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Metal Casting Technologies : September 2007
24 www.metals.rala.com.au Major focus: Environment and skill shortages With our annual survey on the Asia Pacific Region we bring you news of significant advances in the metal castings industry. However, underpinning the industry are two elements which are becoming major drivers for the future: The environment and skill shortages. Clearly China with its huge manufacturing engine room is still the stand-out of the region. Globalisation is steaming ahead and partnerships are being formed at a rapid rate; particularly in the automotive sector, the primary user of metal castings. Since last year's Overview, the climate change factor has pervaded the industrial world with varying responses and again China is a focus of attention. Environmental factors are increasingly becoming a major issue for foundries. And the metal casting industry of the future will have to attract process improvements and technological innovations to ensure energy efficient practices and waste minimisation. Already innovative foundries are moving quickly by increasingly applying the latest in computer-based design and simulation, energy efficient practices and waste minimisation technologies and processes. These are the companies who can clearly see the future trends in that they will be penalised in the highly competitive global market if they do not measure up to quality and environmental control standards. Research continues to be a major driver to explore manufacturing, materials, environmental and product applications. Light metal applications lead because they importantly relate to increasing transportation fuel efficiency; computer based design tools are replacing plant try-outs with simulations enabling faster analysis and energy savings, and continuous focus on foundry emissions and applications for foundry waste are also high on the research agenda. And as we also flagged in last year's overview, the enormous problem of skill shortage still prevails. While we marvel at China's march to massive industrialisation, its growth is also threatened by not having a skilled and a well trained workforce. With the expected growth in auto manufacturing in this region it is imperative to seriously address the issue. Industry, governments and academe have to collaborate to attract and train people in the latest casting technologies. I invite you to read our digital edition on the net www.metals.rala.com.au and access all of the major supplier's websites which are the companies working to increase productivity and profits for the foundries of the future. Enjoy reading this overview! Barbara Cail Publisher 2007 OVERVIEW AsianFoundry