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New England Chapter program covers multiple topics, draws more than 50 attendees

The New England Chapter took a different approach to educational programs on Oct. 11 when it presented four experts in areas that were both direct and indirect for the wire and cable industry.

The event, held at the Holiday Inn Boxborough in Boxborough, Massachusetts, was the chapter's first multi-speaker event. It started with Bruce Hamilton, president of GBMP, a Boston-based non-profit provider of lean technology, discussed Lean methodology can be a challenge, but he insisted that it can help, and that no organization is so unique it cannot benefit by it. He did not focus on the tools of lean but instead on understanding how and why waste exists. "When's the last time you went home after work and said, 'Wow. Everything went perfect today.' We tend to turn a blind eye to all our problems (there). What are problems? They are things that get in the way of work. Lots of little anonymous (things) we haven't decided are problems yet." It is essential to talk to and to listen to the operators who do the actual work, he said. "Waste eats away from the soul of your organization...Develop people and take steps to reduce waste."

Up next was Liz Harriman, deputy director of the Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, who discussed new developments in chemical restrictions and policies. She warned the audience that the EU's REACH directive for restricting use of hazardous substances is continuing to add new Substances of Very High Concern, which may require authorization to use. In addition, the EU RoHS Directive restricting the use of hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment has been updated to include currently exempt equipment like medical devices, and will be likely restricting more substances. Some existing exemptions, including cables sold separately, will no longer be exempt, and they will also have to be labeled with the CE mark, she said.

The event also saw two technical presentations. The first was by Jacob Lahijani, a senior research scientist with DuPont Fluoropolymer Solutions, who discussed the development of high-performance perfluoropolymer materials for wire and cable and semiconductor applications. He spoke about DuPont's™ ECCtreme™ ECA 3000 perfluoropolymer resin. He discussed its electrical and physical properties and its potential applicability at temperatures up to 300°C, even when exposed to harsh environments."

The final presentation, by Steven Stoll, a senior technical sales representative for the TPU business of Huntsman Polyurethanes, covered the development and commercialization of a halogen-free, flame-retardant TPU for the wire and cable market that passes stringent VW-1 flammability testing. He showed a short video that displayed a cable made from IROGRAN® performing well in flame tests, noting that the TPUs were developed to meet stringent European regs.

Brian Holden, Carris Reels, Inc., and Roy St. Andre, EIS Wire & Cable, were the co-chairs for the educational event. Also working on the program was chapter President John Rivers, Delaware Marketing Services, who said he liked the way it combined good information and networking. The multi-speaker format offers more diversity, but fewer speakers with more allotted time might work even better, he said, also thanking Dave Fisher for arranging for the venue.

The event drew more than 50 attendees, including three people who became members of WAI.

The chapter's next event will be its 19th annual meeting, which will be held at the Mohegan Sun Resort Conference Center. For more details about the meeting, including sponsorships, contact WAI's

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, Tel.: (001) 203-453-2777, ext. 126.

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