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Metal Casting Technologies : June 2006
BRIEFINGS Park at Waverley, South Yorkshire. The new 51,000ft2 (4,800 m2) facility will house advanced design, materials and manufacturing technologies relevant to the development of high performance metal castings. Key within the new facility is Cti's ability to reduce the cost, time and risk associated with the manufacture of fully certified, production-representative prototype castings. This has been made possible through considerable investment into new fast prototyping technologies for sand and ceramic-mould castings, as well as vacuum melting for nickel and cobalt-based super-alloys, special steels and titanium, and air-melting for high performance iron castings and high strength magnesium and aluminium alloys. The future of aluminimum Experts of aluminium technologies and aluminium industry managers from all over the world will gather in Tuscany in Spring time 2007 at the 6th International Congress "Aluminium Two Thousand". Organized by Interall and promoted by Aim (Associazione Italiana Metallurgia), CentroAl (Centro Italiano Alluminio), Edimet (Multimedia network in the world of metals), Face (Federation of Aluminium Consumers in Europe), Italtecno (Advanced Technologies for Aluminium) e Metef (International Aluminium Exhibition), the sixth international appointment will be held in Florence in March 13th to 17th, 2007, and will be an opportunity to meet most of the specialists and most of the leading companies. The main practical subjects of the presentations, which will offer a wide overview on the future of aluminium, will be the new technologies for improving automation, productivity, quality, efficiency, ecology. Papers can be submitted with a 200 word abstract to the 'Aluminium 2000' Technical Secretariat at Interall (+39-059-280462, email@example.com), before 30 June 2006. Please see Forthcoming Events for more contact information. Global value chains increasing importance -- China centre stage Firms are increasingly making use of global value chains in order to keep pace with international competition. Foreign controlled firms, for example, are behind much of China's exports, accounting for 57.8% of total exports in 2004, up from 18.3% in 1991. The large amounts of production moving to emerging economies such as China, India and Southeast Asia, have also been driving growth in these countries. In China, for instance, foreign affiliates employ more than ten million people and account for more than one quarter of total industrial production. The term "global value chain" refers to the worldwide dispersion of production. Falling transportation costs, lower barriers to trade and investment, and improvements in information and communications technology have made it easier for firms to locate different parts of their businesses across the world. Different functions can be shifted to where it is most efficient for each: design in North America or Europe, manufacturing in China, but after-sales service in India, for example. And global value chains are increasing in importance: global GDP grew 246% from 1982 to 2004, but exports grew 413%, and the gross product of foreign affiliates increased from 5.5% to 9.8% of global GDP. As these trends continue and accelerate, the importance of global value chains will rise. China, India, and Brazil have found that it's costly to import goods, and those costs extend beyond the financial. To import a standardized shipment of goods into the US or Canada requires one signature and takes twelve days. For the emerging markets, however, more signatures are required, ranging fromalowof8inChinatoahigh of 27 in India. And the time cost of importing is also substantial. It takes that standardized shipment 24 days to be imported into China, and 43 into Brazil and India-2 and 3.6 times the length required to import for the US or Canada. It can be easy to forget the non-financial costs of trading; for the emerging markets, this would be an expensive oversight. In both Canada and the U.S., the proportion of imports originating from China has increased over the past decade (1995-2004), rising from 6.1% to 13.4% in the U.S., and from 2.1% to 6.8% in Canada. With respect to the U.S., this increase in China's share came at the expense of the rest of Asia: the share of imports from countries other than China decreased by 12.5%. In Canada's case, however, the rest of Asia suffered less, with their share of imports decreasing by a much smaller 1.8 percentage points. These trends seem to reinforce the global belief that China is becoming the manufacturing centre of Asia. Focus on mould and die Industry in Thailand According to a report from Dr John Pearce, last year Thai industry spent 26 billion Baht (over 0.5 billion USD) on imported moulds and dies and this amount is expected to rise to 35 billion Baht over the next three years. In an attempt to reduce these costs and to move towards sufficiency in the mould and die sector the Thai Industry Ministry has a plan to increase the number of skilled toolmakers by 7000 by the year 2009. At present it is believed that only 30,000 people are employed in the Thai mould and die industry. The Ministry has already established the Mould and Die Industry Development Project in 2004 to develop the technology and personnel for this sector. Over 1500 workers have already passed through the training program, with the Thai-German Institute managing the training and providing support and encouragement for cluster development. The project is now being stepped up to promote greater exchange of technology and know how. 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