History of MTI | Materials & Chemical Process Industries Research

History of MTI: Collaboration – A Recipe For Success!

In 1976, a group of Chemical Processing Industry engineers attending the NACE Conference in Toronto, Ontario recognized an opportunity to collaborate and deliver value to their companies. It was suggested that by putting their collective brainpower together, they could solve significant industry challenges that would provide substantial value for all involved and could save participating companies hundreds of thousands of dollars in project costs.

In Al Hall’s book The History of A Technological Institute: MTI, he describes the formation of MTI:

“The talk around the table brought out the fact that a considerable number of CPI (Chemical Process Industries) firms were faced with, and were conducting projects on, the same non-proprietary problems with structural materials and chemical process equipment.

The problems with which they were concerned were those that involved operating chemical plants safely and within environmental constraints, and had little to do directly with the products manufactured by the plants.

How absurd for all these companies to be working independently on the same problems: What a waste of money, time and manpower!

Couldn't a single entity be set up to tackle industry-wide non-proprietary structural materials problems? Such an entity could be supported by the beneficiaries of the results for a fraction of the price they were paying to attack the problems separately—and the funds and manpower so released could be put to work on each company's special proprietary concerns.”

The History of a Technological Institution

The Original 16 Make Materials Technology Institute Official

It was then that the idea of Materials Technology Institute was born, and in 1977 MTI became a reality. With the commitment of membership, the 16 original MTI member companies were:

  • Air Products and Chemicals
  • Cabot Corporation
  • Dow Chemical Company
  • Allied Chemical
  • Cities Service Company
  • DuPont
  • El Paso Products Company
  • Halcon International
  • ICI United States
  • Monsanto Company
  • Philadelphia Quartz Company
  • Exxon
  • Hertzog-Hart Corporation
  • Jessop Steel Company
  • Olin Chemicals Company
  • The Pace Companies

With the inaugural companies on board, the first Membership Meeting was held on February 23, 1977.

Projects – The Lifeblood Of MTI

One of the primary reasons that founders Bob Puyear and Bert Krisher (Monsanto); Warren Pollock (DuPont); and Paul Dillon and George Elder (Union Carbide) formed MTI was to develop mutually beneficial projects.

Once again pulling from Al Hall’s book chronicling the history of MTI, “…Warren Pollock summarized the early thinking regarding what at that time was termed a “Chemical Process Industries/Materials Technology Institute" (CPI/MTI).

The idea was to embody the Institute in a board of representatives from the major contributing companies, preferably operating within an existing professional or industrial association, for the purpose of sponsoring specific technical programs at appropriate research institutions, such as independent laboratories and universities.

The broad objective would be to develop technology on structural materials for the CPI "in order to minimize the cost of new capital investments; to meet safety, health and ecology requirements; and to comply with national resource priorities."

Funding would be shared by the member companies. The Institute would be run by a management group drawn from personnel of the member companies.”

Projects were key to driving value for MTI members. They allowed companies to achieve a greater return on their investments, from materials research to practical guidebooks and staff training. Through collective resources and expertise, projects could help companies find answers to industry challenges that they would otherwise have a difficult time answering on their own.

Four Decades of Solving Materials Challenges

For almost 40 years, MTI has been helping companies solve problems. Today, 60 companies from 16 nations realize significant value from their membership. This unique materials engineering community has helped solve Processing Industry challenges in the more than 125 live meetings that have been held around the world since 1976.

MTI’s ability to bring member companies together to facilitate educational and learning opportunities that deliver tremendous value has been realized time and time again. However, with the advent of the World Wide Web, the value MTI delivers has grown exponentially and provided company representatives with new tools to access that knowledge and information immediately.

MTI continues to find new ways for member companies accomplish more as a group than on their own. For example, the institute hosted two project-focused technical roundtable meetings and co-hosted its first Managing Aging Plants Conference in 2015. In fact, its Project Development Committees (PDCs) and Board Committees review new ideas every year, some of which ultimately end up saving members time and money or delivering other value. MTI leadership, staff, project champions, and TAC representatives continue to work together to make a difference, from the plant floor to the industry as a whole. We look forward leveraging our tremendous range of resources to develop solutions for today and tomorrow.

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