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Metal Casting Technologies : December 2006
BRIEFINGS process in which a catalysed resin is transferred into an enclosed mould, lined with reinforced fibrous material. It then may or may not be heated to complete the moulding process. The main benefit of RTM is that it combines relatively low cost tooling and equipment costs with the ability to consolidate large structural parts. Receiving the Award, Dr Chih Chang of Huntsman Advanced Materials said "We're delighted to receive this Award which recognises such a significant advancement in RTM technology. Interim Government in Thailand Fires Productivity Warning Dr. John Pearce Following the military coup on 19th September, the new Interim Government in Thailand has stated that it intends to apply the concept of the sufficiency economy not only in the agricultural sector but in the Thai industrial sector as well, especially in Small and Medium- sized Enterprises (SMEs). In meetings held with the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI), the new government said that Thailand must focus on developing value-added productivity in all aspects of business by means of scientific knowledge and technology. In the 11 months or so remaining before the promised election, the government said that it would set clear goals for the continuing development of SMEs and that it would work together with business operators to continually improve manufacturing industries in Thailand. This year Thailand was ranked only 35th in the world competitive economies table, having fallen 2 places from its 2005 position. The Global Competitiveness Report 2006-2007, published by the World Economic Forum, pointed out the increasing importance of higher education and training as the engines for growth in productivity. Within Asia, Singapore (5th) and Japan (7th) lead the field with Thailand still lagging behind its near neighbour Malaysia (26th). Mr. Kosit Panpiemras, who is the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Industry, stressed that Thailand needed to improve productivity by making better use of technical skills, by innovation and by development of intellectual property instead of just seeking progress via cheap labour and capital investment. The interim government has asked the National Economic and Social Development Board of Thailand to prepare a new national plan as a roadmap to increase productivity through intellectual and skill improvements. The Minister said "Intellectual property is what we need to focus on if we want to raise ourselves to become a developed country. The alternative is to face increasing problems in the long run. If we cannot increase our productivity, our country cannot grow". In Thailand special attention is now being given to the Automobile, Machinery, Steel, and Castings industries. Discussions are underway between leaders in these industrial sectors and relevant technical bodies such as the Iron and Steel Institute (ISIT), the National Metals and Materials Technology Centre (MTEC), the Thai-German Institute (TGI) and Thai Foundrymen's Society (TFS), etc. to draw up the platform technology required to ensure sustainable development (in every sense) for each of these sectors. One thought is to select and persuade one or more SME foundries to act as a "pilot" to develop and hence demonstrate good practice in all aspects of castings production. With regard to industry in general, the Board of Investment (BoI) and the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT) have been working together since the coup to clear any concerns that local and foreign investors may have about the investment policies of the interim government. The BoI have claimed that foreign investors with a long experience of investing in Thailand, notably those in the automotive sector remain untroubled by the military takeover. However the BoI were worried that potential investors from abroad who had never invested in Thailand before might put off their decisions, on a wait and see basis, until after next year's elections. The BoI, together with the ministries of Commerce and Finance, are planning a series of overseas road shows to encourage industrialists not to delay or stop their investments in Thailand. The continuing success of the carmakers is being used as a flagship example with the prediction that the 1 million vehicle build target for 2006 will be exceeded. Currently exports are well up on last year; between January and August this year 353,886 vehicles were exported showing a near 30% rise over the same period in 2005. However the recent appreciation of the Baht against the Dollar is of growing concern to the Thai auto industry. The Thai Auto Parts Manufacturers Association said that Thai made vehicles and parts, when quoted in US dollars, are now more expensive than those from China and Taiwan. Flowers, Floats and Forming of Materials November was a highlight month in Thailand. As well as the opening of the Royal Flora Ratchapruek 2006 garden show in Chiang Mai and the Loy Krathong festival a number of important metallurgical events also took place. These kicked off on 1st November with a half-day seminar entitled "The development of cost effective and environmental-conscious new Aluminium melting technologies and melt purification for diecasting" which was held in Bangkok. It was jointly organized by the Bureau for Support Industries (BSID) and the New Energy Development Organisation of Japan (NEDO). From 9-10th November the Asian Symposium on Materials and Processing -- ASMP 2006 was also held in Bangkok, at the Sofitel Central Plaza. This event covered the science and processing of metallic and non-metallic engineering materials including casting, forming, joining, machining and mechanical behaviour. The event was sponsored by the Division of Materials and Processing METAL Casting Technologies December 2006 14