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Metal Casting Technologies : September 2008
and significant increases in the costs of energy and raw materials. Oil price increases are believed to be the main reason why Thai inflation hit a 10 year high of 9.2% during the month of July. During the first half of 2008 the automobile industry was up by 20% compared to the corresponding period last year. Although domestic pick-up sales have plunged 13% the industry is on course to produce around 1.43 vehicles this year to give an overall annual rise of 11% over 2007. Some Thais are switching back to motor-cycles with sales up 7%. It is likely that in 2008 the electrical & electronic sector will out perform automotive since during the first 6 months hard disc production leaped up by 33%. This is all good news for Thai metal casters since about 70% of casting volume is for the automotive and motorcycle industry with another 20%, mostly Al die-castings, going into electronics. On the other hand some non-automotive iron foundries producing castings for general engineering and infrastructure are finding life difficult as a number of Thai government mega-projects have been delayed. Foundries producing spare parts for the mining, minerals and cement industries still appear to have steady flow of orders. These foundries may be doing even better if the recently approved iron ore exploration licences discover useable deposits in Thailand. Navakun Mining, a Thai subsidiary of Oxiana in Australia has been given the go ahead to explore in the provinces of Chachoengsao, Chanthaburi and Rayong. The interest in iron ore follows the Thai government intention of developing blast furnace based steel plants in Thailand. The current master plan for the Thai automotive industry has a target of building 1.8 million vehicles by 2011. That appears realistic since current capacity is now estimated at 1.6 million; this puts Thailand in 14th place in the world auto-producers table. It is predicted that Thailand will need to develop another 200,000 skilled workers for auto industry by 2016 when annual production figures including the new eco-cars are expected to hit 2.5 million units. The Thai Board of Investment (BoI) has announced that six car manufacturers have already With unmatched accuracy,FLOW-3D® CFD software generates realistic simulations for a broad range of casting applications. Don’t scrap it – map it, with FLOW-3D® software! Improving the world through accurate flow modeling…one part at a time. 505-982-0088 | email@example.com | www.flow3d.com METAL Casting Technologies September 2008 53