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A diamond celebration for Slovenian conference

The International Foundry Conference Portoroz celebrated its 60th anniversary in September, with delegates able to attend in person thanks to some heightened safety measures and the expertise of the event organisers.

For 60 years those keen to expand their foundry knowledge have been gathering in the picturesque town of Portoroz in Slovenia to share best practice and network with fellow foundry personnel from Europe and further afield. This year the event was of course subject to new restrictions, because of certain international travel constraints and recommendations. However, held on 16-18th September 2020, the Jubilee 60th IFC was attended formally by 172 participants, from twelve countries, which highlights the respect given to one of the world’s oldest foundry conferences.

For 2020, the chosen slogan of this traditional international meeting of foundry experts was ‘Tradition and future’, in recognition of the foundry sector’s outstanding tradition, along with its progressive scientific and technical development, promising an optimistic future. The main organiser of the conference was the Slovenian Foundrymen Society, collaborating with the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering and Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, University of Maribor. Lectures were divided into three groups: Plenary lectures – ten in total; Section A: Cast iron and casting technology – twelve presentations; Section B: Non-ferrous alloys – eleven lectures. In addition to the 33 lectures, there were eight poster presentations. Together the presentations captured a wide range of topics, such as: research and material testing, new technological solutions, latest developments, digitalisation of processes and technological procedures, additive technologies and the circular economy.

This conference was also supported by a foundry exhibition, with 26 companies taking part. The president of the Slovenian Foundrymen Society and organisational committee of IFC Portoroz, MSc Mirjam Jan-Blazic, delievered an opening address, where she stressed the tradition of the Slovenian Foundrymen Society, its importance for foundry growth, 67 years of publishing the Slovenian technical magazine ‘Livarski vestnik’, and many collaborations with other global associations. Speaking about the event MSc Mirjam Jan-Blazic said: “The 60th IFC Portoroz was a big celebration, despite being held under completely new conditions. It was difficult during lockdown, because we missed many foundry events and the importance of our professional and social contacts. We had to adapt our original plans but we are appreciative that we were able to attract a high number of participants and we thank them for their support.”

She said that the global pandemic had provided “a warning” for the foundry industry, but that it would respond positively. “Foundries will remain an important and irreplaceable part of industry as a whole and will continue to secure the survival and development of all other industries.”

The occasion also enabled the Society to present awards in the form of Slovenian Foundrymen Society Medals as a special recognition for collaboration and contributions to facilitate growth of the international conference. The following were honoured: Austrian Foundry Research Institute Leoben, Dipl-Ing Mont Erich Nechtelberger; Prof Dr Reinhard Döpp, Technical University of Clausthal Germany; Dr-Ing Konrad Weiβ, executive director, RWP GmbH Germany; Emeritus Prof Dr Mont Alojz Križman, University of Maribor, editor in chief ‘Livarski vestnik’ and president of the Scientific Committee of IFC Portoroz and MSc Martin Debelak, Slovenian Chamber of Commerce and longtime secretary of the Slovenian Foundrymen Society.

The 61st IFC Portoroz 2021 will take place from 15th to 17th September 2021. www.drustvo-livarjev.si