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Metal Casting Technologies : March 2009
BRIEFINGS Improving Thai aluminium diecasting The Thai Foundrymen’s Society (TFS) has set up a special technical group with the aim of improving technical capabilities in light alloys and diecasting. The group is called the Aluminium Technology Forum and consists of both academic and industrial members from both Thailand and Japan. Figures for 2007 show that there are 96 companies in Thailand involved in Aluminium Alloy diecasting supplying the automotive, electronic and other industries. Thirty of these companies are joint ventures with Japanese groups. There are also around 10 well established producers of Aluminium secondary ingot in Thailand. There is a need to improve energy efficiency, environmental aspects and quality levels in both ingot and castings production. As a benchmarking exercise a group of TFS members attended the November 2008 Japan Diecasting Congress and Exposition in Yokohama and visited a number of Japanese diecasting plants including Aisin Seiki, Ryobi Shizuoka and Ahresty. There will be a special Thai Mould and Die Pavilion sponsored by the Thai- German Institute at the forthcoming Subcon Thailand and Intermach Exhibition to be held from 13-16 May at the Bangkok International Trade and Exhibition Centre (BITEC), [www. subconthailand.com].An academic to business (A2B) will also be a feature of this event to inform industry of recent research findings and developments. As a country Thailand currently invests only 0.2% of GDP in research & development and clearly needs to spend more if Thai industry and business is to remain competitive. China state owned car sales drop Chery Automobile Co, Shanghai, China’s largest self-brand automaker, had a tough time in 2008. Sales 8 www.metals.rala.com.au dropped 6 percent in 2008 and cash flow nearly dried up. The state-owned banks have bailed out the company and plan a comeback with 15 new and redesigned models in 2009. Chery faces a big challenge simply keeping its market share. More Chevrolet Spark small cars are being seen which are built by General Motors’ joint venture, SAIC-GM-Wuling Automobile Co., in south China’s Guangxi region. According to some firmly held opinions, “Chery is a low-price and low-quality carmaker. How can you compare it with GM, an international company?” However, Chery is highly aware of the quality factor and has started spending to improve it. Quality is important. Chinese consumers are becoming increasingly brand savvy. Global players such as GM are quickly moving downscale for more market share with competitively priced models. to innovate. It has increased India’s stature in the global automotive stage,” said IBM Automotive Industry Vice-President Global Leader Sanjay Rishi. He also spoke about India’s expected role in the rebalancing of core product development vis-a-vis application development. Rishi said that the industry may see a positive trend of more alliances, technical partnership and joint ventures between Indian Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and global auto manufacturers. Wholly- owned subsidiaries would also operate in the India market, he added. The study was the culmination of interviews of 125 executives of original equipment manufacturers, component suppliers and their parties in 15 countries. GM’s Australian arm – GM Holden India’s growth promising for the auto Industry The Indian automobile industry is all set to be the global leader by 2020, with the trailblazing innovative work - the Nano - done by the Tatas, according to IBM. It concluded in its study, “Automotive 2020 Clarity Beyond Chaos”, that the country could lead in the global market. The study further stated that India had a strong case for becoming a key hub for product development, innovation and manufacture of the technically- advanced, green vehicle. “The Tata Nano showed India’s ability Ailing US car giant General Motors has declared that its Australian arm, GM Holden, remains viable while leaving a cloud over hundreds of local jobs under a global restructuring plan. The company employs 6,500. The company plans to start building a four-cylinder car from 2010 aided by state and government funding. The automotive components market in Australia is feeling the downturn as Drivetrain Systems International Pty Ltd, a long standing manufacturer of automatic and manual automotive transmissions is now in receivership. It manufactures for Ford, Mahindra and Mahindra, Dsang Yong and Taganrog. In another move in the market is the government in the state of Victoria is working hard to establish its automotive components capability with China. The government recently reported that it is building relations with China which could see $48m worth of contracts for the state’s