Speakers of the 2nd International Forum


Riccardo Ferrario
GM & President Amafond

Riccardo Ferrario is the general manager of Idra S.r.l and has full responsibility of the Idra Group business worldwide. Mr. Ferrario joined the Group in April 2009.

He has over 36 years of experience in the light alloy foundry business and worked for global companies such as Teksid (Fiat Group metallurgical product division), EurAlcom Group and Meridian Technologies.

Mr. Ferrario is a metallurgical engineer who graduated from Polytechnic of Turin (Italy) in 1982 and possesses strong experience in foundry manufacturing process and business development. He was a member of the board of High Pressure Die Casting Technology of AIM (Italian Metallurgical Association), he is currently president of AMAFOND (Italian Foundry Supplier Association) since July 23rd 2020, and is well known in the aluminum and magnesium foundry community worldwide.


Luca Ciferri
Ass Publisher & Chief Editor

Luca Ciferri began his journalism career in April 1980 as a reporter at Italy’s largest publishing group, Rizzoli-Corriere della Sera, in Milan.

Following stints at the Il Corriere Medico daily newspaper, Il Mondo business weekly and Capital, a lifestyle & business monthly, in Milan, he left the publishing group in 1983 and joined Italdesign Giugiaro S.p.A as vice president of communications.

In 1988, after nearly ¬five years at Italdesign Giugiaro, Luca returned to journalism as the Italian correspondent for German magazine Auto Motor und Sport. Later that summer he joined Detroit-based Crain Communications Inc, first as a special correspondent at Automotive News and then as European editor at AutoWeek, a job he held for 13 years. In February 1996, Luca became one of the original members of the Automotive News Europe editorial team. He started as Italian correspondent and was later promoted to chief correspondent at Automotive News Europe.

In June 2012, Luca was named Automotive News Europe editor. In January 2017 he added the role of associate publisher. Luca studied mathematics and literature at Pavia University in Pavia, Italy.


Sandy Munro
Owner & CEO

Sandy Munro, Founder and CEO of Munro & Associates, has over 40 years of hands-on experience implementing change through innovation and hard work.  Working on everything from Barbie® to the International Space Station, Sandy’s patented Lean Design® methodology has made him the go-to solution provider for cost reduction and quality improvement.

Crowned the “Teardown Titan” by SAE Automotive Engineering, Sandy has assessed nearly every EV produced since 1991, including the EV1, BMWi3, Toyota Prius, Nissan Leaf, Chevy Volt and Bolt, Tesla Models S, X, 3, and Y, the Ford Mustang Mach-E and F150 Lightning.

Sandy shares his wealth of EV knowledge on Munro Live’s YouTube channel.  He and his team of experts offer viewers a behind the scenes look at Munro’s teardown process. Sandy’s entertaining yet informative approach attracts an attentive and diverse audience.

Munro’s Specialties:  New product development, training & workshop facilitation, benchmarking & technology reports, reverse engineering & IP patent reviews, design & manufacturing optimization, development lifecycle support, program implementation, and supply chain management.


Ruggero Zambelli
Quality Director

Education/ Academic studies
1980 – 1985 Industrial Technical Diploma
Professional career
1987 – 1990 Foundry alloying department manager
1990 – 2015 Head of Quality, Quality Management System and Customer Service
2015 – 2023 Head of Quality, Customer Service and efficiency improvement of the production process.  


Eric Müller
Chief Technology Officer

Eric Müller is the chief technology officer of Gnutti Carlo Group Casting Division and has global responsibility for the technical departments of the 5 HPDC plants. Mr. Müller joined Gnutti Carlo Group in August 2020. He has over 15 years of experience within HPDC business and investment casting and worked for global companies such as +GF+ and Tital GmbH (Howmet Aerospace).

Mr. Müller is a casting engineer with a master degree from FH SWF of Meschede (Germany). His areas of responsibility has been focused on operations and engineering, as plant manager and managing director of several companies.  Within the Gnutti Carlo Group his areas of responsibility are strongly supporting the Gnutti way towards sustainability.


Hans Henrik Würtz
Owner & CEO

Furnaces By Professionals For Professionals

Hans Henrik Würtz is the Global CEO for STØTEK A/S which includes STOTEK Inc., Pewaukee, US and STOTEK China Ltd.

Hans Henrik joined STØTEK in 1992 and took over the company in 2007 and he has more than 32 years experience.

STØTEK´s strategy is to be the preferred partner of energy and process efficient aluminium delivery technology special for complex structural aluminium parts to automotive.


