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Materials/Manufacturing Week in Connecticut Celebrates Tradition, Future

April 16, 2009
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Thirty-one years ago, a celebration of materials and metallurgy’s role in the vibrancy of the economy of Connecticut began – and it’s still going strong with the support of local engineering societies and manufacturers.

The forerunner of Materials/Manufacturing Week was founded in 1978 under the aegis of the Southern Connecticut Chapter of ASM International, the materials information society.

This April 19-25, local societies led by the ASM Southern Connecticut Chapter and ASM Hartford Chapter will celebrate “Materials/ Manufacturing Week.” The New Haven Manufacturers Association (NHMA) has taken a leadership role in the celebration, and Connecticut’s Small Manufacturers Association has also joined in.

“The objective of Materials/Manufacturing Week is to focus on the roles that materials play, not only in our everyday life, but in the manufacture of products that are vital to our state’s economy,” says Jerry Clupper, NHMA executive director.

From its earliest years, Connecticut was known for its metal manufacturing prowess with silver, copper and brass manufacturing comprising major segments of the state’s industry. Connecticut not only fabricated these materials, but also mined and refined them. Eventually, with the addition of rubber vulcanization in Naugatuck, another facet of this materials manufacturing industry began to grow.

“From clocks to cutlery and Naugahide to Mohair, Connecticut became a national and international source for many essential products,” says Robert John Klancko, past chairman and historian of the ASM Southern Connecticut Chapter and the founder of this observance.

“Reflecting the origins of Materials/Manufacturing Week, the site of the Waterbury Brass Company was declared an ASM Historical Landmark in 1978,” Klancko says. “Today, our state’s manufacturers continue to work with a wide range of metals, plastics, polymers, ceramics and composite materials, creating products that directly influence our quality of life.”

“We’ve had an illustrious history,” Clupper adds. “After the brass, woolen, silver and clock industries left our state, new opportunities arrived involving high-tech materials like nanomaterials, plastics and ceramics. Our manufacturers continue to break new technological ground, working smarter, working leaner, working cleaner and working to enhance our local and state economy.”

Governor Jodi Rell has signed a proclamation celebrating the importance of the week. Highlights include a special event on April 23 jointly organized by ASM, NHMA and SMA. Registration is available for a technical meeting, social hour and buffet dinner at The Graduate Club, featuring a presentation by Alexis Sommers, Ph.D., professor of industrial engineering at the University of New Haven and a specialist in forensic science.

For more information, visit www.asm-soct.org or contact James Steele at 860-747-6333, x3294 or email jsteele@mottcorp.com.

In recent years, the ASM Southern Connecticut Chapter has participated in many outreach activities in the community, including support for the Connecticut Science Fair, the Connecticut Invention Convention, the Greater Naugatuck Valley Community College, the Sound School, Platt Technical High School and the Arthur Geary Scholarship at the University of Connecticut.

“We’ve participated in student outreach activities and networking with our fellow technical societies as well as with student members at local universities and colleges,” says James Steele of Mott Corporation, chapter chairman. “We take our role as the grassroots of materials, metallurgy and manufacturing very seriously, but we have fun with it as well.”

ASM International is Everything Material, the society serving the materials science and engineering community. With 36,000 members worldwide. ASM provides authoritative information and knowledge on materials and processes from the structural to the nanoscale. Visit www.asminternational.org for details.

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