It gives me pleasure to bring readers news of heat-treatment activities in Europe.

We’ll start with the International Federation of Heat Treatment and Surface Engineering (IFHTSE) and its forthcoming events in Europe and the U.S. Although over by the time you read this, the conference for Heat Treatment and Surface Engineering for Tribological Performance deserves mention. It was held in the Estonian city of Tallinn in early November at the Tallinn University of Technology. The focus of the conference was surface engineering/modification by thermochemical methods and the tribology of wear.

As we are all aware, wear resistance is of great importance in the automotive industry and other engineering disciplines. This now-completed conference was of great importance to engineers involved in wear resistance.

Looking at next year’s slate, IFHTSE will partner with ASM International to host the 23rd Annual IFHTSE Congress April 18-22 in Savannah, Ga. This promises to be a very unique event, bringing together two major organizations with common interests in the field of heat treatment and surface engineering/modification. It further promises to attract well-known metallurgical scientists and experts.

Following the 23rd Congress in the U.S., a Central European show will be held May 11-13, 2016. IFHTSE will host the 3rd International Conference on Heat Treatment and Surface Engineering in Automotive Applications in Prague. It is organized in conjunction with various European heat-treatment associations for the transfer of knowledge for research and practice. The conference will embrace developments in the subjects of:

  • Distortion and its causes
  • Modeling for distortion 
  • Design for distortion and reliability
  • Environmental results of distortion

The event will further embrace thermochemical metallurgical procedures such as nitriding (gaseous and plasma techniques), carburizing (atmosphere) and carburizing (low-pressure/vacuum techniques).

To round out 2016, IFHTSE will host the 3rd Mediterranean Conference on Heat Treatment and Surface Engineering Sept. 26-28 in Slovenia.

I would like to take some time to, once again, promote the subject of training. Without continual training, a football team, baseball team, soccer team or cricket team cannot stay on top and in front of their game. To that end, I would like to mention two heat-treatment training courses that I conducted in early November in India. The topics covered in these seminars included nitriding, ferritic nitrocarburizing, carburizing and carbonitriding.

In the U.K., a recent news story related to training caught our eye. Tata Steel in South Wales opened the doors of its academy with more than 100 apprentices and trainees. At the conclusion of the program, trainees will qualify for key professions in the steel industry, including mechanical and electrical engineering, welding, fabrication and rigging. The group also includes technical trainees and functional apprentices who will work in business areas such as finance and commercial disciplines such as sales and marketing.

Thankfully, this positive steel training story helps to balance recent news from SSI UK. The Thai-owned company closed the doors of one of the U.K.’s largest steelmaking operations in Redcar, after 160 years of business, a move that put 1,700 out of work.

Back to the subject of training, in this writer’s opinion, it does not matter how good the design of a product is or how good the material selection is, without good (excellent) heat treatment, the product can fail.

Just think of the aerospace industry and remember that there is only one shot at getting the heat treatment right. If it is not done correctly – the first time – there is no garage in the sky that can fix the problem. Training, training and even more training! Better yet, take Tata Steel’s example and consider apprenticeship training for your business.