- To function as the key multinational body to encourage and facilitate open discussion of matters relevant to heat treatment and surface engineering globally; to foster knowledge transfer through conferences and publishing, through education and training, and through formal and informal networks
- To encourage optimum understanding of the place of heat treatment and surface engineering processes in engineering component design and in engineering systems
- To ensure an interdisciplinary approach to Objective 2 by considering materials science, materials engineering, mechanical, civil and chemical engineering, and - whenever and wherever appropriate - questions of economics, energy and energy management, workplace health and safety, the environment and society
- To recognise achievement in the field in general, and to place emphasis on recognising early achievement, by encouraging promising younger individuals working in research or industry
- To encourage mutually beneficial interaction among different national bodies across the disciplines
- To encourage conference programme coordination, collaboration in planning, and a good global spread of high-quality events
- To facilitate the nucleation of national or multinational bodies or groups when required
FOUNDATION AND DEVELOPMENT
Origins in the USA and Western Europe
Following World War II, the growing interest in heat treatment principles and processes led inevitably to a rapid increase in the number of technical and scientific meetings, variously titled colloquia, conferences, symposia, etc. This development was accompanied by increasingly frequent attendance at national conferences by participants, especially those presenting papers, from other countries. Heat treaters in national groupings and societies were ever more anxious to arrange routine exchanges of information and views with foreign colleagues, and cross-border contact within Western Europe and between Western Europe and the COMECON countries became a normal condition. The national conferences on heat treatment organised by groups in, for example, the Federal Republic of Germany (the regular Härtereikolloquium of the Deutsche Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Wärmebehandlung und Werkstofftechnik), in France (meetings of the Société Française de Métallurgie, and in the UK (meetings of a Group of the Iron and Steel Institute), routinely included foreign authors in their technical programmes.
The initiative for the first truly multinational discussion was taken as early as 1955 by Professor Otto Schaaber, then Director of the Institut für Härtereitechnik in Bremen. On the occasion of a Joint Metallurgical Societies Meeting, organised by VDEh (Verein Deutsche Eisenhüttenleute, Germany) and ASM (the American Society for Metals, USA) in Düsseldorf on 10 June 1955, discussion was directed at identifying the most important heat treatment questions. At that time, hardenability was of prime interest. The Düsseldorf discussion between W E Jominy (USA), who stressed the central significance of hardenability, and Dr H Kiessler (Germany), whose ideas concentrated on toughness, is a landmark in these exchanges.
Professor Schaaber was sufficiently stimulated by the obvious success of this early meeting to organise a further event in Stuttgart on 20 October of the same year. The outcome of this second meeting was a resolution to arrange, on an annual basis if possible, 'International colloquia on heat treatment' - initially for invited audiences. These colloquia were organised by the Institut für Härtereitechnik until 1960, after which they were organised jointly with the Société Française de Métallurgie.
At the same time, a similar trend was evident in the COMECON countries and this led to a widely recognised series referred to as the 'International Symposium on Metal Science and Heat Treatment'. The first of these was held in Warsaw in 1967 and was organised by Poland’s Institute for Precision Mechanics. This series also ran every two years and, as a result of the excellent level of understanding among those involved, the Western European series was timed to fall on even years, and the Eastern European series on odd years.
Foundation of a worldwide organisation
In parallel, pressure grew for the foundation of a multinational organisation devoted to heat treatment interests. Professor W Stuhlmann, President of the Deutsche Arbeitsgemeinschaft Wärmebehandlung und Werkstofftechnik, working with Professor Schaaber on the occasion of the 26th Härtereikolloquium (Wiesbaden, 8 October 1970), issued invitations to a meeting with the specific objective of discussing the foundation of an ‘International Federation for the Heat Treatment of Materials’. That meeting assembled representatives of societies in Austria, France, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.
In support of a general agreement to form the new organisation, the Swiss Association for the Heat Treatment of Materials offered to supply the necessary funding for the launch of the proposed Federation. Dr H U Meyer, at that time Director of Climax Molybdenum, Zurich, agreed to serve as Chairman of the Founding Committee, with Urs Wyss, then President of the Swiss Association, as Secretary. Present at the foundation meeting were representatives of Austria, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the UK.
With the emergence and growth of the set of technologies and processes now widely known as 'surface engineering' the Federation quickly recognised the need to link the two and the name was changed, in 1986 to its present form. The acronym IFHT was retained for several years but was recently modified to the more accurate IFHTSE.
From 1971, both international series of conferences came under the general control of IFHTSE. At the 14th (old serial numbering) International Colloquium in Salzburg in 1972, the 1st Assembly of the IFHTSE Governing Council was held, and constitutional matters finalised, on 16 May that year.
On this firm basis, interest spread quickly among other European countries and beyond. For example, the USA, in the shape of ASM, formally joined in 1976; Japanese interest and involvement was strong from the earliest days; China was first represented at the Assembly in Warsaw in 1981, and Australia joined in 1982.
In the 90s of the twentieth century, newly formed heat treatment and surface engineering societies in Korea and Iran joined. In Europe, the changes that then took place also yielded new bodies: associations in Croatia and Slovenia replaced the former Yugoslav member. Romania rejoined after a period of absence. An association in Prague represents Czech and Slovak interests. In Latin America, Brazil is a member. More recently, relations have developed with organisations in India and Thailand, and in 2005, the Mediterranean area is represented by organisations in Egypt and Malta.