The energy crisis of the early seventies gave real impetus to recognition of drying as a worthwhile R&D area by industry, especially in industries where drying was a key and costly operation e.g. in pulp and paper, wood, foods etc. This led me to develop and found the idea of providing a forum for exchange of ideas, research results as well as technology transfer between academia and industry.
The idea was (and still is) to acquaint academics with industrial needs in the inter- and cross-disciplinary area and to familiarize the industry with current R&D. It also turned out to be an excellent forum for collaboration between researchers from various parts of the world. Much of the earlier work carried out in non-English speaking countries became widely accessible as a result and indeed the researchers from these countries became recognized in the western world as well – a direct consequence of this truly global forum.
The First International Symposium on Drying, its official title at the time, was announced in spring 1977 and held in August 1978 on the campus of McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Fortunately, despite the short induction time, it turned out to be a success, thanks to sponsorships by several large companies and several professional societies. Some 210 participants from 22 countries attended the meeting.
A formal proceedings volume was published, it contained only about 40 papers although about twice as many were presented at the meeting; most of the remainder appeared in Drying’80, Vol. 1. A forum was held on R&D Needs and Opportunities which reflected strong industrial interest and accentuated the need for a forum devoted to exchange of information on drying regardless of geographical, disciplinary and industrial sectoral boundaries.
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Thus, the food or textile industry could benefit from advances made by the paper industry in drying of continuous sheets, for example. It was recognized then that drying is a truly inter- and multi-disciplinary field that can only advance by sharing the expertise in different disciplines and industries.
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Indeed, there is no major industry that does not utilize drying processes at some stage of their manufacturing sequences. One unique feature of the first symposium was the fact that it attracted a greater number of participants from industry rather than academia (112 from industry and government laboratories and 98 from academic institutions.
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