The Institute of Materials Finishing

The Institute of Materials Finishing is the premier technical organisation representing professionals, academia and major manufacturing companies in the materials finishing and surface engineering industries within the UK and the world. A charitable organisation, it is managed by volunteers who give their time to promote continued success for our exciting industry.

Originally founded in 1925 as the Electrodepositors Technical Society, after celebrating the 25th anniversary of its formation, a decision was made to widen the interests to cover all aspects of metal finishing, whilst retaining the main objectives of promoting the study of, and disseminating information on finishing processes. To reflect this wider brief, the name was changed to The Institute of Metal Finishing.

During the past few years, it became apparent that our membership, both individual and sustaining, was being drawn from much wider sections of industry, including an increasing representation of organic finishing, and the treatment of a wider variety of substrates, to include plastics, wood and even fabrics.

To reflect this change, the board of the Institute, with the backing of the full membership, agreed to encompass these additional finishing activities and in 2012 the name was changed to the Institute of Materials Finishing. The new name reflected our desire and ability to work within the wider industry whilst retaining our recognised IMF initials.

The main objectives of dissemination and education remain as the guiding principles of the Institute today, with our education and training courses being held in high esteem throughout the worldwide finishing industries. We offer a full range of training courses, starting from our “Foundation” courses, which provide a basic grounding in all aspects of materials finishing, to include simple chemistry of coatings, application, health and safety and personal protection.

On successful completion of the Foundation course, students can elect to move forward to onto our Technician courses, which involve more detailed study of specific subjects usually linked with their actual employment. A pass in two modules results in the student achieving Technician grade, and to progress to professional membership of the Institute.

Recently we have seen two students from a very supportive member company move on to take the Licentiate qualification. This requires detailed “book” research into a specific finishing subject, followed by practical evaluation and a written thesis detailing the work conducted. This was the first instance for many years of this grade of education being studied, and the two students were well supported not only by members of the Institute but by their company. It is pleasing to report that both students successfully completed the assignments and were awarded this prestigious qualification.

In addition to offering these various technical qualifications, the Institute now offer practical training courses, aimed at operators in both plating and painting industries. These are typically organised at the Client’s premises and cover both basic theory in coatings manufacture and application, health and safety and personal protection, and major in the practical application, to include addressing any specific finishing issues. For more information on any of the education and training courses discussed, please contact David Meacham at the IMF Birmingham office.

The Institute have already commenced planning of our next major conference, IMFair18, which is scheduled to take place in September 2018 at the Chateau Impney hotel in Droitwich. IMFair18 will follow the successful format of previous events within this series of conferences, and will feature technical presentations on materials finishing and surface engineering within a number of industries to include automotive and aerospace. Alongside the conference will run an exhibition of companies supplying materials and services to our industry, giving delegates an opportunity to discuss any finishing issues and new technologies with the exhibitors or through networking with fellow delegates.

The Institute welcomes suggestions for technical papers from both companies and academia in the materials finishing industries for presentation at IMFair18. If you are interested in offering to present, initially please submit a title and précis of a paper through Helen Wood at the IMF office. In addition to dissemination of technical information through conferences, the Institute also publishes two journals to members.

Transactions of the IMF, renowned as the leading journal for surface engineering and coatings is published 6 times per year, and provides international peer-reviewed coverage of all aspects of materials finishing, surface engineering and surface functionalisation, from fundamental research to in-service applications. Aimed at members, the Institute “house magazine” IMFormation is published in alternate months to Transactions. Featuring information on the day to day activities of the Institute, it is also an ideal medium for members, particularly sustaining company members, to communicate with fellow members about innovations and other company news.

The Institute is built around regional groups and technical and operational committees who report into a management board. Both the Southern branch and the Irish branch have very active committees and both organise day or evening seminars and training programmes with member companies. The Sheffield and North East branch are best known for their excellent spring dinner dance, an annual event not to be missed.

Operational committees include Science, who watch and review technology advances; Organic who are responsible for keeping abreast of developments in paints and paint finishing; Publications who manage the input into transactions and Education and Training who take responsibility for managing the training and education courses, and Exam and Qualifications who take review training examination and professional qualifications of members. Marketing and Membership, who take responsibility for engaging with potential members, and co-ordinate our marketing activities, including our web-site and conference planning.

The Institute welcomes applications for membership from all professionals in the materials finishing and surface engineering industries who are keen to see the continuation of technology growth and success in these industries. Additionally companies working in these industries are invited to become Sustaining Members, and gain networking access to similarly minded companies through both IMFormation and seminars and meetings.

For more information on membership, please contact David Meacham at the Birmingham office.

The Institute of Materials Finishing
Exeter House, 48 Holloway Head,
Birmingham B1 1NQ
Telephone: 0121 622 7387
Email: david@materialsfinishing.org / helen@materialsfinishing.org