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Metal Casting Technologies : December 2008
BRIEFINGS Congratulations Jo McKeown – New AFI National President Jo McKeown Jo McKeown has always had a strong and disciplined focus and together with her professionalism and outstanding track record, she is an ideal leader to head up the Australian Foundry Institute in the turbulence of the first part of the 21st century. In the increasing world financial crises the tough times will require tough thinking - innovation and strategic applications to sustain the benefits of metal manufacturing while at the same time there is a continuing reduction in market demand, particularly in auto manufacturing. Together with the climate change factor being ubiquitous the leadership role represents a massive challenge. Jo’s impressive background has provided an abundance of experience and capabilities which provides her with resilience and the potential to make a real difference. The pathway she has travelled to become the leader of the AFI commenced when she graduated from the University of Queensland with BSc (Hons) Metallurgy in 1992. However, while she was finishing her degree, her enthusiasm already kicking in, she worked as a vacation student and a part-timer in 1991 with Investment Castings Queensland. After graduating 8 www.metals.rala.com.au she continued to work with this Company until 1997 by which time her role as Metallurgist and Quality Manager was well established. In moving on in 1997 she joined Austcast (also in Brisbane) as their Metallurgist and Quality Manager and in the same year joined the AFI Queensland Committee and became President in 1998. By this time her profile was being very successfully reinforced as an outstanding member of the foundry industry in Australia. Her reputation had grown to the extent that she moved to Victoria in 2000 to take a position with Ford Motor Company as a Business Unit Leader in their Iron Casting Plant. It is therefore easy to understand that the following year, in 2001, she was the recipient of the National Award for Women in Non-Traditional Roles through the Centre for Gender and Cultural Diversity. Working in various parts of the operations including Casting, Engine Plant and Body Build, Jo continued with Ford until 2006. In that year she moved again and joined Flowserve Davies & Baird in Melbourne, commencing as Customer Service Manager and then becoming Operations Manager in August 2007. It was in 2006 when Jo joined the AFI Victoria Committee and then became Vice President in 2007. Subsequently she became President in 2008. It is a natural progression for her to now head the National AFI. Being Green essential for Chinese car makers The current financial crunch should not slow car makers’ investment in fuel efficient and eco-friendly vehicles, which are key for the sustained development of the auto industry, analysts said at an auto forum in Shanghai last month. At the CEIBS 6th Annual China Automotive Industry Forum 2008, industrial officials said although the global financial crisis left car makers struggling with a sales slump and profit decline, spending on new technologies is still needed to deal with the rising fuel costs and pollution that may hurt the industry over the long run. “China’s auto industry is still on a fast track with people’s growing income and continuous investment (by auto makers),” said Chen Qingtai, research fellow at the Development Research Center in the State Council. “If we fail to reduce energy consumption and enhance environment protection, conflicts between the auto industry and natural resources would be costly and unsustainable,” he added. Environment protection and energy saving are a high priority on the government’s 11th Five-year Plan as a rapidly expanding vehicle population is facing an energy crisis and environmental challenges that harm the auto industry’s long-term development. Besides China, car makers in Europe are also seeking 40 billion euros (US$51 billion) from governments over the next four to five years to invest in fuel-efficient vehicles, said Ivan Hodac, secretary general of European Automobile Manufacturers Association. Xu Jian, vice president of Volkswagen Group China, said the high fuel prices and the financial crisis made people realize the importance of new energy vehicles and car makers should invest more on cleaner energy vehicles to boost the industry’s growth. Xu said Volkswagen will consider introducing smaller engines in China to meet market demand, and hybrid and electric cars would also be its top priority. Low cost solution for pollution - India The National Productivity Council (NPC) in Coimbatore, India has come out with a low cost solution to control air pollution in cupola foundries. A demonstration of the technology and presentation of its details was arranged