STLE Launches Certificate Program


Youre a metalworking fluid expert? Sez who?

The Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers is ready to offer a reliable gauge for answering that question – the first certification program designed to identify individuals with expertise in the field.

The society announced last week that it will offer the first exam for its new Certified Metalworking Fluid Specialist program on May 19 at the organizations annual meeting in Las Vegas. Officials said they expect the program to become a widely recognized means of proving competence in the handling of fluids and the various issues associated with them.

Its like the certifications they have in a lot of professions – like P.E. (professional engineer) for engineers or C.P.A. (certified public accountant) for accounting, said Houghton Internationals John Burke, chairman of the societys Certification Committee. If youre going to hire someone to do your taxes, you make sure beforehand that hes a CPA.

The certification exam is the second new program launched by the committee within the past year. The society has also begun offering a certificate training program that consists of two days of courses and provides a certificate upon completion. That training program is geared toward individuals at entry level to the industry or to those with more experience who want to brush up on a particular area.

In contrast, the CMFS program has a prerequisite of three years of experience working with fluids in a manufacturing environment or five years in a laboratory. It also requires a minimum of 20 hours of training on metalworking fluids and at least a two-year degree, although a four-year degree is recommended. The three-and-a-half-hour exam consists of 150 questions on fluid management processes such as metal removal, metal stamping and drawing, metal protecting and metal treating.

Proponents of the CMFS program say it is needed because downsizing manufacturers have eliminated ranks of fluid specialists and lab workers the past few decades. Much of the work formerly performed by on-staff employees is now outsourced. According to Burke, proof of contractor competence is seldom offered – or sought. He predicted, however, that the situation will change now that certification is available. He noted that several automakers and other original equipment manufacturers helped develop the program.

The OEMs are very big on this, Burke said. Theyve pretty much indicated that certification is going to become a requirement for doing business with them in the future.

Aside from the annual meeting, the society will offer the CMFS exam several times at different locations during the year. For information, see

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