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HRO Design Forum

(In Finnish/Suomeksi)

a meeting place for the experts in demanding structures

The HRO Design Forum is a forum co-ordinated by LUT's Laboratory of Steel Structures for the designers, product developers and researchers of demanding structures.

The HRO Design Forum was established in 1992 at the LUT Laboratory of Steel Structures as a meeting place for the designers of welded structures. For a long time, the forum was known as the Forum for the Optimisation of Welded Structures (HRO).

When the forum joined the Finnish Welding and Joining Institute, co-ordinated by the Welding Society of Finland (SHY), at the beginning of 2002, the name "Design Forum" was adopted to better describe the broadened content. The forum has expanded to cover structures that are not welded, though welded structures are still at the core of the forum.

Purpose of the HRO Design Forum

The HRO Design Forum was established as a meeting place for the designers of welded and demanding structures with the operating idea:

  • to produce original research information
  • to actively develop interesting TEKES and EU research projects
  • to relay the latest research information to the participants through annually arranged theme days or in symposia
  • to form business groups that start joint product development projects to study common problems
  • to stimulate the establishment of company-specific service research and training days
  • to relay the information assembled within the framework of the International Institute of Welding (IIW) to the industry.


The HRO Design Forum consists of nearly forty member companies. All member companies are focused on the design, manufacture or development of demanding metal structures. In addition, the HRO network also includes suppliers of materials, computing, measuring and inspection services, as well as product developers and customers. Thus, the entire production chain of metal structures is represented.

Research projects

The interest of the members has focused on the fatigue phenomenon and, in particular, that of welded joints. In the section below, we list the research projects co-ordinated by the Laboratory of Structural and Strength Technology at the Lappeenranta University of Technology that have been completed, that are currently underway or that are being planned on topics that the HRO Design Forum considers interesting.

Planned Research Projects

  • determining the fatigue properties of the basic material
  • weld quality and fatigue
  • predicting and managing weld deformation and stress

Completed Research Projects

  • WiseROOT, studying the rootside fatigue of a weld joint
  • research project, "Hot Spot Method for the Fatigue Analysis of Weld Joints"
  • product development project, "Improving Fatigue Strength"
  • product development project, "Hot Spot Fatigue Strength of Long Durability"
  • research project, "Improving Fatigue Strength by Ultrasound Peening"

Theme Days of the HRO Design Forum

The theme days of the HRO Design Form (HRO Theme Days) are an annual conference for all those interested in the topic of the forum. In other words, companies, organisations and individuals that are not members of the forum may participate.

The regular participants have included the member companies, the faculty of polytechnical universities and technical institutes, structural designers, manufacturers and others interested in the topic.

The HRO Theme Days are typically held in August. The venue varies annually, but every other year the Theme Days are held at the Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT).

The programme includes presentations on the latest research in the field and the companies' own research projects, as well as international aspects. Additionally, the conference includes a festive dinner and the possibility to visit businesses.

Joining as a Member and Fees

A company interested in the forum topics may join the HRO Design Forum by getting in touch with the forum's contact person.

The membership fees for the HRO Design Forum are harmonised with the membership fees for the forums of the Finnish Welding and Joining Institute. The membership fees are determined based on the company's size. If the company is already a member of the forums of the Finnish Welding and Joining Institute, the membership fee is lowered. The currently valid membership fees are as follows:


HRO Design Forum

annual fee

Member in other SHY forums

annual fee

Micro company (staff <10 person and turnover less than 2M€ €300 €300

Small company (staff <50) and turnover less than 10M€



SME (turnover less than €50 million or staff of less than 250 people)



Other companies



Educational institute €625 €625


Further Information

HRO Design Forum
Antti Ahola, e-mail:
Matti Koskimäki, e-mail:

Laboratory of Steel Structures
Professor and Head of Laboratory Timo Björk,