In the 1990s, the automotive industry and its suppliers changed. What had been national markets served by national industries became European and global markets. This especially affected the manufacturing sites as well as the purchasing markets of the automotive industry, which accounted for 60% of demand for European-made forgings – by far the most important customer of Europe’s forges. Thus, the national forging trade associations were increasingly confronted with the cross-border problems of their member companies. As a result, important member companies belonging to their national forging associations (in particular those of Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden) pushed for the establishment of an influential and efficient pan-European platform.
Starting in late 1998, the cornerstones of a contract began to be developed. These were to become the basis for Euroforge’s founding meeting in Paris in November 2000. The group’s main objectives were not only to retain members in the Euroforge member associations, but also to gain new members by providing an attractive organizational service platform. In close cooperation with each other, each Euroforge member association has taken responsibility for a particular Euroforge service. The central Euroforge organization has a president, two vice presidents and a general secretary as chairman of the board and is characterized by having a decentralized organizational structure. Euroforge’s General Assembly meets once a year, while the working body of the CEOs of the national member associations, the Board Committee and important working groups all meet regularly twice a year. Only national trade associations can be members, but exceptions can be made where countries have no such association. The tasks of Euroforge are carried out by staff or members of the member associations on an honorary basis.
The Start of the “New” Euroforge
Forgenet International has members on most major continents.
On Nov. 10, 2000, the first General Assembly of the “New” Euroforge was held in Paris. The statutes with the decentralized organizational structure were passed and the first budget was presented. The first president was Peter Sundström (Sweden). Erwin Peddinghaus (Germany) and Dino Ruffato (Italy) were elected as the first vice presidents, and Dr. Theodor L. Tutmann (Germany) was elected as general secretary. The first official meeting of the Executive Board took place the following day, when the working groups and their assignments were defined and their members appointed. These groups were the Automotive Group, the Open-Die Working Group, the Technical Committee, Statistics and Communication.
Additional important activities in 2000 and 2001 were the specific goals for the association’s work, the organization of an Open-Die Working Group and especially the organization of the 17th International Forging Congress (IFC). This global congress, which takes place every three years, was held in Cologne in June 2002 and was a great success.
The strategy and working methods of Euroforge found great acclamation. Since that time, Euroforge has profiled itself to become the representative of the European forging industry. On the occasion of the Cologne congress, Euroforge invited for the first time the presidents and CEOs of national forging associations worldwide. Closer cooperation was agreed upon. ForgeNet International, a global coalition of forging associations from most major continents, was founded. Also, the membership of Euroforge in Clepa (the European Association of Automotive Suppliers) was discussed, and it was passed in 2002. Euroforge is registered in Brussels as an international organization. This enables it, through its national member associations and their member companies, to take part in EU-sponsored projects. In 2003, Finland became the 10th member of Euroforge, and the Turkish association Dövsader was founded with considerable assistance from Euroforge in 2005. In June 2005, the Euroforge Forum Central and Eastern Europe took place in Brno (Czech Republic) with participants from 16 European countries.
Course Adjustments and New Orientation
Euroforge’s current officers: (left to right) Vice President Alper Kanca (Turkey), President Jose Yudego (Spain) and Vice President Dr. Stefan Witt (Germany)
In March 2003, the first signs of a global shortage of steel scrap, resulting from the boom in the Asian steel industry and its consequences, were seen. This problem subsequently was acutely manifest in the form of the termination of all delivery contracts by steel suppliers. As a result of intensive talks with the EU Commission, including suppliers and customers alike, the position of Euroforge and its member companies with steelworks and customers in Europe was considerably strengthened.
As a result of all this, Euroforge began a radical course adjustment in 2006, and a new orientation of its work by which the member associations and companies were increasingly integrated into its activities started. Examples of these changes are the alterations agreed upon in the Automotive Group and detailed in a catalog of actions. During the General Assembly in Birmingham (U.K.) in 2006, numerous changes and adjustments to Euroforge’s statutes were passed. An associated membership for members of the Open-Die Forging Group was established by inserting an extra article into the statutes. The Turkish Forging Association was admitted as the 11th member of Euroforge. Jean Louis Deguy (France) was elected as president and José Yudego (Spain) and Erwin Peddinghaus (Germany) as vice presidents. At the General Assembly in Chicago in 2008, the presidency was re-elected until 2010. The delegates of Forge-Net International met on the occasion of this Congress and agreed on Hyderabad (India) as the venue for the 20th IFC, which was held Nov. 13-17, 2011.
The General Assemblies and the activities of Euroforge in 2009 were dominated by the economic crisis. Thus, in the technical discussions at the General Assembly in Çesme (Turkey) in September 2009, along with routine topics, the effects of the recession on Euroforge members was the main point of interest. Staff reductions of up to 50% and loss of turnover of 30% for the passenger car sector and 60-70% for the commercial vehicle sector had occurred along with great financial risks for the companies involved. Strategies for surviving the crisis were considered in the proceedings of the various working groups and were received with great interest.
The steel industry was also experiencing collapses in turnover of up to 50%. Position papers on the subjects of retention of title to deliveries to different countries, OEM delivery schedules, a Clepa initiative for the support of automotive suppliers and the planned EU emissions trading law were all presented. In this crisis year, the advantages of having a strong organization and the close cooperation between member associations and companies became very clear.
The 2010 spring meeting in Stockholm began with a meeting of the Executive Board. The position paper on delivery schedules was discussed with important OEMs, and a general agreement was reached. Euroforge represents about 70% of European drop-forging production.
In September 2010, the 10th Annual Meeting of Euroforge took place in Brussels. The main points of interest were market trends in Asia, North America and Europe, which were dealt with in three working groups within the meeting of the European Automotive Group, and the election of the new Euroforge presidency with José Yudego (Spain) as president and Dr. Stefan Witt (Germany) and Alper Kanca (Turkey) as vice presidents.
On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the founding of the “New” Euroforge, the president of Businesseurope, Jürgen R. Thumann, the president of the North American Forging Association, Kevin Crowley, and the General Director of Clepa, Lars Holmqvist, were invited as guest speakers. After a decade in a leading role in Euroforge, retiring Vice President Peddinghaus gave a review of these 10 years of successful work for the European forging industry.
Dr. Theodor L. Tutmann is the current Secretary General of Euroforge, whose offices are in Hagen, Germany. He may be reached at email@example.com. A brochure issued on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the “New” Euroforge can be ordered free of charge from Ingrid Schallnus, firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit www.euroforge.org