A group of 750 delegates and other participants recently attended the 19th International Forging Congress (IFC) held Sept. 7-9, 2008, in Chicago, Ill. Although the conference has been held in the U.S. before, it has been 22 years since the U.S. last hosted the event. The hosting organization was the Forging Industry Association of Cleveland, Ohio.

The IFC included a complete technical and business program that covered topics ranging from tooling to automation to overviews of the forging industry in different countries and regions around the world. Additionally, the two-day technical program was supplemented by an exhibition in which nearly 40 suppliers to the international forging industry displayed the gamut of products and services they offered.

In total, 27 countries were represented at the Congress. These included: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Czech Republic, France, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Mexico, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Turkey, United Kingdom and the United States. Outside North America, the largest foreign delegations were from Brazil, China, Germany, India, Italy and Japan.

Conference chairman Jim Link (MFC Group) formally opened the conference program on the morning of Sept. 8, welcoming all the delegates and thanking them for their attendance. Link recognized members of the event’s organizing committee, as well as its five corporate sponsors: A. Finkl & Sons Co., Acheson, Bohler-Uddeholm, GerdauMACSTEEL and Timken.

Link closed his remarks by introducing Jose Yudego (Cie Automotive, Spain), vice president of Euroforge. Yudego filled in for originally scheduled Euroforge president Jean-Louis DeGuy, who was unable to attend the conference. Yudego gave a brief history of the IFC, followed by a preview of the technical program and the plant tours held in different U.S. cities at the close of the technical program and exhibit.

At the heart of IFC ’08 was its technical program, held on Sept. 8 and 9. This year’s papers were well attended, and despite the huge ballroom venue, latecomers sometimes found themselves standing. During the two days of papers, attendees heard business and technical presentations from all over the world. They learned of the status of the forging industries of China, Europe, India, Japan, North America and the Pacific Rim countries. Other major topics included an analysis of global steel trends, automation, process simulation and modeling, lubricants, induction heating, technical developments in metal-forming machinery, controls and monitoring systems, increasing die life, updates on forging and die steels, and reviews of forging technologies for automotive applications.

The IFC’s exhibition hall was open for the two days of the technical program. Congress attendees could peruse the exhibits at their leisure and at extended meal times and visit with representatives of the companies that were exhibiting. Delegates packed the aisles at these times, when they could view the latest product offerings of exhibitors (see List of Exhibitors). On the evening of the second day, there was a closing reception and dinner, at which it was announced that IFC ’11 would be hosted by India.

On the days following the close of the formal program, delegates dispersed to different U.S. cities (Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit and Los Angeles) for selected plant tours open to foreign delegates.

SIDEBAR: List of Exhibitors at IFC '08

A. Finkl & Sons Co.
ABP Induction Systems
Ajax TOCCO Magnethermic
Bodycote Thermal Processing Inc.
Bohler-Uddeholm Corporation
Composite Forgings Ltd.
CONDAT Lubricants
Cor-Met, Inc.
Dango & Dienenthal GmbH
Dylon Industries, Inc.
Erie Press Systems
Fuchs Lubricants Co. – Lubrodal Div.
GERB Vibration Control Systems, Inc.
Girard Engineering, Inc.
Inductotherm Group
Inter-Power Corporation
Kadant AES
LASCO Engineering Services LLC
Magellan International Trading Corp.
National Machinery LLC
Presstrade Handelsgesellschaft GmbH
Quantor-Form/Form Technology, Inc.
Republic Engineered Products, Inc.
Rimrock Corporation
Schuler-Muller Weingarten
Scientific Forming Technologies Corporation
SMS Electrotherm GmbH
SMS Eumuco GmbH/Wagner Banning Ring Rolling Div.
SMS Meer Service, Inc.
Superior Die Set Corporation
Technology Management Services/Transvalor
The Timken Corporation
Vibro/Dynamics Corporation
Weld Mold Company