was a success by many measures. I believe traffic was lighter than usual, which no doubt resulted from the typical contingent of foreign attendees who were not able to travel due to COVID restrictions. Anecdotally, I asked an attendee who always travels with a business partner where she was. He indicated that there was a lot going on at their facility, but COVID was part of the reason she decided not to attend for the first time in maybe 30 years.

I have a question and a comment for any show folks who may be reading. Why do we not have nametag slots on both sides on the nametag pouch? I’m convinced that these things are backward more than 50% of the time! How is that even possible?

I attended more of the technical sessions this year than I normally have a chance to see. Several of the sessions were delivered virtually. While all of the technical content was pertinent and educational, some of the virtual sessions – delivered by those for which English is a second language – were hard to understand. My suggestion would be to have these virtual sessions captioned. Provide the English script of the talk at the bottom of the screen so that if we are having trouble understanding, we can read what is being said.

Overall, I want to give ASM high marks for delivering a quality conference and show amidst numerous challenges. I mentioned to several folks that it is important to start somewhere and get things going again. ASM did just that, and it was a success. A colleague summed up some of the sentiment in a post-show email. “It was great seeing everyone again (in person). I enjoyed spending time with all of you and seeing familiar faces from the past.” Well said!

If you were unable to take advantage of the content at the show, dig into this issue (after you finish reading this, of course). You will find articles from Busch Vacuum Solutions on screw vacuum pumps; Super Systems on PIDs, which was very helpful to improve my understanding; Bricking Solutions on refractory and insulation maintenance; and Honeywell on the effects of changing emissions regulations. Lots of helpful information!

Speaking of emissions regulations, the Washington Watch column discusses this same topic from a different perspective. “Never let a good crisis go to waste” is the context for Omar Nashashibi’s column this month. We always need to keep an eye on how decisions in Washington may affect our businesses.

Relative to crises, is it just me, or did the noise level of climate-change rhetoric ratchet up coincident with the troop-withdrawal crisis experienced in August? Speaking of which, I saw a recently delivered Biden speech in which (referring to a slew of bad things that I will not list here) he stated, “We know what the driver is, climate change, and we know what’s causing climate change, human activity.” He went on to say, “This is no longer subject to debate.” Really? There is no need for further scientific investigation? As I recall from Perry Mason reruns, circumstantial evidence rarely leads to a conviction in a court of law. Remember, in spite of the rhetoric and who is delivering it, correlation does not imply causation.

Another great column this month is Dan Kay’s Technical Talk, which includes a discussion of braze fillets. And let’s not forget the Reshoring Initiative column as well.

If you were not able to attend ASM’s Heat Treat Show this year, October’s issue provides another learning opportunity. Oh, and remember to enjoy the beauty of this autumn season!