CORROSION 2018 continues the momentum initiated 73 years ago

By Kathy Larsen

As NACE International wraps up its 73rd annual conference and continues to celebrate its 75th anniversary, corrosion professionals from around the world continued the momentum started by the 11 founding members in 1943 when more than 5,600 attendees from nearly 70 countries worldwide came together at the Phoenix Convention Center and other area venues for CORROSION 2018.

For five days, the city was home to the largest meeting of corrosion professionals, vendors, and educators, which focuses on preventing and mitigating worldwide corrosion.

The technical strides made by corrosion professionals over the past 73 years were apparent during the hundreds of events—technical symposia, committee meetings, seminars and lectures, training opportunities, and social gatherings—that offered a multitude of cutting-edge technical and educational resources, public awareness activities, and networking opportunities that the corrosion industry has come to expect.

All areas of corrosion control and mitigation were covered by symposia, technical meetings, forums, and student poster sessions, including oil and gas corrosion inhibitors, coatings, practical field application of cathodic protection, pipeline integrity, materials, testing and instrumentation, maritime corrosion, water and wastewater corrosion, and corrosion in nuclear systems.

The Opening Night Reception on Sunday evening—a conference kick-off tradition—marked the ending of CORROSION 2018’s opening day in Phoenix as attendees and exhibitors interacted over drinks and hors d’oeuvres in the Phoenix Convention Center, and had the opportunity to catch up with old friends and make new contacts after a day of administrative and technical meetings.

Highlights during the week included the presentation by CORROSION 2018 Keynote Speaker Commander Mike Abrashoff, who discussed The Leadership Roadmap, a practice that empowers every individual to share the responsibility of achieving excellence. Once again, the Corrosion Chronicles Theaters in the Exhibit Hall hosted experienced corrosion professionals who presented interactive forums on a variety of corrosion-related topics. The interactive Leadership Forum, featured a panel of corrosion industry leaders, along with Abrashoff, who shared stories and presented tools to help attendees enhance their own leadership skills and take the next step in their careers. During the third annual University Student Design and Applied Solutions Competition, team entries for autonomous systems built for corrosion inspection and detection in hard-to-access areas were presented and evaluated.

The conference’s technical program featured 488 technical papers presented in 39 technical symposia—one of the largest offerings of symposia since 2000. This year, 12 forums highlighted a wide array of topics that included managing coating assets as well as an overview of coatings and related technology systems used or developed by the U.S. Navy’s for corrosion control; fighting the corrosion war in the Middle East and Africa and also in Latin America;  a discussion with the Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) on corrosion and pipeline safety; best practices and lessons learned in the water and wastewater industries; and an update on the work done regarding an update of NACE MR0175/ISO 15156 as well as a discussion for a path forward.

More than 200 technical and administrative meetings were held throughout the week as NACE members worked on standards and reports, exchanged technical information, and managed association business.

Attendees also had the opportunity to visit the largest corrosion exhibition in the world, with over 680 booths and close to 420 exhibiting companies, including 77 new exhibitors. The popular Cathodic Protection (CP) Field training exhibit created by NACE International was again available for visitors to get an up-close experience in CP.  During the week, visitors experienced CP first-hand by conducting field experiments, testing the most up-to-date equipment, and discussing the concepts and science of cathodic protection with a team of NACE CP instructors and experts.

The Exhibit Hall was also home to more than 145 student poster presentation displays, where members and students had the opportunity to discuss corrosion concepts and developments. Outreach to the next generation continued as the NACE Foundation held its GenNEXT Bash at the Van Buren and distributed 45 student scholarships on Tuesday, and hosted the CORROSION: Opportunities Realized day-long mini-camp on Wednesday for local high school students. Other opportunities for the next generation of corrosion professionals included the NACE U Student Meeting, and the 30 Below—For Students and Young Professionals Under 30 event at the Valley Bar.

Many attendees spent time networking with colleagues through a series of social events, including the Opening Reception, the Expo Grand Opening and Composites Pavilion Reception in the Exhibit Hall, and the Wednesday night Awards Banquet.

It was a busy week and successful by every measure. NACE thanks the attendees, sponsors, and exhibitors for making this year’s event a huge success! We look forward to seeing you next year at CORROSION 2019 (March 24-28, 2019) in Nashville, Tennessee, USA.