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Metal Casting Technologies : March 2009
TECHNOLOGY FEATURE Automobiles NewWorldOF THE Road map for sustaining the metal casting industry Dr Sam Ramrattan has written the following paper for the Metal Casting Technologies magazine and he sets out valuable indicators for the future sustainability of metal casting. D esperate times sometimes require desperate measures, so I find myself stepping out of my comfort zone as a metal casting professor to address certain “facts yet challenges” in the metal casting industry. Metal castings have been in existence for six thousand years and some may perceive our industry as low tech. On the contrary, metal casting offers unique processing that allows production of parts with complex internal cavities from nearly any alloy, in any size, and in any shape. Thus there is opportunity for unlimited design potential to produce highly engineered castings that must not be sold as commodities. Three major interrelated challenges to the metal casting industry are globalization, governmental regulation, and new markets. Striving for superior technology is part of the solution. The challenge of globalization requires metal casting to be viewed as part of manufacturing. The manufacturing jobs are going to the so called “free trading partners” with low wages and no health insurance, no pension plans, no labor unions, and/or no safety, health and environmental protections. As a result, trade inequities arise partially because the perception of the free market as “anything goes” can lead to casting sweat shops, pollution, and the dumping of defective castings. The entire industry suffers from these practices. The global casting market with respect to competition must be studied to determine how to get castings in the right quantity, at the right time, and at a fair price. Metal casting industries must be willing to cooperate in order to compete in the global marketplace where it is logical to be corporate citizens. The challenge of governmental regulation relates to compliance to environment, health, and safety laws. In doing this the metal casting industry TO PROVIDE A BETTER FUTURE REQUIRES THE METAL CASTING INDUSTRY TO PENETRATE MARKETS REQUIRING TIGHTER CASTING TOLERANCES. 30 www.metals.rala.com.au