Christian Kurtsiefer
Managing Director

Born 24.02.1975

Degree in business administration @ University of Cologne, Germany


  • In the year 2007 CK joined the family-owned enterprise, KMA Umwelttechnik GmbH
  • In the year 2012 CK moved to Shanghai, China, as Managing Director, to open the China branch office
  • Since year 2022 Managing Director and Head of Sales of KMA Umwelttechnik GmbH

John Stokes
Marketing and Sales Director

John Stokes is a renowned Mechanical and Production Engineer with 37 years of experience in the die casting industry. In Idra he co-developed the GigaPress machine, revolutionizing the automotive sector by producing lightweight aluminium components. He is associated with Idra since 1995, leading sales, marketing, and contributing to projects supporting growth of the die casting industry.

As a lead in (FSA) The Foundry Star Alliance, a collaborative group of eight companies in the Die Casting industry focused on supporting and fostering rapid growth within the automotive body structure sector. This alliance aims to bring together expertise, resources, and innovative ideas to advance die casting technology, improve processes, and enhance the overall quality and efficiency of automotive body structures.

In such a collaboration, the participating companies can pool their knowledge, share best practices, and work on joint research and development projects. By leveraging each other's strengths and capabilities, they can collectively address challenges, stay ahead of market trends, and capitalize on opportunities for growth in the automotive industry.


Roberto Vavassori
Member of the Board

Roberto Vavassori, an accomplished manager, joined Brembo in 1978 and has since held various roles of increasing responsibility. He is recognized as an expert in the automotive sector, regularly speaking at international conferences. With extensive knowledge of regulatory frameworks, he actively participated in over twenty acquisition transactions.

Currently a board member of esteemed scientific and cultural institutions, Roberto also serves as Member of the Brembo Board and Vice Chairman of BSCCB SpA. Furthermore, he held prominent positions in ANFIA, CLEPA, and Confindustria. In addition to his professional achievements, he is passionate about motoring, art, music, travel, and volunteering.


Jérôme Favero
Head of Automotive Steel Solutions

Jérôme Favero has worked in ArcelorMittal Global R&D for 11 years. Today, as Head of Automotive Steel Solutions, he is in charge of piloting engineering and global R&D activities for generic automotive solutions and customer supports, including sustainability and additive manufacturing. Jérôme started his career as R&D engineer in Hot Stamping and then worked as resident engineer in close relationship with German car manufacturers.

Jerome holds an double-degree in mechanical engineering from both Arts et Metiers ParisTech (France) and the Technical University of Dresden (Germany)


Karl Radlmayr
Senior Vice President Research

Karl Michael Radlmayr, MSc, MBA
MSc Materials Science, Montanuniversity Leoben

Set up of the center for application technology, head of the department “forming technology and component behavior“
Technically responsible member of voestalpine for ULSAB, ULSAC, ULSAS, ULSAB-AVC (WorldAutoSteel)), application technology advisor for European OEMs.

1988-1998: voestalpine Stahl GmbH
1998-2000: Deputy head of the R&D-department of voestalpine group
Management of group projects and development of strategies for automotive business.
2000-2002: voestalpine motion division: Head of R&D and strategy
2002-2005: MD voestalpine Matzner GmbH in D
2005-2012: Head of technology and innovation of the Automotive Division
After fusion of the Automotive and Rollform Division in 2012:
Vice President Technology and Innovation in the new Metal Forming Division
Since 2017: Senior Vice President Research, Development and Digitalization


Bastian Drees
Global SME HPDC – Cosma Casting

Bastian Drees studied Mechanical Engineering with a specialization in Construction Technology at the University of Applied Sciences in Meschede (NRW) from 2003 to 2007.

Prior to his studies, he worked as a Tool Mechanic at Honsel GmbH & Co. KG in Meschede and completed his apprenticeship in the field of Mold Technology in 2003.

In 2005, Bastian joined Magna International at Cosma Casting Soest as a program manager and handled several projects for European and North American OEMs. He steadily advanced in his career, taking on management roles at Soest as Head of Engineering and later as Assistant General Manager.

His dedication and expertise earned him the esteemed position of Global SME HPDC with global responsibilities, which he assumed in May 2023.


Marco Corti
President & CEO

Marco Corti was born in Bosisio Parini in 1965.

He started working at Costamp in 1988, supporting the founding fathers of the toolshop ( which at that time was a relatively small one specialized in the manufacturing of small HPDC tools for brass components ) in all aspects of the company life.

