CAEF - the European Foundry Association - is the alliance of 22 national foundry associations from 21 European countries. The European Foundry Association was established in 1953 and thus belongs to the pioneers of the European unification process. The General Secretariat is situated in Düsseldorf since 1997.
It is the statutory mission of CAEF to look into any and all questions that are of importance to the foundry industry, be they economic, technical, legal, or social. At the same time, CAEF implements activities which aim at developing national foundry industries and co-ordinating their shared international interests.
In other words: CAEF is a universal organisation which covers the entire variety of casting materials, combining the activities of an industry federation and a technical society of foundries.
The activities of CAEF are twofold in principle:
Firstly, to endorse the interests of the foundry industry towards European and other institutions and authorities. What is more, CAEF is increasingly being addressed by worldwide partners in all matters relating to the foundry industry of Europe, which in many regions of the world is meanwhile regarded as a single unit.
Secondly, the activities of CAEF also focus on promoting information exchange among national foundry associations, and on co-ordinating the activities of national associations wherever this appears indicated to benefit the industry as a whole.
At this stage, CAEF already has its own well-developed institutional structure of co-operation among national foundry associations. That this is indeed so is documented by the existence of numerous commissions, groups, and sections which handle CAEF's practical work.
Besides the association organs enumerated below, there is a Committee of Managing Directors and a Secretary General's office, both concentrate mainly on co-ordinating the activities of the various commissions, groups, and sections as well as on representing CAEF in contacts with EU institutions and the public.
The activities of the commissions focus on issues of general interest, i.e. matters concerning the entire foundry industry, independently of national affiliations. At the moment, there are six commissions within CAEF, of which commission no. 1 deals with vocational training, commission no. 2 with environmental protection, commission no. 3 with common research, commission no. 4 with issues relating to terms of contracts and subcontracting issues, commission no. 5 with business administration and management, and commission no. 7 with statistics and economic analyses.
The organisation of CAEF groups is based on material categories. Currently, there are groups for steel castings and non-ferrous metal castings. Much of the activity in a group consists of exchanging information about the economic situation prevailing in member countries with regard to casting materials, investigating market and cost developments, and addressing specific problems.
The sections of CAEF represent a category of working groups which, however, are set apart from CAEF groups by the fact that they are product-related. Currently, there are CAEF sections for automotive castings, continuous casting, castings for general engineering, rolls, precision castings and wind turbine castings.
The CAEF Young Entrepreneurs´ Club is a special unit established to encourage the younger generation within family-run foundries to create their own European wide networking and to discuss problems related to multi-generations management.