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Metal Casting Technologies : September 2010
industry are emerging all the time -- software applications and smarter engineering tools with embedded intelligence. More Greenfield sites are also emerging in which the latest state of art working conditions can be established - a clean, green environment where the working conditions are first class. The essence of change will come from making a foundry into an exciting place to work. Making this change requires enormous creativity to reposition the casting industry into a global, essential driver for growth. Most young people aspire to own and or drive cars. Why not get a movie studio to do a story on the importance of all the cast elements inside a car with a great background narrative which includes the usual elements of good movies -- the obligatory car chase, romance mixed with crime etc. Ensure the lead character/s are "celebrity types". Then release the movie onto the world wide cinema circuit with appropriate promotion about the movie --not the casting elements. This would be a subconscious delivery of aspiration built into the script. How is today's youth going to find out about castings fast enough to keep the industry sustainable? The casting of metal has a great, romantic history and underpins a major part of the world's industry. It has strong elements of creativity which can be illustrated with the image of a cast bronze sculpture side-by-side with a beautiful cast motor engine. Foundries need to be seen as exciting places to work and carry commensurate status. As well as the skill shortage there is the continued growth of "green" consciousness which is represented by the main driver of energy efficiency. This applies to all industry development and includes emission and pollution problems. Government regulation will continue to increase. These factors combined will force change on the overall operations of the metal casting industry and you can read more on this from our authors in the following overview. Metal casting manufacture is energy intensive. Research and development efforts to reduce energy consumption are vitally important, since energy consumption not only correlates directly to the manufacture of castings but also economics and environmental impacts. It will be an ongoing essence of operations to identify process areas where opportunities for energy use reduction exist and the expertise for applying resources to capture these opportunities. We can all be certain that energy consumption and environmental impact measures will become key decision tools for consumers and corporations when choosing a product. Manufactured products will compete not only on price and performance, but also on their impact on society. Progressive metal casters already know that as well as their increased production practices and processes that energy and environmental savings can be also be achieved with the introduction of new alloys and improved (light weight) product design. And, again with increasing focus will be the energy costs in transportation energy associated with acquiring raw materials and distribution of intermediate products. Transportation energy can account for a significant portion of the total energy associated with manufacturing a final product. For example, in the use of aluminium, the energy required to transport mined bauxite to refining operations, alumina to smelting operations, ingots to metal processors, and scrap from collection to melting will become part of the energy audit. I feel confident that each of the excellent Authors of the following reports will serve to greatly inform you of each country's present focus on metal castings and their future. When combining their overall narrative, there are many sweet spots for optimism and you will have no doubt that the global markets, and therefore casting manufacture, are going to remain in "churn" for a long time to come. The two themes I have mentioned are skill shortages and energy efficient environmental practise. These issues will be central for planning growth. Alongside this awareness will remain the normal pursuit for new technologies, processes and smarter management systems. All of these elements will continue to refine and enhance this absolutely integral industry to the world's best practise for manufacturing -- the metal casting industry. Please enjoy the following reports Barbara Cail Publisher METAL Casting Technologies September 2010 17