He took the reins shortly after, following his intuition that Costamp should focus on larger and larger HPDC tools and looking for new fields which would ensure a consistent source of business.

Starting from 1994 the automotive sector became the main reference market for Costamp.

Marco’s relentless will and his drive towards innovation and technical excellence steered the company through decades of constant growth, with Costamp establishing a reputation as one of the most skilled and reliable HPDC toolmakers on the market.

Under Marco’s guidance, the years starting from 2010 saw Costamp expanding its portfolio of solutions, incorporating technologies such as LPDC, gravity casting, sand casting and plastic injection.

A trailblazer in the design and development of automotive structural and battery components since 2007, Costamp was selected by renowned OEMs as a strategical partner for the development of cutting edge Giga castings and tools which will help to lead the automotive sector towards a future of electrification and sustainability.

Marco’s vision now has been accomplished: turning his company from a “simple” manufacturer of pieces of equipment into a provider of global solutions for mobility.


Dominik Baumgartner
Owner & CEO

2004 Master Graduation from the University of Applied Science, as Mechanical Engineer
2004 Internship at Alcan Aluminum
2005-2015 Head of Sales and Marketing at Fondarex
2016 at present    CEO at Fondarex


Jochen Merz
Chief Technical Officer

Born 1979
Degree in mechanical engineering, production and organization @ Esslingen University of Applied Sciences
BOCAR Group Mexico
2006-2010 Head of machining manufacturing department @ Chihuahua Plant Mexico
Since 2011 Managing Director BOCAR GmbH Germany (Sales & Project management with European Customers + Engineering all business units)
Since 2017 Managing Director of BTC GmbH ( BOCAR Technology Center )
Since 2021 CTO BOCAR Germany

Mauro Inverardi
President & Owner

Mauro Inverardi was born in Brescia in 1967.

During his career, he has developed dozens of patents; he had been the first in die-casting industry to develop the Inverter Adaptive System on pumps.

Mauro Inverardi has been the President and CEO of IECI for the last 23 years.

He took over the company when it had 18 people in one plant. Today IECI consists of 60 people, has 5 plants in Italy and 4 service points on 3 continents.

In recent years, Mauro Inverardi has shifted IECI's production to the high pressure die casting sector only.

In order to be able to 100% complete the offer not only of temperature control units but also of connection plants and services, Inverardi founded two new companies in synergy with IECI: VECTOR PRECISION and MIRAI.

He is currently a member of the board of directors of AMAFOND.


Björn Wollin
Owner & CEO

Björn Wollin is the owner and CEO of Wollin GmbH, a family-owned company situated near Stuttgart in southwest Germany.

He graduated at the University of Applied Science in Aalen as electronics and computer science engineer and began his career as a development engineer working on inline measuring devices in assembly lines for automotive components.

He joined Wollin GmbH on May 1999, taking over the CEO position from his father Rudolf in 2005.

With over 50 years of experience in the high-pressure diecasting industry Wollin is known as a leading supplier of die spraying equipment and solution provider for cell automation.


Ruggero Pederzoli
President & Owner

President and founder of Meccanica Pi.Erre
Mechanical industrial qualification:

13 years of experience in three companies, from project manager to plant manager and main officers.

  • Member of the management board of the mechatronics sector in Confindustria Brescia
  • Member of the management board of Amafond
  • Chairman of the professional training center R. Vantini school in Rezzato

Thomas Fritsch
CEO and Chief Editor

Thomas Fritsch, a 66-year-old Bavarian media manager, found his passion in the media world after studying economics in Munich and working for publishing houses.
With the increasing globalization of European industry, he recognized the potential in mechanical engineering and its connection to the foundry industry. Almost 30 years ago, he encountered the conservative foundry industry amidst the rise of automation and digitalization in mechanical engineering, which fascinated him. This led to the launch of Foundry-Planet.com, the first digital medium for the international foundry industry, almost 20 years ago.
Today, Foundry-Planet is the leading information medium for the global casting community, serving foundries, machine builders, casting buyers, universities, consultants, and investors from all around the world.
As co-owner and editor-in-chief, Thomas Fritsch values communication and the exchange of information in a world filled with sensory overload and fake news. He remains deeply involved in the industry and cherishes personal connections with all those engaged in the process. Let's seize this opportunity and continue to communicate!

Mario Conserva
Editor-in-Chief Aluminium & Alloys Magazine

Expert on the aluminium industry, production, technologies, uses, communication and technical information. Freelance journalist.