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Metal Casting Technologies : December 2007
BRIEFINGS News from Chery of China GKN Driveline Torque Technology has been awarded a contract to supply power transfer units (PTUs) to Chery Automobiles, China's largest independent car manufacturer. The contract is for an SUV due for launch in 2009. The new PTU is planned to be assembled at GKN Driveline Torque Technology's new Kangkiao manufacturing facility. Components will be primarily sourced in China. The Italian industrial conglomerate Fiat and Chery have signed a preliminary agreement to create a joint auto manufacturing company. The new company, located in Wuhu in China's Anhui province, would produce and distribute Fiat and Alfa Romeo models as well as Chery group vehicles. Production expected to total 175,000 vehicles a year, is projected to begin in 2009. "The introduction of Alfa Romeo in China, represents an historical step, which launches one of the most attractive brands of European car industry into the world's fastest growing automotive market of these years," said Fiat chief executive Sergio Marchionne. Chery Automobiles chief executive Yin Tongyao said the arrangement would make Chery more competitive worldwide, "complementing our existing range of cars," he added. BYD starts mass electric car production Shenzhen-based BYD Automobile Co Ltd has announced that production of its rechargeable electric cars will commence next year. After close to four years of research and tests, the final version of a new model using hybrid and electric technologies will be ready to launch in the second half of 2008. The environment-friendly car can be recharged with gasoline or batteries. The delayed production was mainly due to high cost factors, which were resolved with cheaper raw materials. Sources said BYD opted for iron-based rather than lithium batteries for its larger capacity and to reduce production costs. A relative newcomer to the auto industry, BYD started off specialising in rechargeable batteries and LCD products. It has since grown to become one of China's largest private auto manufacturers, reporting a net profit margin of 8.25 per cent last year. The current version of its first F3 model is a five-door hatchback, the F3-R, which debuted in Shanghai in April 2007. The company plans to produce and sell 300,000 cars next year and 500,000 in 2009. China completes new "bullet" train body The body of the first Chinese designed and manufactured high-speed train, with a possible speed equal to that of the famous Japanese bullet train, has rolled off the production line, according to the builder. The train is the latest model in the country's China Railway High-speed (CRH) Series and China's first locomotive capable of traveling at 300 kilometres per hour. Slower CRH series - able to travel at 200 kilometers per hour - are already in service. Instead of being driven by a single engine, the high-speed trains are equipped with multiple engines embedded inside separate units. "The completion of the body lays a solid foundation for the scheduled debut of the whole train by the year end," a senior official with CSR Sifang Locomotive and Rolling Stock Co. Ltd. told Xinhua. "The train body, made of aluminum alloy, weighs about seven tons, the lightest of its kind in the world," said the official who asked to remain anonymous. "The thinnest part only measures 1.5 millimetres." Production of other parts, such as engines, were well underway, he said. The company would deliver ten such trains to the Ministry of Railways in the first half of next year, according to the company. The trains, which can seat about 600 passengers, will run on the 115-km Beijing-Tianjin route before the Beijing Olympic Games in August 2008 and reduce the journey time from the current 80 minutes to around 30 minutes. Steeling itself for loss POSCO, Asia's biggest steelmaker by market value, reported a surprise drop in third-quarter profit because of higher iron ore costs and reduced stainless steel production. Net income fell to 871 billion won (US$949 million) in the three months ended September 30 from 882 billion won a year earlier, the Pohang, South Korea-based company said. The median estimate of seven analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was for a 5.7 per cent increase. POSCO this month raised prices to pass on the higher costs amid rising demand from China, the world's biggest steel user. The company and its rivals may pay as much as 50 percent more for iron ore next year, Macquarie Bank said, after a 9.5 percent rise this year. "Rising iron-ore prices will drive up prices of steel products, boosting earnings of POSCO into the first half of 2008," said Chung Ji Yun, an analyst with CJ Investment & Securities, before the earnings announcement. The steelmaker expects only a "limited increase" in nickel prices into the first- half of 2008, chief financial officer Lee Dong Hee said. Hydro's new aluminum recycling furnace inaugurated Hydro recently opened its aluminum recycling furnace in Germany. The twin-chamber furnace has the capacity to produce, through recycling, up to 50,000 tons of liquid aluminum annually, including coated litho and foil scrap. The furnace is under continuous operation and converts residue - coating or lacquer - directly into processing energy. The Hydro Aluminum plant at Neuss, with an annual output of 231,000 tons primary liquid metal and 350,000 tons of rolling ingot cast, is the largest METAL Casting Technologies December 2007 16