I have a love-hate relationship when it comes to Martha Stewart. I love the clean, simple decorating look she ascribes to but don't think any real person has enough time or patience to do all the fussy home-making things she suggests. Martha has left an indelible mark on the lexicon of America, however, with her ubiquitous tagline, "It's a good thing." When I heard the IHEA/IREA news of a possible merger, Martha's favorite sentence immediately came to mind.
At its annual meeting in Las Vegas in early October, the members of the Infrared Equipment Association (IREA) voted unanimously to merge with the Industrial Heating Equipment Association (IHEA), Arlington, Va. The following week, the executive board of IHEA met and accepted IREA as a new division of IHEA. Although the membership body of IHEA must still confirm the merger via a mail vote, it is expected to take effect January 1, 2003.
Following the merger, the Infrared Equipment Association will become the Infrared Equipment Division (IRED) of IHEA. This will pay immediate dividends by providing the IRED division with a managing director, allowing the members to focus their time on developing tools such as an infrared heating handbook, case history tip sheets and technical conferences as well standards-making activities. As these projects are developed and released, it will create new resources for the buyers and users of infrared process heating equipment.
Just as importantly, those members of IHEA that are involved in infrared heating -- and those in IRED that do more than infrared heating -- can "cross-pollinate" the two formerly separate organizations. Both groups will bring new ideas to the other, further invigorating the two organizations. This, too, will benefit buyers and users of process heating equipment by broadening the breadth of resources IHEA can offer.
IRED members also will participate in IHEA's partnership with the Department of Energy's Office of Industrial Technologies. The stated goals of that partnership, formed in 2001, are "to increase end-user awareness and knowledge of opportunities in operation or system design that may lead to improved productivity, energy efficiency and reliability, and reduced life cycle costs for industrial process heating systems." End users can receive technical assistance on upgrading plant efficiency; access to and assistance with assessment or repair/replace software tools; or training on how to get the most efficient use out of current or upgraded systems from BestPractices Allied Partners.
These developments create wonderful resources for users of process heating equipment. The end result will be a wider base of impartial, non-company or product-specific information about process heating systems and controls that will allow you to confidently make equipment purchasing decisions. I applaud the forward thinking of the leaders of both organizations for recognizing when two "really goods" can become one "even better."