Its members are scientific and technological societies and associations, groups and companies around the world with main or significant interest in heat treatment and surface engineering. In particular it maintains regular contact between materials science and engineering interests and mechanical engineering interests.
Its central function is to promote and generate international communication on important issues in the science, practice and industrial application of heat treatment and surface engineering
IFHTSE's authority is its Governing Council, representing all member bodies, which holds an Annual Assembly. An Executive Committee appointed by the Assembly manages the Federation between Annual Assemblies.
IFHTSE holds a Congress and a programme of specific-theme conferences. Groups address specific issues of interest and importance.
IFHTSE has Consultancy Status with UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organisation).