Slovenia is a leading foundry nation - 60 years of the International Foundry Congress in Portoroz

A foundry, political and human role model for international research and cooperation

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Thomas Fritsch, Chief Editor

The Slovenian Foundry Association under the leadership of Msci Dipl.-Ing. Mirjam Jan-Blažič invites you to the 60th anniversary of the international foundry conference in Portoroz on the Adriatic.

In 1953 the Association of Slovenian Foundry Specialists was founded in Ljubljana, always with the aim of leading a lively exchange with international experts beyond the borders of former Yugoslavia. On the one hand, this was the opportunity to present yourself and measure yourself against the others while keeping the doors open to international research and development. Bit by bit, an ambitious foundry industry was built up with powerful foundries and a few suppliers.

The conference in the idyllic Portoroz on the Adriatic was initially held mainly in Slovenian and German. Only since 2001 is it held only in English to meet the increasingly international demands. In the meantime, the representatives of the WFO (World Foundry Organization) as well as CAEF, and traditionally the German and Austrian Foundry Associations, and changing associations from different countries as well as various universities are accompanying the event.

60 years of Portoroz - a mirror of international politics
60 years of foundry conference in Portoroz means that political developments in Europe are also reflected here. While the first meetings were held during the “Cold War” under Yugoslavian leadership, a new chapter was written in May 1991 with the declaration of independence by the State of Slovenia. In the course of political change and the opening up to Europe, there were many opportunities, and the event became a leading forum for speakers and exhibitors. The peak so far was the World Technical Forum of the WFO in 2019 with 400 participants and 100 lectures - a highlight in the history of the organization.

Slovenia is a leading foundry nation
If you measured annual cast production by the number of inhabitants, Slovenia would be the leading foundry country in the world, says President Msci Dipl.-Ing. Mirjam Jan-Blažič with a smile.

Around 70 foundries with around 5,000 employees produce almost 200,000 t of cast iron per year, of which 2/3 are cast iron and 1/3 are non-ferrous. The customers of the Slovenian foundries mainly come from the automotive, railway, mechanical engineering, and glass industries as well as agriculture sectors. At the moment, the companies, like almost all of the world, are affected by the losses resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In April and May 2020, many companies were locked down and had to cope with significant losses, as they were closely linked to the European supply chains. From June 2020, things have slowly started up again and the forecasts predict a 15% decline in production if 2020 is favorable. The foundries, which are less dependent on automobiles, are in good shape and, like everyone else, benefit from the support measures of the Slovenian government with subsidies and bridging.

Portoroz 2020 - the anniversary event
Despite Corona, President Mirjam Jan-Blažič has big plans for the anniversary meeting in September 2020. The event will be carried out safely in strict compliance with all rules for social distancing. The organizers expect a little less than the normal 150-200 participants. A total of 35 lectures are planned and 40 exhibitors have registered. The traditionally very atmospheric and cordial accompanying program on the Adriatic must of course also be adapted to the current conditions, but should in any case offer an appropriate opportunity for personal exchange. This is especially important in difficult times, Jan-Blažič emphasizes, because the greatest challenges of the global economic crisis, recession, corona and the transformation of the industrial world are best tackled together. She hopes the economy will recover in the second half of the year and that the industry will quickly turn towards the actual challenges.

Sustainable development no longer means economic growth and maximizing profits at any price, because it is important to take into account the modern demands of a "green economy" in terms of the environment and in favor of climate change, and this also includes the transformation in drive technology to e-mobility and to hybrid vehicles.

The more the foundry industry is aware of this, the more powerfully it can tackle the challenges.

About Msci Dipl.-Ing. Mirjam Jan-Blažič
She has been a graduate engineer at the Faculty of Technology and Metallurgy in Belgrade since 1972.

Her professional activity began in the laboratory of LTH Skofia Loka, and in 1977 she was appointed director of the LTH foundry - a position that she successfully held until 1997. Then she joined the Slovenian steelworks Slovenske Zelezarne as a project manager and consultant on the board to privatize the company.

Since 2005, she has been the President of the Association of Slovenian Foundry Specialists, of which she has been at the forefront since 1978, and among other things she organizes the International Foundry Conference in Portoroz.
Mirjam Jan-Blažič is networked worldwide and enjoys the highest international reputation. Even in difficult times, her optimism and innovative spirit give the necessary energy to meet the requirements at all times.

Good luck, dear Mirjam, and congratulations on your 60th anniversary in Portoroz!


Company Info

Slovenian Foundrymen`s Society

Lepi pot 6, p.p. 424
1001 Ljubljana

Telephone: +386 1 252 24 88