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Metal Casting Technologies : September 2007
2007 OVERVIEW AsianFoundry www.metals.rala.com.au 38 Thai Foundrymen's Society rounds off an active year with the election of a new president During the past year the Thai Foundrymen's Association (TFS) have had a full programme of seminars covering a wide range of topics from Copper Alloy Casting Technology to Inoculation of Cast Irons. They also ran the 6th Diecasting University event in co-operation with Chulalongkorn University and Keikinzoku Tsushin Aluminium Co. Ltd. Under the banner of "Collaboration for Better Casting" the TFS also held their 3rd Thai Foundry Conference (TFC-3) during the Metalex November 2006 exhibition at the Bangkok International Trade and Exhibition Centre (BITEC). The TFS now have a new leader. This July Mr. Seksan Tangkoblab was elected as the new president of the Thai Foundrymen's Society taking over from the previous president Dr. Paisan Somprakit who had completed a double term of 4 years. With the organization of TFC-3 and a TFS visit to GIFA plus the publication of a new 176 page guide to Thai Foundries entitled "Directory of Thai Foundry Industries 2007" Dr Paisan has had a busy final year. The new man, Mr. Seksan, is the founder and managing director of T.S.J. Industrial Company Limited which he himself set up in 1992 to produce automobile spare parts. The company, situated in Nakhon Pathom province about 40 km west of Bangkok, now concentrates on the production of low-pressure die cast aluminium alloy wheels for both the domestic and international after-markets. The company is 100% Thai owned and now has a workforce of around 100 with an annual production capacity of 70,000 wheels per year. Some of the challenges for the new president are to encourage Thai foundries to save energy, to become much more aware of environmental issues, and especially to make more use of the facilities in university and government research centres in improving their technology. Support for SMEs TFS members in SME foundries have recently been encouraged by the setting up of a "Machine Fund" by the Federation of Thai Industries and the Thai SME Development Agency. The intention of this fund is to offer low cost finance to all types of SME in supporting industries who wish to invest in upgrading their manufacturing and testing capabilities. During the past year the National Science & Development Agency through its Technology Management Centre (TMC) has extended the range of support services to SME manufacturers via the Industrial Technology Assistance Program (ITAP) to help solve problems in raw materials, processes and production management. NSTDA also offers support for private sector investment in R&D and in intellectual property management and technology law. The government intends to double its current spending on R&D from 0.26% to 0.5% of gross domestic product - from 12 to 23 billion Baht. Hence the aim of the TMC is to ensure that full commercial value is gained from past, current and future state supported research projects across biotechnology, electronics and computing, nanotechnology and metals & materials technology. As part of NSTDA, the National Metals and Materials Centre - MTEC continues to offer increased technical support to the TFS and to work with Thai Foundries to help solve technical, quality and environmental problems and to encourage improvements via: ■ Capability development ■ Support of R&D projects ■ Technical transfer through seminars, short courses and training ■ Technical information services such as standards ■ Technical service unit for microscopy, SEM/TEM, XRD, testing, etc. For example, during the past year the Foundry Engineering Research Development Unit (FERDU) at MTEC has concentrated on helping Aluminium foundries and diecasters to improve the quality of liquid metal. Analytical services at MTEC have also recently commissioned a new Shimadzu EPMA-1600 electron probe microanalyzer to broaden the range of fine scale characterisation work for R&D and problem solving. Lady at the Top As a result of reorganization of the largest foundry group in Thailand. Khun Narissa Sillapapibool has been promoted to the position of Vice President and Production Function Center Head of Aisin Takaoka Thailand. Not many ladies make it to the top in the castings industry so Khun Narissa was quite rightly called "Superwoman" by the TFS Metal Casting Journal. She has 25 years experience in all aspects of ferrous foundry operations having started her career in 1982 working as a young engineer with the then largest foundry in Thailand - The Siam Nawaloha Foundry, a Mr. Seksan Tangkoblab - the new TFS President Narissa Sillapapibool proves that aladycangettothetopinthe metal castings industry - and still smile.