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Metal Casting Technologies : September 2005
ASIAN OVERVIEW Market Demand Generally, the domestic market demand for metal castings has apparently declined by 20 percent. The domestic demand for automotive castings, however, seems to be increasing; but the local foundry industry cannot tap it due its incapability to meet specifications. Likewise, the perceived foreign demand seems to be increasing because of the requirements of the automotive and its allied industries. Therefore, there is actually an increasing demand for metal castings worldwide --- the high-value metal castings --- an opportunity worth looking into seriously. Present Costs of Inputs A cursory survey of inputs in the foundry industry, as of this month, came up with the following. Next month would probably have different figures as the economic situation, at present, is very, very volatile. Scrap metal, cast iron Down by 15% Scrap metal, steel Down by 25% Scrap metal, aluminium Down by 7% Scrap metal, brass Up by 30% Scrap metal, bronze Up by 25% Foundry coke Down by 35% Electric power Up by 15% Other materials/supplies No change Labour Up by 10% The net effect of the price movements is to increase overall production costs for induction-cast irons by 10%; but maintained the costs for cupola-cast irons and cast steels. This is because of the increase in electric power rates and the decrease in foundry coke costs attended by decreases in the ferrous metal scraps. All these are in the face of present rejection rates of from 10-15% of poured cast iron castings, and 7-9% of poured steel castings. This has not yet taken into consideration the forthcoming imposition of EVAT (extended value-added tax) of 12% (2% over the present 10% VAT) that is expected to slightly increase a lot of other costs. The costs of diesel oil and gasoline are also increasing practically on a fortnightly basis. Furthermore, in the face of all these, the cost of living is going up, so labor is agitating for further increases in wages to meet basic necessities. Perceived Other Problems A. There is a lack of technical men who are knowledgeable in Metalcasting Science --- technical men in the engineering or technology categories. This can be gleaned from the number of students enrolled in technical schools. There are less students --- an approximate drop of 50% --- pursuing courses relevant to the metal manufacturing industry, PHILIPPINES By Prof. John Hermes D. Bautista 34 www.metals.rala.com.au