by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
button in toolbar for more information.
Metal Casting Technologies : December 2006
BRIEFINGS sedans, is the fastest growing segment in China. Between 2000 and 2005, the compound annual growth rate of Chinese passenger vehicle market sales was 37%. Passenger vehicles comprise an increasing share of total market; they are now the major growth driver. China's automotive market is approaching a stage of intensified competition. Multinational automakers, optimistic about China, face a market that's difficult to navigate - due to increasing competition from international and domestic companies, unpredictable market demand, and lack of consumer brand loyalty. Rapid market growth has provided development and growth opportunities for domestic brands, resulting in a more fragmented market (as compared to that of 2000). Japanese and Korean brands have gained share. Domestic brands established key positions with combined market shares reaching 25% in 2005. Automotive Parts 15% pa growth The growth in automotive parts and components is also strong. 2005 revenues reached RMB216.8 billion, with a compound annual growth rate of 15% between 2000 and 2005. By 2005 the sales had reached nearly 40% of the industry's total. The historical integrated automotive manufacturing organisational structure has changed - and the proportion of outsourced subcomponents is gradually increasing. Customers demand a broader portfolio of products and expecting more value to be added. Global automotive parts and components companies shifted their attention to China, with many of them entering or expanding their China investments. Production capacity is growing as fast as its technological sophistication. Until the recent past, most Chinese companies relied on their foreign JV partners for technology. However, that situation's changed. Chinese companies are becoming more and more self-sufficient by purchasing technology from foreign companies without engaging in joint-venture arrangements. Contract for a Second CleanCast (USA) Superior Industries, one of the world's largest manufacturers of cast aluminum wheels, has contracted with CEC to integrate and automate T-6 heat treatment with the upstream casting and downstream machining process. This new plant features CEC's CleanCast® foundry technology. Phase I of this endeavor began in April 2005 when Superior contracted with CEC to provide and to automate three furnaces and one aged oven adjacent to the casting decks. The challenge, as it is with all manufacturers of automotive components, was to reduce overall costs (combination of capital and operating costs). CEC and Superior approached this challenge by designing a fully integrated system that eliminates most of the labor and energy costs and utilizes automation for the loading of cast wheels directly from the casting machines into the solution furnaces, eliminating expensive racking METAL Casting Technologies December 2006 10 Increasing Focus on Environmental Management While the sales of metal castings will continue to grow at a very healthy rate, driven mainly by the high demand in China and India it is now increasingly important to manage a foundry with a high emphasis on sustainability for the environment. One of the greatest opportunities for environmental improvements are in increasing energy efficiency, managing and minimizing toxins and waste, reducing air emissions and conserving water. Increasing Energy Efficiency The industry is energy intensive so by reducing energy consumption becomes an economic imperative. Most energy use comes from the melting of metals but mould and core making also demands significant energy use. To improve this procedure, update old gas- fired equipment and substitute water for lubricant to cool heated surfaces. This will also flow on to boosting productivity levels through energy and environmental performance. Minimizing Toxins Hazardous air pollutants cause serious health and environmental affects. Common air toxins from metal casting include organic air pollutants and metals. Organic air pollutants are primarily generated while making core portions of the moulds, shaking the mould away from the casting and pouring the molten metal. Metals are mainly created during the melting, pouring and finishing process. Waste Management Metal casters generate hazardous waste and there should be great efforts to reuse industrial by-products such as scrap metal and foundry sand. Reusing sand is a primary element to save money and improve the environment. Similarly, there will be increasing technologies to recover and recirculate wastewater which is now used to lubricate and cool dies during the die casting process. Instead of only using the water once it is possible to install a closed-loop water recycling system which reticulates water used to cool process equipment e.g. molten iron handling equipment. This kind of system uses cooling towers, heat exchangers, pumps, tanks and piping to cool and recirculate the water. This can substantially reduce the amount of water used while reducing the load on water within the community.