Continued from pg 15

we make a difference to people’s lives. Of course, it goes without saying that all metallurgy and materials science based higher education courses should also include investment casting in their curriculum. We are also looking to create investment casting training material in conjunction with the

University of Birmingham and

other European academic institutions with a strong presence in casting, and to facilitate internships for students looking to gain industrial experience in the world of investment casting.


You’ve been a board member of the EICF for over 10 years and

you were appointed EICF Chairman in 2016 – a position you held for two years. Looking back on this time, how has the EICF evolved to better meet the needs of its members, and how do you think it should adapt going forward? What

an incredible

EICF conferences and seminars online – a big step towards our vision of going paperless. Conference attendees also have the means to communicate with one another via the Whova event app. Under normal circumstances (pre- pandemic), seminars and conferences are now held on an annual basis, with many of the presentation sessions running simultaneously to offer a wider, more personalised choice of presentation topics to those attending. In recent years, workshops have been replaced by themed seminars, and the exhibition, which is

vital to the

success of all of our seminars and conferences, runs in parallel with the main presentation sessions. In fact,

conference fees, including the journey. Dave Ford, the EICF’s previous

Secretary General, left the EICF in pretty good shape back in 2015 when Carlos Olabe took over the reins as CEO. Since then, the federation has gone from strength to strength with a membership which, for the first time, now exceeds 100 (including 11 Associate members from non-European countries). The board now comprises a diverse and eclectic mix of 20 board members and 5 ‘observers to the board’. We’re a dynamic team with a real sense of family, and everyone actively contributes to represent the best interests of foundries, suppliers and RTOs. A few years ago, we took a long hard look at our value proposition and, in response, the new face of the EICF was launched with new branding, a new logo and a completely overhauled website

design. Members can now request or access digitised conference proceedings dating back to 1955 (and video recordings of presentations from 2016 onwards) and all prospective attendees are now able to register for

16 ❘ December 2020 ®

additional income generated from exhibitors and sponsors, along with the EICF’s transition from a UK-based organisation to a Brussels-based organisation, has helped improve the sustainability of the EICF. It’s also been great to see EICF team up with ICI in offering INCAST as the joint official magazine for both organisations and we look forward to working with the ICI in preparing for the next World Conference

the EICF has made great

I’m particularly proud to say that strides


recognising those who have contributed most to the industry. In 2016, we introduced the Lifetime Achievement Award, closely followed by the EICF Golden Badge Award which recognises distinguished service to the EICF. In 2021, we’re also looking to introduce the Dr Robert Smart Award, in recognition of outstanding technical contribution to the IC industry in Europe. Advocacy is another area where the EICF are becoming more active. Recently, an EICF working party worked closely with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) to mitigate the impact of some of the ECHA’s restrictions which were due to be imposed on the use of microplastics - a key constituent in many of the industry’s investment casting waxes.The EICF successfully lobbied that future industrial use of microplastics be exempt from the ECHA restrictions, providing the European

investment casting industry continues to meet the controls that were mutually agreed between the EICF and the ECHA. It’s a fantastic example of what we can achieve when we collectively act in the best interests of our members. Looking forward, we have a clear vision of how we would like the EICF to develop and evolve. The EICF membership includes 6 RTO members (universities and institutes of technology). We’re looking to establish a Research Group with a high level of participation from our RTO members. Our aim is that the Research Group identifies potential opportunities for collaborative

investment casting-

related research and that we make best use of European funding opportunities to offset the cost of the research. It’s essential that the EICF develops a strong identity in front of the various European funding and regulatory bodies, and that the strategic importance of our industry be recognised at the highest level. We also need to continue to professionalise the day-to-day operation of the EICF and to continue our digital transformation. In the coming months, the EICF will transition to a Microsoft 365 environment with dedicated CRM tools to better manage the data and information held by the organisation. All

in Q A all, amazing progress

considering the EICF is powered by only two back office staff!

Following a period of extraor- dinary sustained growth (5.3%

CAGR 2010 to 2019), the European IC industry now finds itself facing consid- erable uncertainty as a consequence of the current global pandemic; foundries and suppliers to the industry are hav- ing to respond quickly to the downturn. What initiatives or actions would you recommend to companies having to adapt in these unprecedented times?

First of all, there’s no ‘one size fits all’ solution – the pandemic is affecting companies in a number of ways. That

said, there are some

common themes emerging. In the investment casting industry, the pandemic has led to a renewed impetus to tackle the eight lean

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