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Metal Casting Technologies : September 2010
METAL Casting Technologies September 2010 11 LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Congratulations on the June issue of Metal Casting Technologies Asia Pacific giving a very interesting insight into the light metals side of our industry. From previous other articles you have featured it is clear how the automotive manufactures are increasingly using aluminium and magnesium alloys in vehicle components for environmental and cost savings. Mick Nolan's excellent report on Ford Australia's decision to continue manufacture in Australia was very pleasant reading. Barbara's editorial on 'green' cars, serious development on electric vehicles and the emerging Chinese car production industry indicates big changes could be on the horizon with less dependency on oil. I look forward to future reports on these issues. Nev Murray I read with great interest your editorial about the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster and the ensuing push to decrease the oil dependence by promoting electric cars (METAL CASTING TECHNOLOGIES VOL 56, NO.2, JUNE 2010). You do not mention where the clean electricity for those cars will come from, but judging from your proposal to feed foundries with wind power and aeroplanes with solar energy, I guess renewables are at the core of your personal blueprint for a green oil-free future. I am puzzled however by your confidence on such unreliable energy sources when it comes to "clean" metal production. As you probably know, an Al smelter freezes solid after just a few hours without electricity, and the same applies to any foundry. Thus, I can hardly imagine any metal caster, let alone any aluminium primary producer, investing in any form of "clean" metal melting facilities unless a stable source of power is available, and that, save for the few lucky ones with access to geo thermal or hydro electricity, can only be guaranteed by nuclear power. Neither wind nor solar meet the standards to provide baseload power, and they look very unlikely to do so in the near future. You mention China's significant efforts regarding wind power. I am sure you also know that those efforts are more than matched by the push towards nuclear power. The same can be said about Europe, the US, Japan, India, etc. In Australia we are in sore need of a healthy debate about clean energy sources. If you want to initiate such a debate, and that would be a good thing, I dare to suggest that you propose nuclear power as a source of clean baseload power for the metal industry. Intermittent renewables can always ride on top. Dr Carlos H. Caceres -- Reader in Casting Technology Materials Engineering School of Engineering The University of Queensland Brisbane QLD 4072 Australia together with their negative housing market the US market is looking increasingly fragile even though daily newscasts talk about continuing growth. What can we believe? More and more conflicting reports create uncertainty for metal casting foundries that need to be able to do long term strategic plans; particularly when investing in capital equipment. And while we automatically accept that China is the manufacturing engine room of the 21st century, already having surpassed the output of US car manufactures, these two giant economies hold the power to constantly impact the bottom line of metal casting foundries in many countries. In recognising the power of the two giants, metal casters will also have to take into account India's growth market. Its auto component industry is one of their sunrise industries with tremendous growth prospects. From a low-key supplier providing components to the domestic market alone, the industry has emerged as one of the key auto components centres in Asia. They are already supplying a range of high- value and critical automobile components to global auto makers such as General Motors, Toyota, Ford and Volkswagen. Their turnover of the auto component industry is being estimated at around US$ 19.2 billion in 2009-10 with 31 per cent of the auto components dominated by engine parts. Wages are increasing in China and already there is outsourcing to African nations for cheaper labor. Indonesia is awakening its competitive manufacturing powers at a very good pace. Pop into this mix, Korea which is quietly doing elaborate manufactures, Japan's role in auto componetry and it leaves the metal casters with a highly complex world market to navigate. To help with a little bit of sorting out the status of Asia Pacific metal castings, this edition provides our annual overview of each Asian market. There is a standout paper on China written by Gopal Padki which will deepen understanding of the market; Dr. John Pearce, of course, is always a fountain of wisdom and knowledge in what is happening in Thailand and there is a report about Australia which is moving into more intelligent manufactures. We try very hard to bring you information and knowledge. However, we all know that in a world of 24/7 news content -- information changes at great speed: It's like trying to grab a handful of a cloud. Next year we will add a monthly newsletter for you to be updated more frequently. Meantime, I hope that the content of this edition will help guide you in some of your thinking and decision making. As always, it brings you not only editorial information but the very important information of what products and services can be supplied to you to enhance your productivity and profits. I invite you to email me with your thoughts. Barbara Cail Managing Editor