Many meetings are structured to talk at attendees — listen to this keynote speaker, pay attention to this presentation, follow these steps — but a recent gathering of ICPA professionals showcased the importance of talking with each other instead.

Business leaders in the cast polymer niche face similar economic concerns and regulatory pressures, but each company has distinct goals, questions and customers. So when about 70 of those leaders met at the ICPA Multi-Regional Meeting, held June 24 at Ash­land Performance Materials in Dublin, Ohio, and June 25 at Heritage Marble of Ohio Inc. in nearby Columbus, it was an ideal opportunity to trade ideas and strategies that could literally mean business.

Sixty of those ideas were presented in swift fashion during the educational session “60 Tips in 60 Minutes,” presented by Ken Lipovsky, CCT-I, a technical service specialist at Reichhold Inc., Durham, N.C., and a member of the ICPA Technical Committee.

Many people who attended the session took brisk notes as Lipovsky presented tips he had culled from ICPA members prior to the meeting. Some tips were specific and targeted, like Gary Whiting’s of Tiffany Marble Inc.: “To remove end splashes from the mold without damaging the mold, take a 3/4″ x 3/4″ x 18″ polyethylene divider bar and a floating bowl hold-down suction cup, and attach to the divider bar using a bolt. Drill a hole through the divider bar and suction cup, 5″ from the end of the bar. Attach the suction cup to the bar using the bolt. Smack the back side of the end splash with the suction cup, pry up using the 5″ end of the divider bar resting on the mold, and remove the end splash.” Other tips were quick and succinct, like Bern Brody’s of Interplastics: “The proper spray granite thickness is 35 mils.”

Larry Kraft of Custom Marble, Millstadt, Ill., mentioned that he noticed one area of his shop had a “huge styrene concentration at the outflow end of its gel oven.” Feeling others might face the same issue in the feature, he shared this solution of enclosing the end of the oven below the rails, placing vents in the side of the oven at floor level, and connecting the vents to the spray booth plenum. “We don’t have engineering studies to document the reduction, but my nose tells me we do have a reduction,” he said, adding that the effect on the spray booth efficiency was negligible.