Dr P D Spooner – 2007 Dowding Medal

Materials Science & Technology Division
1 Dec 2007

Dr Peter Spooner has been awarded the Dowding Medal for 2007. Of all the Institute’s awards, this is the one most closely associated with metals rolling, and it was made in recognition of Dr Spooner’s contribution to the technology of sheet steel and aluminium rolling, particularly in the field of process control.

He came to notice as one of an elite group of researchers at Imperial College who took part in the celebrated Abbey Works project in the early 70s. (Others included Prof GF Bryant and Dr John Edwardes). The cold tandem mills of what is now Corus' Port Talbot Works were used as the development test site for a wide range of thickness, speed and tension control systems. The project revealed a novel and coherent set of control techniques which underpin the operation of the world's sheet mills to this day.

In 1973, these three researchers became the principal authors of the seminal reference book on the same subject : “Automation of Tandem Mills” (Iron and Steel Institute, ISBN 978 0900497940). Dr Spooner built on this work in a career-long series of business ventures and training initiatives, most notably through the foundation and management of the Broner organisation. The technological developments to which he has contributed are very diverse, spanning a range from sheet rolling instrumentation (notably air-bearing shapemeters) to production planning systems for the rolling industry.

For ten years, Peter Spooner was also a dedicated member of the Rolling Committee, organising and delivering conferences on various aspects of mill control and production management, and so we have first-hand experience of his outstanding credentials as both a teacher and a sector advocate. It was a pleasure to welcome him and his wife at the Awards Dinner at Carlton House Terrace on 27 November 2007. The Dowding Medal caps an illustrious career.

For further information on this and other related awards see www.iom3.org/news/iron-and-steel-society-medals-2007