The Institution of the Rubber Industry (IRI) was founded in England in 1921 to fill precisely this need to disseminate and share knowledge, technical or otherwise, through seminars, talks and meetings and to promote networking among rubber professionals. The Plastics Institute was almost as old and was founded in 1931. The Malayan Chapter of the IRI was formed in 1960 by a group of scientist working at the Rubber Research Institute (RRIM) and some enthusiastic individuals working in the rubber industry. One of its first activities was training of local rubber technologists as no local institution of higher learning offered the course, the only way then was to study in England. The Licentiate course in rubber technology was taught in the evenings by volunteer teachers in the lecture hall at RRIM. Among the first students to sit the examination and pass were Peter Mitchell and Sin Siew Weng. Peter Mitchell had the best set of answers of students from the Commonwealth and Sweden and Holland. Sin Siew Weng came second. Both of them went on to become presidents and PRIM Hall of Famers.
In 1975 the IRI merged with the Plastics Institute to form the Plastics & Rubber Institute UK (PRI). In the 1980s talks began on merger with other professional institutes and in 1993 the Institute of Materials (IOM) was formed by merger of the Institute of Metals, the Institute of Ceramics and the Plastics & Rubber Institute. The Malaysian Section felt this would dilute the status of rubber and plastics and opted to break away. The Rubber and Plastics Institute Malaysia (PRIM) was formed in 1995 but remained loosely affiliated to IOM.
Benefits of Membership
The different grades of membership are designed to reflect the different levels of professional achievement of its members (see slides). These also provide a career path and incentive for members to rise through the ranks as they gain competence through examination or working experience. A Diploma Member or Graduate Member can, through experience working in the industry, upgrade to Member and even to Fellow.
Members receive free copy of the Institute’s newsletter and bulletin and free admission to technical talks and are entitled to special rates to Conferences and Seminars organised by the Institute. PRIM organises an annual Polymer Seminar, usually in March. PRIM initiated and are a major sponsor of the National Symposium of Polymer Materials (NSPM)
The Institute is organised into 5 major sections: rubber, plastics, education, membership and publication & communication. The Institute is basically run on a voluntary basis and members can volunteer to serve in any or all of the 5 sections. . Activities planned include all the above mentioned plus social events and factory visits.
In view of the special needs of the LGM as I understand them, it is conceivable that a new section could be formed to cater to the special interests of this group.
There is a feeling among research scientists that there is this gap in experience and outlook between the researchers and the industry practitioners. Perhaps the two following talks, the one on rubber in mining applications and the other in practical problem solving at shop-floor level, will help showcase the value of industrial experience. In practice, I feel the difference between researchers and practitioners is more perceived than real. Certainly the opportunities to network and share experiences PRIM activities promote can close the gap in perception and experience between these two groups.
PRIM has close linkages to other polymer organisations including MRPMA, MREPC, MPMA, IKM (Polymer Chapter), MARGMA, IRCO, ACS etc.